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December 27, 2006



"If Dennis Leary ripped off Bill Hicks then how come Dennis Leary is so successful?"

Answer: Because there's no cure for cancer.

dude, it was right up there, like 4 posts above you. PAY ATTENTION.

not to mention, SOME of us measure success a little differently than how many long-distance commercials you've been in.



ShopRite69 wrote me a letter to let me know that my "accusations" were "poppycock," all because, in his estimation, "Wikipedia is notoriously inaccurate." According to several recent studies, Wikipedia is no more inaccurate than the Encyclopedia Britannica, and furthermore it is the most exhaustive and thorough encyclopedia in the world. (Britannica, for instance, has no entry for either Hicks or Denis Leary.)

Wikipedia came under fire for its purported inaccuracy, predominantly as the result of one widely publicized faux pas regarding the article submitted for John Seigenthaler Sr., who wrote an article of his own for USA Today describing the "sick mind" that "conceived the false, malicious 'biography' that appeared under [his] name." As soon as Wikipedia learned of the discrepancy, the article was amended, just like every other article in which erroneous information is reported. That's the beauty of Wikipedia; that it follows protocol similar to that of major news agencies, and is frequently quicker to make corrections.

Another recent study conducted by Thomas Chesney of the Nottingham University Business School also concluded that experts rate the articles in Wikipedia more highly than non-experts in terms of accuracy. Here are the results of the study: http://firstmonday.org/issues/issue11_11/chesney/

If ShopRite had managed to read a little further in Denis Leary's Wikiedia entry, he would've come across a few other humorous anecdotes. I'll provide them here, since I'm sure not everyone is so averse to using Wikipedia.


As comedian and actress Susannah Bianchi put it, "When [Bill Hicks] said, 'I hate Billy Ray Cyrus.' - he meant it. When Leary said that, it was only part of an act."

During Denis Leary's roast, comedian Lenny Clarke, a friend of Leary's, said there was a carton of cigarettes backstage from Bill Hicks with the message, "Wish I had gotten these to you sooner." This joke was cut from the final broadcast.

The controversy surrounding plagiarism is also mentioned in American Scream: The Bill Hicks Story by Cynthia True:

Leary was in Montreal to host the Nasty Show at Club Soda and Colleen was coordinating the talent so she was standing backstage when she heard Leary doing material that sounded incredibly similar to old Hicks riffs, including his perennial Jim Fixx joke: ("Keith Richards outlived Jim Fixx, the runner and health nut dude. The plot thickens.") When Leary came offstage, Colleen said, more stunned than angry, "Hey, you know that's Bill Hicks's material! Do you know that's his material?" Leary stood there, stared at her without saying a word, and briskly left the dressing room.

When asked about Leary, Hicks told an interviewer: "I have a scoop for you. I stole his act. I camouflaged it with punchlines, and to really throw people off, I did it before he did."

Mark L

It's fairly obvious from an objective standpoint to just look at both comedians- I've heard Dennis Leary routines that almost lift word-for-word what Hicks was doing years before.

But anyway, I think we Brits got him in a much bigger way than you folks in the US seem to have- virtually every fan of modern stand-up comedy knows Hicks is at the very top. I have no qualms calling him a genius, because he took what a lot of people do and made something completely unique out of it, hilariously funny and thought-provoking at the same time. I first heard him at age 15 and it pretty much changed my life- I didn't understand some of the jokes about Iraq so I went out and learned about it, and went down a long road to being more politically involved.

I disagree with some things he says about women, but so much of what he did was so brilliant and honest that I really don't care. I'm not going to dismiss the 98% of what he did which was extraordinary for the 2% I didn't like. Which is about 80% less than just about any comedian I can think of in the past 40 years.


First of all Clayton (if that is your real name), I think it's absolutely disgusting that you choose to respond to private correspondence in a public forum, as if you hadn't compromised your credibility enough by quoting wikipedia.
Due to current litigation I can't go into too much detail about Wikipedia, but the fact that Wikipedia does not have the scope of the Encyclopedia Brittanica does not make it more accurate only more comprehensive. There's a fundamental difference right there that indicates you're clutching at straws.
Cynthia Turner's 'American Scream' is a prime example of the hagiographer's art, brushing over Hicks' battle with drugs and omitting details of the infamous Illinois Chuckle Farm/fruit punch incident which led directly to many clubs refusing to book him.

As for Leary's commercials, well I think they're funny and used* to look forward to breaks hoping to catch them.
Now here's the killer punch, if Hicks was funnier than Leary then why didn't the advertising industry use him?

*I no longer own a television - unplug the one-eyed beast!


ShopRite69, please stop trolling.


Shoprite69 - a few things...and BOY I hope you read this. Im not going to quote Wikipedia, I just have one word for you...DATES. look at the dates on the material in question. Most of the material that Leary stole is on his album (aptly titled, oddly enough, No Cure For Cancer)dated 1992. The album of Bill's that he stole it from is Dangerous, dated 1990. NNNOOOOOOWWWWWW....if Bill stole the material from denis, I want to know one thing...Where's the time machine?

AND...as far as hicks not being used by the advertising industry, let me favor you with a quote:
"Here's the deal, folks. You do a commercial - you're off the artistic roll call, forever. End of story. Okay? You're another whore at the captialist gang bang and if you do a commercial, there's a price on your head. Everything you say is suspect and every word that comes out of your mouth is now like a turd falling into my drink." - Bill Hicks

And just for completeness sake, here's another, to show that he was asked to do commercials in the UK where he gained MUCH more acceptance than here in the US:
BILL: In England I got an offer to do a commercial for "Orange Drink." Isn’t that typical fucking UK?

"What will we call it?"

"We’ll call it Orange Drink."

Anyway, they offered me really good money and I said no, and they’re like, why not?

RAMÓN: Don’t you ever sit there and go, "Well maybe just this once."

BILL: That’s what they want you to do: sell your soul just once--the rest is easy. I think it would be very phony of me to do a commercial. Plus I really don’t want to do it. I’m trying to make this statement and uh..."Yes, after I try to subvert the public to a new way of thinking, I get parched! That’s why I drink Orange Drink."

So final quote here, and I'm doing this for the goat boy: I suggest you take a look at the world around you and SHUT THE FUCK UP.


I used to work at the "Illinois Chuckle Farm/fruit punch" aka The Funny Firm, and I was there the night of the taping (as I was for almost every one of his shows for three years - about 13 shows per week/4 weeks a year.) There was no balcony in the club. The footage was shot from a camera mounted to the ceiling and was connected to TV's around the club.

There is no doubt Leary stole parts of Bill's act. In my opinion, Leary is more an actor than a comedian. When he did standup, he was acting like a comic - not being a comic. Personally, I like his TV projects, but I can't watch his standup cause it's so blatantly based on Bill's persona. As for fame, Bill was conflicted. He did want to reach a bigger audience, but wasn't totally comfortable with television (and it's effect on society). So he did it, and he pursued projects. But there were limits.

As for genius, Howard Gardner wrote a book about multiple intelligences stating that people can be geniuses in a variety of ways. I believe that. I also think, in that sense, designating someone a genius can be a personal thing. He was a genius to me. For me, what separated Hicks was that he cared. Really cared. When the previous poster made the comment about Bill hating Billy Ray Cyrus, that's true. Bill did hate Billy Ray Cyrus, and he thought it was important to hate Billy Ray Cyrus. He urged his audiences to be be critical thinkers, active participants, and conscious decision makers. Plus, he was hilarious. That's a powerful combination. Leary, on the other hand, wanted a TV series.

As for the other previous poster from across the pond, you are right. Bill really felt more accepted over there. In fact he thought he was on the cusp of really breaking out when he was diagnosed with cancer. It's a shame.

Not everyone gets him. And those that do, get him on different levels. That's fine. That Freebird yeller at the show. He was a big Hicks fan. His problem was that he just laughed. He didn't listen. Maybe he hears him now.


I'm very surprised that there are people who dislike Bill Hicks, or don't find him painfully funny. I can see being shocked, or horrified, or even disgusted by Bill (all matches he played with), but to dismiss him as "merely" another angry comic borders on illiteracy. Jonathan Swift and Voltaire: "merely angry writers?" Like those writers, Bill was vituperatively angry, and very funny about his anger, and (for the modern age) every bit as cutting edge GENIUS (yes, I will use the word) as either of those writers. Bill Hicks had passionate views about society, and slashed his way through the hypocricy and stupidty he saw in American society with a sword of truth not blunted but honed by couching that critique in terms of humor. He hated mediocrity (he BATED mediocrity), and urged his audience AND HIMSELF to not settle for mediocrity, but to pursue truth and passion with the bravery that he aspired to. Like Hunter S. Thompson, he wanted us not to be afraid to speak to authority, not to be afraid to say things everyone might despise you for, not to be afraid period. What amazes me is that his jeremiads are so dead on (no joke intended) more than a decade after his death, and are even more confrontational now than they were then. That sort of prescience, being so tuned into the human condition that the things he said then ring even more powerfully now, being of his time and simultaneously far ahead of it, that is a commonly accepted definition of genius. A troubled genius, to be sure, but what genius wouldn't be troubled when surrounded by a sea of mediocrity, in a nation of complacency, and in a time when self-righteous hypocrites ruled the roost? I miss Bill terribly, though, in one sense, I glad he didn't live longer than he did, because had he lived up to the present, he (like Hunter S.) might have taken his own life, having seen things go from bad to worse. Wherever he is now, in proximity to whatever deity there might be, I'm sure he's on their case, urging them to smite the hypocrites and raise up the truthtellers and not just sit around waiting for Armageddon.




I DARE Comedy Central to run some uncut Bill on their "cutting edge", late night, comedy show.
Sarah Silverfish might learn a thing or 2.


Who'd a thunk it?
This thread reminds me of the best disussions from the old, dead 'FMU message board.
All thanks to Bill Hicks.

"George Bush says we are *losing* the war on drugs. Do you know what that implies?
There's a war being fought and the people on drugs are winning it!"


Dear ShopRite69: The author of *American Scream* was Cynthia True, not Cynthia Turner.


The thing about the Michael Richards moment was that he's not a standup comic, he's an actor typecast to a specific character. When the show ended he decided he'd try his hand at stand up, but was far from 'well versed' in the profession.

When he snapped, he wasn't quick enough to turn that rage into an automatic disclaimer, which is what makes something like this outburst humourous. Bill Hicks on the other hand could stamp a disclaimer on the end of a rant with a single comedic facial expression, and could defend his decision to do so.

In response to a comment higher on this message board, i dont belive Hicks would have ever had the same outburst, especially with how concise, advanced and peacefull his comedy became in the later years. Hicks was not a racist. In order to shout racism outwardly with malice and no punch line, you must hold some animosity.

As for his feelings after 9/11, there would be anger of course but im sure it would be aimed towards fundamentalists of both sides, not just muslim. He would have a fucking field day on young George. haha Its a shame really.

He did hold some pent up anger towards women, im sure he had manipulated and been manipulated by many. But was this attack sexist, or was it just the harshest word he could throw at her? What was he going to do, carry on about the clothes she was wearing? You put yourself in the target and you'll get shot. haha

Anyways, thanks for putting these up, i didnt know this one existed in audio form. Cheers!!

Big Right Hand

"If Dennis Leary ripped off Bill Hicks then how come Dennis Leary is so succesful?
Where's Hicks' prime time show huh?"

LOL. I guess Britney Spears is the best music out there too.

Listen the clip "Mediocrity"... Bill's talking to you.
Then you can continue listening to some New Kids On The Block muhaha.


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