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Bill Hicks

Bill Hicks was the last great social satirist, the true descendent of comedians like Lenny Bruce, Richard Pryor, and Mort Sahl. The self-described "Prince of Darkness," his work confronted the hypocrisies of late-20th century American life, divining comedy from the more evil impulses of the government and the mass media while assaulting the soullessness of mainstream culture. An alcoholic, coke addict, and chain smoker, Hicks also experimented heavily with hallucinogenics, and his monologues addressed issues of expanded consciousness and spirituality rare to the comedy format; for all of the rage inherent in his standup, his message was one of transcendence -- as he frequently reminded audiences, "The truth will set you free."

William M. Hicks was born on December 16, 1961, in Valdosta, GA. Raised in a strict Baptist household in the Houston, TX, subdivision of Nottingham Forest, he became fascinated by comedy at a young age, and by the time he was 13 Hicks was tape-recording his favorite comedians' routines off of the TV and staying up all night writing his own material. While a sophomore in high school, he and a friend began sneaking off to Houston's Comedy Workshop to perform at open-mike sessions; when his parents found out, Hicks was grounded. Following his graduation in 1980 he moved to Los Angeles, and began honing his craft at the legendary Comedy Store.

Throughout the Reagan years, Hicks developed his bitter, vitriolic style -- "the comedy of hate," he once dubbed it; among his frequent victims were the conservative right, the advertising industry, nonsmokers, pro-lifers, mainstream pop culture, fundamentalists, and the Warren Commission (the assassination of John F. Kennedy was a lifelong obsession). By the end of the decade, Hicks' stage presence -- seething and provocative, spiteful and ranting -- led many to lump him in with comics like Andrew Dice Clay, Sam Kinison, and Denis Leary; however, while his contemporaries ultimately softened their acts in the name of commercial viability and movie deals, Hicks stuck to his guns and rejected a string of offers to do television, feature films, and commercials, calling TV "Lucifer's dream box."

In 1990, his career took flight; he issued two standup albums, Dangerous and Relentless, became a cult hero in Britain (where he recorded a special for the Channel Four network), taped another show for HBO, and continued performing upwards of 250 concert dates annually. His frenetic pace continued over the next several years; however, in the summer of 1993 Hicks was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Informing no one of his condition besides his family and girlfriend, he began chemotherapy treatments but continued working even more feverishly, planning a projected book as well as a British series titled The Counts of the Netherworld.

That October, Hicks became the first performer since Elvis Presley to be banned from New York's Ed Sullivan Theatre after a performance on CBS' Late Show With David Letterman was censored in its entirety; the resulting controversy made him a media cause célèbre, and he was invited to write a column for the weekly liberal magazine The Nation. Additionally, he was contacted by the alternative band Tool, who invited Hicks to open a number of their live shows (a number of his monologues were later sampled for the group's 1996 album, Aenima).

Despite the flurry of activity, his condition worsened; finally, on February 26, 1994, Hicks died at the age of 32. In early 1997, Rykodisc reissued both Dangerous and Relentless along with a pair of previously unreleased albums, Arizona Bay and Rant in E-Minor. The label followed those releases with Flying Saucer Tour, Vol. 1 and Love, Laughter and Truth in 2002. The Invasion Group label issued the unauthorized Hicks CD, Shock and Awe, in 2003; the recording was derived from a 1992 appearance at the Oxford Playhouse Theatre in the U.K. The 2005 Rykodisc release Salvation was sourced from the same show but was an official release with more material. ~ Jason Ankeny
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: The Essential Collection

Disc 1

1. Fevered Egos

2. Introduction

4. I'm Talking To The Women Here

5. She's A Woman

6. My Favorite New Kid

7. Hey Mama

8. Marketing And Advertising

9. The Road Can Be Hard

10. Artistic Roll Call

11. Jazz Instrumental

12. Orange Drink

13. The Moon Is Smiling

15. Turn Your Mind Over To Your Heart

16. Menu?

17. No Music In My Soul

18. A Killer Idea

19. Waiting To Meet You

20. Goodbye You Lizard Scum

21. I Never Really Cried For You

22. Summertime

23. Outro Instrumental

24. Elvis

25. Ice Cold Macaroni

26. The News

27. Confession Time (Cops)

28. Please Do Not Disturb

29. Spectravision & Housekeeping

30. Girl Of Your Dreams

31. Clam Lappers And Sonic The Hedgehog

32. What Is Pornography?

33. Renting Pornos & Girlfriends

34. Name & Address Not Withheld

35. Beelzebozo

36. Pussywhipped Satan

38. Audience Member/Old Folks Home Manager

39. Worst Audience Ever

40. The F Word

41. My Parents

42. Drugs Have Done Good Things

43. Rockers Against Drugs Suck

44. We Live In A World...

45. Drugs Have Done Good Things, Pt. 2

47. Gays In The Military

48. Speaking Of Homosexuality

49. Children On Airplanes

50. Your Children Aren't Special

51. Pro Life

52. Non-Smokers

53. Audience Member/Dental Assistant

54. Smoking

55. Smoking Tastes Great

56. Yul Brynner

57. Smoking In Heaven

58. Flying Saucer Tour

59. Burning Issues

60. Odd Beliefs

62. Handguns - UK Vs. USA

63. The Vision

Disc 4
Disc 5
x

Track List: Salvation - Oxford November 11, 1992

x

Track List: Flying Saucer Tour, Vol.1

1. Intro

2. Summertime

3. The F-Word

4. Smoking

5. Yul Brynner

6. Trying To Quit

7. The News

8. The War

9. Worst Audience Ever

10. More War

11. Are You Guys Drug Dealers?

12. Praying For Nuclear Holocaust

13. Girl Of Your Dreams

14. Young Lady

15. Vs. The Audience 1

16. What's Wrong

17. Vs. The Audience 2

18. School Days

19. Vs. The Audience 3

20. Working

21. Great Times On Drugs

22. Mandatory Marijuana

23. Penthouse Letters

24. Talking Car

25. Summer Trip

26. Drugs Have Done Good Things

27. Menu

28. Beelzebozo

29. Cause Of Sexual Thought

30. Mechanics Of Pornography

31. Goodnight

x

Track List: Lovelaughterandtruth

2. Drunk Driving

3. New York Apartment

4. My One Man Show

5. Pot Smoking

6. Drugs Are Bad

7. Children On Airplanes

8. 50 Year Smoker

9. Smoking In Heaven

10. Australia

11. Satiating The American Comedy Audience

12. Dance Club

13. Speaking Of Homosexuality

14. Poe-Naw-Grah-Fee

15. A Question For The Ladies

17. You Can't Get Bitter

18. Closing Bit

x

Track List: Rant In E Minor

1. Fevered Egos

2. Easter

3. Gideons

4. People Suck

5. Pro Life

6. People Who Hate People

7. Non-Smokers

8. Gifts Of Forgiveness

9. Purple Vein Dick Joke

10. Confession Time (Cops)

11. Wax Dart

12. I'm Talking To The Women Here

13. You're Wrong Night

14. A New Flag (Patriotism)

15. Gays In The Military

16. I.R.S. Bust

17. Politics In America

18. Quiet Loner

19. Artistic Roll Call

20. Orange Drink

21. Save Willie

22. Deficit (Jesse Helms)

23. Rush Limbaugh

24. Time To Evolve

25. Waco (Koresh)

26. The Pope

27. Christianity

28. Seven Seals

29. One Of The Boys (Clinton)

30. Car Bomb Derby

31. The Elite

32. Love List (No Future)

33. Back To The Garden

34. Your Children Aren't Special

35. Wizards Have Landed

36. Lift Me Lord

x

Track List: Arizona Bay

1. Goodbye You Lizard Scum

2. Step On The Gas (L.A. Riots)

3. Hooligans

4. Officer N**ger Hater

5. As Long As We're Talking Shelf Life (Kennedy)

6. The Elephant Is Dead (Bush)

7. Me & Saddam

8. Bullies Of The World

9. Shane's Song

10. Dinosaurs In The Bible

11. Living God

12. Marketing And Advertising

13. Don't Talk For Me

14. Clam Lappers & Sonic The Hedgehog

15. She's Got A Broken Heart

16. Pussywhipped Satan

17. L.A. Falls

18. Elvis

x

Track List: Relentless

1. Greetings

2. Sex On Trial

3. The News

4. The War

5. Odd Beliefs

6. A Killer Idea

7. Smoking

8. Great Times On Drugs

9. Drugs Have Done Good Things

10. Rockers Against Drugs Suck

11. Beezlebozo

12. Summer Trip

13. What Is Pornography?

14. The Sanctity Of Life

15. Chicks Dig Jerks

x

Track List: Dangerous

1. The War On Drugs

2. My Parents

3. Please Do Not Disturb

4. Burning Issues

5. Modern Bummer

6. The Vision

7. Smoking

8. We Live In A World...

9. Flying Saucer Tour

x

Track List: 12/16/61 - EP

1. Ladies And Gentlemen .... Bill Hicks

2. Cats Or Dogs

3. Punks (Where's The Bone?)

4. Mick And Keef

5. Deep Thoughts

Comments

Report as inappropriate
We need you more than ever Mr.Hicks. We always lose the best ones too soon.
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Pure as can be with his art. What's up with the cheesy music in the background distracting from his words. Is that on the original recording.

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laynestaley1 9 9 1
Happy
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@ playlien you ignorant, stupid f**k, he died of pancreatic cancer, probably from years of drinking, not smoking complication s . Do your research before you open your dumb trough.
Report as inappropriate
To quote TooL "I miss him soo much"
Report as inappropriate
RIP Mr. Hicks. The conscience universe misses you!
Report as inappropriate
In the track 'please do not disturb' he jokes about smoking a lot and how in five years he would be doing stand up with a trach - crazy thing is he died of cancer in four years! Very funny, enlightened, and honest, though, i associate him with doug stanhope
Report as inappropriate
The last great free thinker who didn't care if it was funny just that it was true
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This is art
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Bill passed way too soon.
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Never gonna stop again
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One of the greats!!!
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One of the greatest evet
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This is a very good clip for introducing people to bills material
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Dude was awesome.
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Too bad he never got to have the reality tv show "kill billy ray cyrus". Motherf**ker can still be topical 20 years later and dead. "Genius" doesn't give him justice, buts its the best word I can come up with
Report as inappropriate
Wow, from how much this paragraph praises Hicks, it sure isn't much of a Bio...
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Punk rock yeeeeeea
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My absolute favorite comic, so smart and so ahead of his time. R.I.P Bill
Report as inappropriate
This guy is amazing and was just sadly, before his time, nowadays the stuff he talked about would have been widely acceptable
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Top 5 Dead or Alive
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Great artist! RIP
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another dead american hero! freedom and truth forever, rest in peace, billy. we all miss and need you back
Report as inappropriate
Bill's music at the end of each bit is phenomenal. Such a multi-talent e d satirist who was way beyond his time. We need Bill more than ever, here's to hoping we receive a Bill for our own time. RIP Bill Hicks you were certainly one of the greatest there ever was or ever will be. -J SUPPORT FREE SPEECH! SUPPORT FREE THOUGHT!
Report as inappropriate
Salvation
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The Oxford tape was recorded 9 days before I was born.
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There was something bills mom said constantly, "why didn't you become a preacher?" And the best reply I have ever heard was " but I am mom" now if that not bad for this country. You know what I mean!!! Hahah it's a real bummer that that we have an actual thinking individual we don't want that we need to be numb and dumb!!!! You knew that right? Yeah you did!!! HHAHAHHAAHAH A H A H A H A H A H H A H H H A H H H A A H
Report as inappropriate
the greatest funny man to ever live. because he questioned authority and the government.. . . . a n d he was just evil XD
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Everybody rippedoff of this great.
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Hicks Rules!!!!
Aaarrrrrrrgg g g g g h h h h h h h h ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !

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We will miss you Bill. Always one of the best
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PS If there is a god, the fact that someone who brought so much honesty, enjoyment, and illumination to the world is proof that he/she/it is a f**king a**hole
Report as inappropriate
Michael Quinn... How the f**k you got , Bill is on MY side, he would have hated Obama partisan bullshit from anything he said defies logic. The guy wasn't a liberal, he certainly was no f**king conservative , he just saw the bullshit all around him and called it out . Oh and I checked out your profile... Toby Keith, Christian Rap, seriously listen to more of his s**t... you pretty much idolize everything he ranted against. You f**king partisan hacks and your rationalizat i o n s .
Report as inappropriate
I died and came back to life ? Wow look if all your gonna do is bad mouth and try to prove bills words false then why the f**k are you on pandora listening to him and don't say its by mistake
Report as inappropriate
Bbysmael hey child your a idiot and should probably think about not reproducing yourself into s**tty lil children whos minds will fail to understand things like facts because of your s**tty ignorant mind set
Report as inappropriate
oh my god with Bill so far ahead of his time when I first started hearing him honestly thought he was a comedian today until I realized that he was talking about Clinton not Obama this man could see the future in crystal crystal clear clarity.
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love his ideas. the best of america!!!
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Wow. 19 years today. Sad...
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randy.honeyc u t t 5 7
Bill is blessed to be beyond the disappointme n t that has become society today. Can you imagine what he would say about the past decade? We need to remember the painful truths that he shoved in our ignorant faces and be thankful for his message.
Report as inappropriate
this guy is doing God's work
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Bill ....we miss you man....all we got are thievs
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Carlin and Hicks were prophets of logic and understandin g .
Report as inappropriate
Wish I could've seen Bill Hicks live. He must've been awesome.
Report as inappropriate
The reason they says he was the LAST great social satirist, is because Carlin came BEFORE him...
Report as inappropriate
The Beezlebozo track off of Relentless was obviously stolen by The Wayans Brothers for Homey The Clown. Another example of Hicks getting his material robbed by someone who was out to make a buck. Yeah, I'm talking to you Denis Leary
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Hicks is freaking God
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525433228
I've met a Gideon before. His name was James and he was handing out bibles at Grays Harbor College in Aberdeen. He had someone else with him and they were legitimate Gideons. It was the first time ever in my life I met a Gideon. Wow.
Report as inappropriate
I find it wonderful how he mixed his social satire with harmonious music, especially on Arizona Bay...
Report as inappropriate
I like Hicks better than Carlin it's all a matter of opinion
Report as inappropriate
bikermermaid
Last great social satirist? So I guess Carlin is just a wet pile of dog turds huh? Hicks is great and all, but he's still #2 to Carlin. Carlin is the superior performer, with a better stage presence and tighter routines.
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