Thursday 26 February 2009

It's Bill Hicks, aged 18

He died 15 years ago yesterday.


  1. Great link! I'd never seen this early footage of Hicks.

    My first introduction to him was in the early 90's on some MTV comedy show that came on late at night after a full day of videos. Even in that venue, you could tell he was progressive. I immediately began to record or purchase everything I could by him. In fact, he both inspired and intimidated me and my dream to be a stand-up comic. I wanted to do what he did, but somehow knew I couldn't be that edgy.

    We came from similar backgrounds. We were both raised in Southern Baptist households by south Texas parents. Bill was a bit older than me, but by the time I was growing out of the teachings I was raised on, he was voicing my dissent in the most imaginable way possible. Essentially, I discovered my id in his rants.

    It was disturbing when he passed away, but I'm pleased that some of my favorite comedians today seem to have a lot of respect for his comedy. I was especially pleased to see the recent broadcast of his last Letterman appearance.

    Thanks again for this post.

  2. You're welcome, Reuben. He seemed to always look like he was in his forties, so it's kind of gorgeous to see him here, apparently having just graduated high school, but looking 15. He was selling out Houston comedy clubs at 14, apparently. I can well understand it.

    About the Letterman thing, if you look around, you'll find a recording of an open access tv show interview he did in the aftermath of the Letterman cancellation. He's pretty scathing at that point, and it can't have been long before he died. I might post it here over the weekend.

    I agree, a lot of stand ups pay at least lipservice to having been inspired by Hicks, but I haven't see any standups recently who have that kind of spark of rage and honesty and intelligent openness. You can see it in Pryor, you can see it in Bruce.

    I don't think Hicks would have had much interest in respect for his work: kinship, maybe. An open ear and mind, certainly.