by Dan Bloom, producer
Devotees of the late Bill Hicks will find no hyperbole in the title of this post. By trade, Hicks was a standup comedian, but it would also be appropriate to call him a philosopher, public intellectual, social satirist and an incendiary political critic. He was unafraid to speak truth to power and no topic was off-limits: his family, religion, America, war, drugs and consciousness itself.
Hicks’ act could run the gamut of presentational styles; screaming at crowds in the voice of Satan one moment and employing the subtle side of comedy in the next, interlacing complex ideas with universal laughs.
Even near the end when he was diagnosed with cancer and undergoing chemotherapy, Bill Hicks was still touring as hard as ever and presenting audiences with his sometimes twisted but always beautifully honest perspective on life.
Although he began in comedy at age 15 and toured the United States throughout his adult life, it would take a fateful performance at the Just for Laughs festival in Montreal to take Bill Hicks’ career to the next level. That show, titled “Relentless” was recorded and shown on Channel 4 in Britain. Almost immediately, the British Isles were abuzz with praise for the American comic who then came to perform in sold-out theatres across the UK.
The United States ostensibly gave Bill Hicks to Great Britain, and now they’re repaying the favor by re-introducing the United States to one of its greatest-ever comedians. Two British filmmakers, Matt Harlock and Paul Thomas, have crafted a documentary homage to their comedy hero titled “American: The Bill Hicks Story.” The film takes a fresh look at the life and work of Bill Hicks, told largely by the people who knew him best including his family and close friends.
The originality of his thinking, the ferocity of his intellect and the strength of his convictions all make Bill Hicks a truly inspiring figure, and we’re happy to do our part in spreading his message to as many hungry minds as possible.
Bill Hicks “Revelations” (contains graphic language)
Bill Hicks “One Night Stand” (contains graphic language)