Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Twenty years on - Bill Hicks

Twenty years ago today the world lost one of its best and most fearless stand-up comedians, Bill Hicks. 

Unlike most members of his profession, Hicks didn't rely on dick jokes, impressions, surface-level observational humor, or bizarre affectations. 

Instead, he challenged audiences' preconceptions with substantive sociopolitical content. Hicks' penchant for pushing the envelope offended delicate sensibilities, but revealed absurdly funny truths along the way.

Fans of Hicks can find a treasure trove of performance videos on YouTube. This segment about marketing vampires has earned the most views. 

The Reagan and (Papa) Bush administrations of the '80s and early '90s provided Hicks with ample material. Here is an alternative point of view of the War on Drugs. 

Hicks, an amateur musician partial to Jimi Hendrix and other party hardy artists of merit takes this concept further in a discussion of Rock against Drugs

Hicks grew up in Houston, Texas, four hours' drive from Dallas, where John F. Kennedy was murdered in a likely conspiracy. Here Hicks dissects the mainstream media talking point that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone.

Toward the end of his life, as he struggled with cancer, Hicks made his final appearance on the David Letterman show, in October of 1993. 

Sadly, Letterman excised this routine from the tape-delayed version of the show because Hicks had cut too close to the vein. In 2009, Letterman apologized and showed the performance on air in the presence of Hicks' mother Mary, who birthed and raised one of the handful of comedians who really mattered. In the twenty years since Hicks' death, very few stand-ups have matched his skills as a professional bullshit detector.  


  1. Nice job, Dan! Thanks for taking the time to compile--made me laugh and think, and I love those 2 things

  2. Thanks, Mary. I agree, that is a very rewarding one-two combo.

  3. Believe it or not, I had never heard of Bill Hicks until I read this piece and saw the clips. Thanks for introducing me to this phenom who sadly left this world too soon. Great job again, as usual. ATD Florist