Janet Van Ham/HBO
Gerrad Hall
June 03, 2017 AT 03:02 PM EDT

Bill Maher says he’s “very sorry” for using the N-word during an interview on Real Time Friday night.

“Friday nights are always my worst night of sleep because I’m up reflecting on the things I should or shouldn’t have said on my live show,” Maher said in a statement obtained by EW. “Last night was a particularly long night as I regret the word I used in the banter of a live moment. The word was offensive and I regret saying it and am very sorry.” 

Speaking with Ben Sasse, a Republican senator from Nebraska, who appeared on the show to promote his new book, The Vanishing American Adult, Maher uttered the slur while joking with Sasse about visiting his state. Noting how adults dressing up for Halloween is “frowned upon” there than in other areas, Maher said, “I’ve got to get to Nebraska more,” to which Sasse replied, “We’d love to have you work in the fields with us.”

Maher responded: “Work in the fields? Senator, I’m a house n—-.”

HBO issued a statement Saturday morning denouncing Maher’s “completely inexcusable and tasteless” use of the racial slur. The network’s statement came after many celebrities and activists called out the comic for saying the N-word, some saying he should be fired.

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