Moving Worlds And Tickets

Everyone loves onstage drama, so it’s no surprise MSG Entertainment paired the host of HBO’s “Real Time With Bill Maher” against incendiary conservative commentator Ann Coulter to kick off its “2009 Speaker Series” debate performances.

Not wanting to fall into a trap of getting stale with repeat showings, Coulter was blunt about Maher’s material for the pair’s three-day run at Radio City Music Hall, Chicago Theatre and Boston’s Citi Center March 9-11.

“Bill wants me to behave like a wife who laughs each time she hears her husband tell the same story,” said Coulter on opening night, the New York Times reported. “I told him I’m not an actress, or I’d have a bigger apartment.”

The pairing offers a plethora of chances for similarly engaging rhetoric. The two already have a somewhat contentious history, although Maher says he considers Coulter a “witty, fun drinking companion.”

On his HBO series in 2003, he accused Coulter of making up facts and, during the opening “Speaker Series” engagement, called her “a dunk-tank clown, looking to sell more baseballs” in response to her claim that many scientists don’t believe in evolution.

This year’s “Speaker Series,” titled “The Minds That Move The World,” will also include “Free Speech and the Power of the Press,” with CNN’s Anderson Cooper interviewing Arianna Huffington, D.L. Hughley and Mike Huckabee at Radio City March 31. The lineup will change for the April 22 Chicago date, which will be hosted by MSNBC’s Chris Matthews interviewing Tucker Carlson, Huffington and former Bill Clinton adviser Paul Begala.

Former U.S. Vice President Al Gore will get his own event, titled “Change of Climate,” in Boston (March 30) and Chicago (April 1).

Also on the schedule is “Strategies, Alliances and Policy,” which features Charlie Rose interviewing political strategists James Carville and Karl Rove in each city March 26-28.