We'll get to Bill Maher in a second. First, if you want to read a book on the Flood story in the Bible get Irving Finkel's The Ark Before Noah: Decoding the Story of the Flood.In a great review of it posted at Skeptic Ink Network, we read:
Now for Maher:
The Ark Before Noah, written by Irving Finkel, describes the author’s discovery and interpretation of what he calls the “Ark Tablet” – an early and relatively complete version of the Atrahasis story dating from 1900-1700 BCE that sheds new light on the biblical flood story and its Mesopotamian roots.
The Atrahasis story
The Atrahasis Epic tells the story of how life was saved from a destructive flood sent by the gods. According to Atrahasis, humans had originally been created as workforce for the gods, but as death had yet to be invented their numbers soon began to grow out of control. Frustrated by the noise (“the noise of mankind has become too intense for me, with their uproar I am deprived of sleep”), the god Enlil decided to wipe mankind out in three separate attempts: first, by sending a plague; second, by withholding rain to cause a famine; and third by sending a devastating flood. Each of these attempts is however thwarted by the god Ea (or Enki), on the third occasion by warning the hero Atrahasis to construct a great boat to save the lives of his family and a pair of each of the animals (the Ark Tablet in fact tells us that the animals boarded specifically “two by two” as in the Noah a story: a detail that had not been preserved on other Atrahasis fragments). Ultimately, Atrahasis succeeds, and the gods are sufficiently pleased by Enki’s intervention that they decide to reward him and his family with immortality (death is however introduced for the rest of mankind to keep a cap on their future numbers).
Finkel describes clear parallels between the Atrahasis story and the story recorded in the 11th tablet of the finalised Gilgamesh Epic, which tell us that the latter almost certainly borrowed from the former. LINK.
Now for Maher: