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December 27, 2006



That's a classic Hicks moment, but I must disagree with you on one point. There's no way that outburst would've ended Bill's career. It wasn't an isolated incident, and he was known for such outbursts, sometimes even without provocation. One of my friends, a comedian from Austin, has a story about when Bill actually walked off stage to confront a heckler. He called her a "diseased whore" and then spit in her face. Whether that's true or not, Hicks was an angry man, and his act was often misanthropic. I bet he could've even gotten away with saying what Michael Richards did, primarily because he was never as much of a celebrity as Richards, but also because, like Andy Kaufman, Hicks didn't always care about being nice to the audience. And as the clip illustrates, the crowd was cheering him on.

Phil Nelson

I have the complete bootleg in MP3 if you'd like to put that up here. The "loses it" parts are actually on the second disc of a two discer. Drop me an email if you want 'em, Ken.

I did the same thing on christmas. Love you guys.


Thanks for these! I only recently saw that clip of Hicks heckling the heckler and it just reminded me how much I used to love him -- and that was back when I only ever saw his safe network stand-up.

We actually need a comic like Hicks right now. I want more righteous fucking anger and less ironic smirking (even though that Horse Apples sketch on Wonder Showzen is pretty genius).

I think that applies to politics as well.

Rory Murray

Bill Hicks hatred of George Bush Sr. was legendary, and deservedly so.
It makes me wonder what this comic genius would have said about Bush's severly retarded son, the Bumbler-In Cheif


I also don't think this would have damaged his career because a.) he probably wouldn't have really cared about any uproar that the video would have brought and b.) as infamous as he was before his death he never really attained celebrity status until afterwards when his cds became more available and the internet took to him - so he didn't really have that much of a career to damage.

As much as I love Bill Hicks these rants are my least favorite things of his to watch. His vitriol was better served in the context of his material and not as a string of expletives directed at some heckler (as much as they probably deserved it).

Station Manager Ken

I dont think that Hicks' treatment of hecklers is what would have sunk him in this day and age, it was such things as saying
"hitler had the right idea.. kill 'em all" and "Go Saddam, nuke everybody." Agreed, this was not Hicks at his best, far from it in fact. But he existed in a different world. No comic of a comparable stature would be permitted to say such things in post 9/11 America.



I have a video of this.....I can't remember where I got it, pretty shoddy quality (smuggled-in VHS camcorder style) looks like it is shot from a can't actually see the heckler but you do see Bill's tirade and whathaveyou.....classic


like a lot of geniuses, hicks resists facile interpretations... he dislike prejudice and ignorance, but he has a pretty hostile vibe towards women on many occasions. i've often thought he'd be hard pressed after 9-11 not to let anger towards muslims creep into his act. he was, after all, a houston suburban teen - i know quite a few texans who would happily pop bush's head off, but get conflicted about 9-11 (one called me right afterwards: 'that was BRILLIANTLY executed... but i am sooo angry right now i can't go outside'). i assume the overall arc of his narrative would excuse any backsliding, but i don't think he'd pause long enough to care if he offended anyone along the way. and once bill got a hold of the utter incompetence of the bush administration i think his head would explode from too much easy material...

as for the chicago rant - hey, i LIKE his 'kill 'em all' stuff. i just sorta nod along uh-huh, nuff said, rat on....
but i'm a little biased; as i prolly already wrote on BOTB, i dated a woman who dated bill. she once told me: 'you remind me a lot of bill. except HE was funny.'


Anybody else having trouble downloading track 6 ("You're fucking great")? I keep getting a "the site is unavailable or can not be found" message for that one.


Hehehe, I spiced up x-mas with some Hicks footage as well! There's one reason Hicks would not have been jailed for this in 2006: He is not discriminating. He hates all people and doesn't hesitate to say that to anyone. This is different with that Richards guy.

I've seen a lot of shows via the internet and dvd. The shows for bigger audiences were a bit tamer than the show in local venues, so it seems. This is one of his last. It's techinally in bad quality, but it is good show.

Compared to the other shows I've seen, 'loses it' is stiff, uninspired. That bothers me more then the language. But I'm from this town,
so I guess I'm spoiled languagewise :-) (in the 4th frame the officer is complaining the dog isn't wearing a condom, the rest is up to you to guess.)

Station Manager Ken

Jeff - I fixed the link for track six - sorry about that. It's working now.


Cameron Reilly

Thanks for sharing these Ken! I can't believe these were missing from my Hicks collection. My sister gave me a fairly new biography on Bill for xmas and I'll enjoy listening to these as I read along. I was also very pleased to listen to an interview with John Cleese recently where he was asked when the last time was he was surprised by something he heard from a comedian and he launched into a long talk about the first time he heard Bill and then urged everyone to go out and listen to him.

Cameron Reilly
CEO, The Podcast Network


Uh, when did Bill Hicks NOT "lose it"? I thought his entire act consisted of smoking and losing it.

Perhaps I am missing something, but I've never been able even remotely comprehend the "genius" label that's been accorded to Hicks. I see the videos and listen to the audio tracks and I don't get all the fuss. How is he any different from the entire crop of misanthropic white male "ranting" comics of the late 80's/early 90's like Sam Kinison, Dennis Leary, etc.? It's a style that wore out it's welcome rather quickly for me. Lots of easy targets, self-righteousness anger, hostility towards selected audience members, etc.

How anyone can put Hicks in the same class as Lenny Bruce, Richard Pryor, or George Carlin is beyond me. These comics at their best were capable of precise,almost novelistic observation and inspired, absurdist transformation of the social milieu as well as a range of reactions to it the ran the gamut from outrage to pathos to self-criticism. They stimulated out thinking about ourseleves and our society, altered our perceptions, changed our sensibilities and values and updated our vocabulary. Did Hicks even approach any of this? Please, Hicks defenders, prove me wrong and point me to the work that you think best represents his "genius."


Initially I was put off by Hick's "downer" approach to comedy...but
after hearing a few shows I glimpsed a little comedy sunshine shining between the clouds

Through various means, I've gotten hold of most of his shows (bootlegs and otherwise)
and can appreciate his comedy more fully. Some of his funniest gigs were done in the most
obscure parts of England

No, he wasn't Richard Pryor or George Carlin...and he definitely wasn't Lenny Bruce.

And sadly, he wasn't around long enough to put variety in his comedy...his smoking, drinking, Bill Clinton, Jackie O jokes become tiring after about the 1st listening...whereas Pryor and Carlin (but not neccesarily Bruce) put a lot of ingredients (topics) into their stand-up routines.

Glad this post has gotten so many comments...nice one...will listen to it today on the ol' iPod


There are a lot of comediants who make you think, and you can leave the room with the pleasant feeling that you just got to understand the world a bit better. You can feel good about yourself!
With Hicks, you laugh and laugh, and laugh at other people, and feel good about yourself too. Until moment when the joke is on you, or on what you do. He will piss you off at least once. This leaves you with a choice. Either "yell at the performer", or, since he's now dead, question his geniusness, or laugh at yourself. "Whoops, sorry, I was taking life seriously".
Oh, and as far as personal life is concerned, I stayed out of advertising when I rememberd one of his routines. That's a life-changing decision that has cost me at least 1000$ per month. Lenny Bruce, Richard Pryor, nor George Carlin ever cost me that much money in a mere 3 minutes rant.
"K? K."


"No comic of a comparable stature would be permitted to say such things in post 9/11 America."
is that your rule or an observation? you are all apparently very keen on this we-are-the-wardens-and-inmates-of-our-own-jail cultural mentality/psychosis, so i'm leaning towards the former.


I don't think Bill Hicks is all that funny, plus his material is really dated.
If you get a chance check out some Dennis Leary, he's really good and Hicks ripped off a lot of his material.


Fatherflot -

Just an observation, but sometimes we forget that we're talking about comedians. Personally, I don't think of Hicks as a "genius," at least not by the strictest definition. Nor was he any more of an outsider than Lenny Bruce was, but he was very funny when he wanted to be. It does merit some thought, however, that we often misuse the word "genius," to no great detriment. It is a term of endearment. Having said that, I do think Hicks was "genius" at pissing people off, and we could always use a little more of that, especially in today's world of faux sensitivity in the guise of sweeping political correctness.

It does seem as if you really have no interest in accepting any divergent point of view regarding Hicks, though, so a question worth asking would be: why should anyone bother trying to convert you? No offense, of course. You stated, "It's a style that wore out its welcome rather quickly for me." Ergo, any attempt to validate Hicks as a comedian would be met with consternation, or else an outright dismissal.

No, he wasn't Lenny Bruce or Richard Pryor, but he never tried to be. He was himself, and at his core he was a fairly clever and compassionate fellow, if a bit misguided in his selection of insults. No great crime there. As a people, we react only to the most egregious examples of intolerance. It's why movies like "Rush Hour" get away with anti-Asian bigotry; if a black guy's hurling the insults, in character, it's all good. Michael Richards is afforded no such luxury, even though it could be argued that, as a performer, he's always in character. But I digress... a few Bill Hicks bits will always stick out in my mind. Here's my favorite.

"Here’s another idea that should be punctured, the idea that childbirth is a miracle. I don’t know who started this rumor but it’s not a miracle. No more a miracle than eating food and a turd coming out of your butt. It’s a chemical reaction and a biological reaction. You want to know a miracle? A miracle is raising a kid that doesn’t talk in a fucking movie theater! I’ll go you one further, and this is the routine that has virtually ended my career in America. If you have children here tonight — and I assume some of you do — I am sorry to tell you this. They are not special. I’ll let that sink in. Don’t get me wrong, folks. I know you think they’re special. You think that. I’m telling you—they’re not. Did you know that every time a guy comes, he comes 200 million sperm? Did you know that? And you mean to tell me you think your child is special? Because one out of 200 million sperm connected... that load? Gee, what are the fucking odds? Do you know what that means? I have wiped entire civilizations off of my chest, with a grey gym sock. That is special. Entire nations have flaked and crusted in the hair around my navel. That is special. And I want you to think about that, you two-egg-carrying beings out there with that holier-than-thou, we-have-the-gift-of-life attitude. I have tossed universes, in my underpants, while napping. That is special."


Oh yeah, I almost forgot... a message for ShopRite69. Dennis Leary and Hicks were good friends until Hicks learned that Leary had ripped him off; not the other way around. Just a little bit from Wikipedia:

"Comedians Joe Rogan, Susannah Bianchi and Tim McIntire have since publicly stated that they believe Leary stole not just some of Hicks' material (accusations of which are not unknown in comedy circles), but his persona and attitude, and that similar feelings were felt within the comedy industry. As a result of this, it is claimed that after Bill Hicks' death from pancreatic cancer, an industry joke began to circulate about Leary's transformation and subsequent success. Question: Why is Denis Leary a star while Bill Hicks is unknown? Answer: Because there's no cure for cancer."


I get a creepy feeling whenever I hear the word "genius" - same as when I hear the word "hero" applied
to anyone who's just doing their job (fireman putting out fire, policeman taking a bullet,
paramedic performing CPR, teacher helping a troubled student...etc)

"Genius" is a word that is best never used...because it's lost it's meaning.

For instance, if Bill Hicks is a genius then what does that make Mark Twain or Ernie Kovacs?

Should the term for such people be deluxe genius? - genius with attitude? - mega-genius? - creative talent??

Phil Nelson

Alexa: Maybe you're right. I think it's easier to just say that Bill is one of the best there has ever been at what he did.

Alexa only had to use a few extra words and it's a more accurate description.

By the way, I finally listened to the Hicks concert post and though he was fairly "out there"
there are a few other shows on audio that are more edgy. To me, the great thing about Hicks is he always sounds like a very angry customer waiting for his car to be smogged at the mechanic..."so, dude like did my car pass? NO?! Well...f**k you AND the poorly-calibrated smog-o-meter you rode in on!"

Here's Tom With the Weather

Bill Hicks the philosopher has always been far more interesting to me than Bill Hicks the loose cannon. "There is no such thing as death, life is only a dream, and we are the imagination of ourselves."


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


ShopRite: 1. Bill has been dead for 12 years. Leary is alive.
2. Bill had his own HBO special and appeared on Letterman 11 times. Prime enough for you?

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