American Scream. The Bill Hicks Story

The Biography of someone who is, to my mind, one of the all time great Stand up comics.

I was a teenager when I first came across Bill Hicks, Channel 4 used to show highlights from the Just for Laughs Festival and had a year where the highlights were almost solely Bill Hicks and followed it up shortly afterwards with Relentless, something that opened up a whole new experience to me with regards to comedy.

Needless to say I think Mr Hicks is one of, if not the, best stand up comic I have ever seen, it will remain a regret that I never got to see him live.

The book is an interesting kettle of fish, highlighting a surprisingly spiritual/religious side to someone who always seemed at his most vitriolic when addressing matters of religion. It manages to be informative without especially being sycophantic and whilst obviously appears to be written from a sympathic perspective doesn’t appear to fall into the standard biography trap of either ripping the subject to shreds or painting them out to be the angel they never were.

Other than what is written about Hicks himself, its the first time I’ve read accounts of the Letterman escapades and seen direct “accusations” levelled at Dennis leary of essentially plagarising Hicks works.

I will be having badges of crossed, cancerous pancreas made up in memorial to him, I think he will appreciate it if rumours of reincarnation are true.

Bill Hicks is my currently favorite stand up comic, dead or alive.

And I’ve loathed Leary ever since I listened to Bill Hicks and realized that Leary made a career out of recycling the worst of Hick’s material (which was, of course, always better than Leary’s BEST material).

If he’d have stolen the good stuff, I’d at least be able to commend him on spreading the “gospel.”

Leary was good at being angry, and he smoked, which helped at the time. But at the end of the day he always came across as the packaged, angry, American comedian.

With Bill, he struck that stream of subconcious and voiced it. He vocalised the inner monologue that raged against everything that is shit in the world, and he made it desperately funny. At a time where America was blissfully unaware of him, he almost alienated himself from his UK, left wing, “right on brother” audience by admitting he liked porn and taking them into the goatboy sketch (a level of pron that the general brit male would’'t find for at least 3-4 years anyway. Our porn was, and still is, highly censored). Which, at a risk of opening myself up to pisstake (or worse) far more than I should, probably epitmises the late-20’s, early 30s single outlook to some degree.

But that arguably was his genius, he took somehing that was taboo to say, not only said it, but made you piss yourself laughing while he did and as an added bonus you knew he would be upsetting straight laced, mary whitehouse, dont tell it like it is, tell it how we want it to be, right wing, “religious” nutters who rule our lives into the bargain.

Bill Hicks spoke out against everything I hate in this world, and the joy is, 10 years on. He is still current affairs.

All are wannabes to Anger King Lenny Bruce.

I want to be a rabbit
that hops in the sunny field
I want to be a teddy bear
that can lie in your bed
Or a good dictator everyone calls “The World’s Light”
Or maybe Jesus
Or Lenny Bruce

Interesting that his story has been told. Great trailer.

I swear they’ve been saying this movie was coming out for a while now and it never did. Is that April 8th release date for 2011 or is it the 2009 or 2010 release that never happened?

It’s a great movie. Diminishes him a little bit by showing the wizard behind the curtain, but provides a great overview of his career and at the end, I felt sorry all over again that he was dead. “It’s just a ride” is such a magnificent piece of philosophy, I feel it should form the basis for a religion (or a well-meaning cult of happy goat-fuckers).

You can apparently purchase it on DVD - looks like everything else is just limited screenings.