A Cigarette tracing a ladder to the stars.
Love All the People is a collection of letters of his shows and lyrics. It came out a while back, but it’s more relevant now than it ever has been.
Let’s focus on the stand up though… Our all-time favourite is easily Richard Pryor. The man wasn’t necessarily a genius, I mean he was mainly a junky. But the beauty of his comedy was being able to make a joke about even the direst of situations. His funniest sketch had to be between the times his wife left him to when he suffered a horrible, life threatening full body of burns due to an accident in free-basing. What’s your favourite? The time he had a heart attack? That man could make anything funny. He was the originator of what we would call pure comedy. Similar to rock and roll – Zeppelin, Floyd, Dylan and The Stones were the foot on the drum peddle, starting off that delicate beat to bloom into any generation.
Another was Robin Williams – usually overlooked as his fame was most apparent from his movies. God bless him. He was a very funny guy. I mean, really funny. Especially in his inebriated days. Have you seen the addiction sketch? Watch it!
Anywhoo. This isn’t about them. Any of them. Don’t get us wrong they were all incredibly important to culture in their time and to this day are still inspiring people to grab a microphone and walk onto the green lit stage (tripping over the wire as they do, of course).
Bill Hicks is the man we want to have a little talk about. The above were fantastic, but they were not Bill. He wasn’t just a comedian. He was the messiah of comedy. He was smart and witty. That was his act – all the previous wrapped sweetly in a hysteric lace. Bill was a clever man. Too clever we have learnt to believe.
All the above are dead. So that’s depressing. Our biggest idols are now all cosy in the ground. Shall we go on?
A common line to Hicks was predictions and solutions. Problems that had just started or could possibly happen, Bill addressed many of these.
For example – Guns have hit the news recently. America is well known for hand guns. It’s always been a stereotypical thing for anyone foreign from 'the land of the free will' to tease the locals for their allowance to hide a gun, completely legally under their pillow or in their back pocket.
Here’s what Bill said about this: "England, where no one has guns: 14 deaths. United States, and I think you know how we feel about guns - 23,000 deaths from handguns. But there's no connection, and you'd be a fool and a communist to make one. There's no connection between having a gun and shooting someone with it, and not having a gun and not shooting someone... OK, though admittedly last year in England they had 23,000 deaths per soccer game.”
Hilarious, isn’t it? But true. Let’s just throw something into this bowl of laughs – This was over 20 years ago, was he right? Hell yes. Was anything done about it? Hell no. Why? No one seemed to take Mr Hicks seriously. He was a comedian why should they?
America is far more religious overall than the UK. Bill was infamously agnostic. They didn’t like that. Hicks was often banned from TV shows or cut out. Maybe he was out of order, or maybe they just didn’t like that fact that he was making very good points.
Another thing Hicks highly promoted was illegal highs. He was always a strong supporter of not judging someone for their drug habits. Weed especially he condoned, even encouraged. Similarly, to Bill Hicks, Louis C. K, a modern comedian also went by very similar views. Is he listened to? He’s a comedian, of course not. Tim Minchin? A genius, so intelligent we hate him, a mind that’s far too intelligent for forty-percent of the watchers to understand him, let alone find him funny.
Not that we condone any drugs (our own personal brand of drug is the books we read… we are a little too addicted to tea, we’ll say that) Well, weed was legalised recently in some places and guess what? Crime rate went down dramatically. Our point isn’t to legalise anything, just that he was right. Again.
In fact, Hicks was very rarely wrong. Rock and roll is dead? Yes it is, it saddens us. But, yes. Dead for years. He predicted the world would become so sexualised that you would turn on the TV to see half naked woman with a can of coke between her legs and it would simply read ‘Drink Coke’.
We have Nicki Minaj on our TV’s when the kiddies come home, if anything, it’s more X-rated than he predicted.
In fact, if you watch one Bill Hicks live DVDs, we guarantee you it will seem like it was made yesterday if you take in account all of the subjects he brings up. The only thing that will date it is the gritty quality, audiences’ apparel and his smoking on stage.
Bill did something very courageous and rare. He gave a remedy in his comedy. He took himself so seriously. It didn’t appear to be serious. For Bill, his comedy was his philosophy. It’ll make you laugh, but then stay awake for hours afterwards in the dark rolling his jokes around in your mind, like a marble in a bucket. Art without the heart. His act was a beautiful painting with a childish phallus drawn in the corner. If he lived long enough to become a politician, perhaps he may have been taken seriously?
So, this begs the question: Why was he not taken seriously? We’ve already heard one theory; ‘the percentage of fundamentalist Christians’. Perhaps it was his edgy comedy that made them believe he wasn’t being completely serious? Why should we have believed him? I mean, how were we to know what a genius he was? He died too young to ever be asked the question. Funnily enough. He predicted his death at a young age. Another thing to add to the list.
Well… I think we may have the answer.
Bill, we couldn’t hear the solution to your points as we were all laughing so hard.
Bless him. With a cigarette hanging off his lips, we hope it traces a ladder to to the stars!