Bill Maher Apologizes for N-Word 'Comedians are a Special Kind of Monkey!'

6/9/2017 7:52 PM PDT

Bill Maher Apologizes for N-Word ... 'Comedians are a Special Kind of Monkey!' (VIDEO)

Bill Maher gave an earnest apology for his joke last week -- that he was a "house n*****" -- but at one point he may have chosen the wrong word to explain himself.

Bill was back live on "Real Time with Bill Maher" Friday night where he had a hard talk with Michael Eric Dyson about the use of the word.  Dyson said Bill's not a racist ... it's just another example of "white privilege." Maher repeatedly expressed regret, saying it was an off-the-cuff comment.

That's when Bill explained his craft and what may have been behind him using the  n-word ... "Comedians are a special kind of monkey."   You gotta see the reactions.

Bill also tried to reassure Kathy Griffin ... Self-projections of demise were greatly exaggerated.