BILL HICKS

ArtistShamanTruthteller

16 DECEMBER 1961 - 26 FEBRUARY 1994

IT'S JUST A RIDE

Transcribed by Elspeth Fahey

[Bill Hicks]:

The world is like a ride in an amusement park and when you choose to go on it you think it's real because that's how powerful our minds are. And the ride goes up and down and around and around and it has thrills and chills and it's very brightly coloured and it's very loud. And it's fun - for a while. Some people have been on the ride for a long time, and they begin to question; is this real? Or is this just a ride? And other people have remembered, and they come back to us, and they say, "Hey, don't worry, don't be afraid, ever, because... this is just a ride."

[Richard Jeni]:

He was the type of guy that, you'd watch him as a comedian, and you'd kind of feel bad. You kinda go, you know I really should be doing more of this kinda thing. I really should be telling the truth more often.

[Bill Hicks]:

'Cause I've greased my hair and I'm a little fucking poet tonight, alright, I'm the little dark poet, that's who I am.

[Allan Havey]:

Bill had a lack of concern. He wasn't concerned with what the audience thought, who would boo him, he wasn't concerned with how it would affect his business, he just said what he wanted to say.

[Mary Hicks]:

I said to Bill, you know you are just that far from being a preacher, and he said, 'I am a preacher.'

[Bill Hicks]:

My voice was not heard, the questions were not asked that I wanted to see asked.

[John Lahr - Critic, The New Yorker]:

He's really an ass-kicking comedian, the best kind, the only kind that matters, when jokes mean... jokes are meant to kill.

[Bill Hicks]:

Ohohoh, quickly, how many non-smokers are here tonight? By round of applause, let's hear non-smokers. (round of applause. Bill lights a cigarette) Good.

[Bill Hicks]:

I love being in New York, I love running the bum gauntlet down every street. God I hate those guys, man. The very idea they want me to give them the hard-earned money my folks send to me every week. Leech, get a job. My dad works eight hours a day for this quarter. I mean, the nerve.

[Richard Belzer]:

Many good artists have an inner voice and for whatever reason some people can hear their inner voice and others can't and I think his was one of questioning what was going on around him - from religion, to politics, to sexuality, drug use, evolution, um, he was just a very engaged person who felt compelled to make comedic chestnuts out of all these complex issues and he was clearly gifted at it. And challenged not only his audiences but I think other comedians.

[Preacher]:

It's time that we as God's people took a stand and said to our kids, "No! No!"

[Bill Hicks]:

A lot of Christians wear crosses around their necks. You think when Jesus comes back he ever wants to see a fucking cross? It's kinda like going up to Jackie Onassis with a little sniper rifle pendant. "Hey Jackie, just thinking of John."

[Mary Hicks]:

The first time we heard about Bill performing onstage was at our church camp when he was thirteen years old. And I heard about it from some of the ladies in my Sunday school class, who asked me if Bill had gone to church camp, which he had, and then one of the ladies told me that her son said that he was the funniest thing he'd ever heard. So after Sunday school I went to our assistant pastor who had been the camp pastor and asked him what Bill did. And he said, "Well Mary, he's very funny. But you may look at how you raised him."

[Bill Hicks]:

The prince of peace is back! But he's pissed off! Fuck you, Pilate!

[Jim Hicks]:

I couldn't undertand why Bill used the F-word so much, and I think I said, well Bill I don't hear Bob Hope using it, or any other well-known comedian. And of course he didn't like that and I don't think he liked Bob Hope too much or anybody that I would mention so, he took issue with that statement.

[Bill Hicks]:

I did that joke in Alabama, and these three rednecks met me after the show. "Hey buddy, c'mere. Hey Mister Comedian, c'mere." Yeah, I love that move (makes shoving motion) "C'mere!" Not a physics major, I think that's a safe bet. "Mister Funnyman, c'mere. Hey buddy, we're Christians and we don't like what you said." I said, 'Then forgive me.'

[Jay Leno]:

He was that odd sort of person that he could sort of hate where he came from, but love it too, I mean, some of his most savage attacks would be on religious or things in the south, yet that's where he came from, so he could go home... He could alternately love it and hate it at the same time.

[Bill Hicks]:

I was in Nashville, Tennesee last year, after the show I went to a Waffle House, I'm not proud of it, I was hungry. And I'm alone, I'm eating and I'm reading a book, right? Waitress walks over to me, "Tch tch tch tch. Hey, what you readin' for?" Is that like the weirdest fucking question you've ever heard? Not what am I reading, but what am I reading for. Well, godammit, you stumped me. Why do I read? Well... hmmm... I guess I read for a lot of reasons, and the main one, is so I don't end up being a fucking waffle waitress.

[Brett Butler]:

Bill and I both shared the love of the south and its sweetness and just really, originality. It's one of the few really still original places, I think, in America. And Bill knew that. But any time you love something that much, you see all of its flaws, tenfold.

[Bill Hicks]:

But then... this trucker in the next booth gets up, stands over me, and goes, "Well, looks like we got ourselves a reader." What the fuck's going on here? It's not like I walked into a clan rally in a Boy George outfit, godammit, it's a book!

[Dwight Slade]:

Well, 1978, the Comedy Workshop opened up in Houston, Texas, and it was very exciting for us, we were fifteen years old, and this was what we were waiting for. But the support from our parents to leave our homes, on a school night, and go to a nightclub, it was unrelentless. We couldn't do it, we were grounded basically for the rest of our adolescence. And the only way to do it was to sneak out, so Kevin Booth would drive up, Bill would sneak out of his window and drive over to my house, I would sneak out of my house, we would get in the car, go down to the Workshop and do our sets, under the pretences that we were at the library.

[Kevin Booth]:

It was very strange, I mean we were all underage, in fact I think Bill and Dwight had to have some kind of a special permit to be allowed to perform, so it was very weird going from our high school keg parties and everything, to this adult world. And then, is what really made it weird, was when Bill kinda started to rule this adult world. And he wasn't even old enough to be drinking alcohol yet and all of a sudden he was blowing the other older comedians off the stage.

[Steve Hicks]:

I knew he was writing these jokes, but I did not what that meant, and one time I was home from college I guess, and he said, "Come down to the Comedy Workshop," which was a place in Houston. And I said, well, why, I'd never been to a comedy club, it just wasn't a big thing, and he said, "well just come down there tonight." So I went down that night, and I couldn't believe it, he was a superstar already, he was like fifteen years old, maybe fourteen years old, and there was a sold-out show, lines waiting to get in, and that was my brother, I couldn't believe it.

[Bill Hicks]:

Not a time to quit smoking, kids, but I fucking did it. And yes, I miss 'em. It is hard to quit smoking. Every one of them looks real good to me right now. Every cigarette looks like it was made by God, rolled by Jesus, and moistened shut with Claudia Schiffer's pussy right now.

[Jay Leno]:

He really wasn't a comedian when I met him, he was starting to be a comedian, I mean I knew him, god, twelve, thirteen years, he was still a kid, he was in high school, and I was playing in Austin, and he would come and listen, you know, when you're a comedian, you've been on TV, inevitably, the comedy club owner always says, oh, there's a group of people in the city, would you talk to them about comedy? Okay, so, one of the afternoons, you go down, you talk to them about comedy, I think he had a comedy workshop at this club, and ah... I always find when you're teaching comedy, the one who sort of gets up in disgust and leaves and thinks you're a jerk is usually the best comedian in the room.

[David Letterman]:

What I liked about Bill was, here is a guy that nobody knew - myself included - who had a swagger to his demeanor. Both physical and emotional swagger. And I just liked that for no good reason, for no justifiable reason - I'm cocky, you know, nobody knows me - too bad. You could almost see him, sorta just, turning his shoulder to the audience.

[Bill Hicks]:

I've got material planned, I didn't say I'd take fucking requests. OK? I said if you wanted to hear it, I'd stay, I'm not a jukebox. I dunno how much AIDS scares y'all, but I got a theory - the day they come out with a cure for AIDS. Guaranteed, one-shot cure. On that day, there's gonna be fucking in the streets, man. It's over! Who're you? C'mere! What's your name, baby? No, it's over, yeah, woo-hoo! Man, if you can't get laid on that day, cut it off.

[David Johndrow & Kevin Booth]:

He didn't seem to mind what people thought of him. That never really seemed to matter. Even in the early years in high school, he wasn't really affected by peer pressure or anything like that at all.

- He was never worried about offending people either. Offending people was not something... It was their problem. You know, if they were offended then, they just didn't get it or something.

[Bill Hicks]:

Cause you know, if you play New Kids on the Block albums backwards, they sound better. "Oh come on, Bill, they're the New Kids, don't pick on them, they're so good and they're so clean cut and they're such a good image for the children." Fuck that. When did mediocrity and banality become a good image for your children? I want my children to listen to people who fucking rocked. I don't care if they died in puddles of their own vomit. I want someone who plays from his fucking heart. "Mommy, mommy, the man that Bill told me to listen to has a blood bubble on his nose!" Shut up and listen to him play! The New Kids! "Hi we're the New Kids and we're so good and clean-cut..." (cocksucking noises) "We're so clean cut!" Seig Heil! Heil! Heil! A good clean country... Heil! Heil! Heil! (more cocksucking noises) Fuck that! I want my rock stars dead! I want them to fucking play with one hand and put a gun in their other fucking hand and go "I hope you enjoy the show!" (gun-fire noise) Yes! Yes! Play from your fucking heart!

...I am available for children's parties by the way...

[David Johndrow]:

He was always interested in altered states, expanding awareness, ever since I knew him, he meditated and we did floatation tanks, sensory deprivation, all these things, and someone had told him that mushrooms caused these great altered states, so he wanted to try it.

[Bill Hicks]:

I believe that God left certain drugs growing naturally upon our planet to help speed up and facilitate our evolution. OK, not the most popular idea ever expressed. Either that or you're all real high and agreeing with me in the only way you can right now. (starts blinking)

[Kevin Booth]:

We'd reached the point of realising that the way to trip would be to go out into the woods and just, you know, be at one with nature, and that's when Bill stopped trying to combine the drugs and the performing, and it was like two different things. It would almost be like a little religious quest, we'd all go off out to my family's ranch or wherever and have our experience and he would come back to his life and try to reassimilate it into his comedy.

[Bill Hicks]:

We got pulled over tripping on acid one night, pulled over by the cops. Don't recommend it. Cops don't appreciate fish driving around. They frown on that. Long night, man, cop was tapping on this window... we're staring at him in this mirror. "How tall are you? It's a little cop, look at him. How does he drive that big fucking car?"

[Allan Havey]:

I think a lot of people enjoyed the fact that Bill said, listen, I indulged in drugs, and I had a great time doing it. I didn't lose my house, I didn't lose my car. I mean he... he... it's always this black and white thing - drugs are bad or smoking is bad. Bill kinda showed you, well, there's a lot of grey area in there.

[Bill Hicks]:

How about a positive LSD story, that would be newsworthy. Don't you think? Anybody think that? Just once, to hear a positive LSD story. "Today, a young man on acid, realised that all matter is merely energy condensed to a slow vibration. That we are all one consciousness experiencing itself subjectively, there is no such thing as death, life is only a dream, and we are the imagination of ourselves... here's Tom with the weather."

[David Johndrow & Kevin Booth]:

In high school, while most kids were going out to bowling alleys and dances, Bill wanted to go to porno movies and things like that. So, OK, let's go to a porno movie. So Bill calls up the porno place and says, "What's the movie playing tonight?"

- Babylon Pink

Babylon Pink was the one that stuck in our memory, and Bill calls back and says, "What's it about?" He was serious. And the guy said, well, it's about a woman that works in an office, and everyone has sex with her. "Oh OK, we'll be right down." And we were under-age so we had to look older, so we wore coats and ties, so we showed up at the porno movie in our Sunday best with our popcorn and ah...

- I was a little leery about the popcorn in the porno theatre, but Bill felt OK about it.

[Bill Hicks]:

Are there actually women in the world who do not like to give blowjobs? See a lot of guys on dates got their fingers crossed here tonight... "Answer him, honey, go ahead. Let's hear how you feel about this right now."

[Kevin Booth]:

What would always been surprising is, when we'd go see Bill perform, he'd always have a new twist that he didn't have for us, you know, his friends hanging out and talking. He would give it one extra edge. And he would also bring his own personal life into it a lot of times. The first time I ever saw Bill talking about masturbation on-stage, I mean I was just blushing for him, I couldn't believe it, but um, look how far we've come now.

[Bill Hicks]:

A woman one night yelled out, "Yeah, you ever try it?" I said, yeah. Almost broke my back. It's that one vertebrae, I swear to God, it's that close. I think that vertebrae is going to be the thing to go in our next evolutionary step. Just a theory and a fervent prayer. Yeah, now all the guys are going, "Honey, I have no idea what he's talking about. I think he's a devil-child." That may be true, but guys, yoooo u know what I'm talking about. I can speak for every guy in this room here tonight, guys, if you could blow yourselves, ladies, you'd be in this room alone right now. Watching an empty stage.

Boy, my folks are proud of me. "Bill honey, you still doing that suck your own cock bit?" Yeah, mom. "Good, baby, that's such a crowd-pleaser. How clever of you to come up with the suck your own cock bit, honey. You're so clever, it makes your mama's bosom swell with pride. Knowing her son is travelling the world, using his given surname, going up in front of rooms of total strangers and doing the suck your own cock piece." Thanks, mom. "No biggie."

[Jim & Mary Hicks]:

When he was up in high school they used to give him five minutes before class to get it all out of his system so they could proceed with the class, we heard that.

- One of the teachers called me and asked me if I could help her get her class back from Bill. She said, I told him he could have five minutes while I was checking the roll, and she said, I can't get it back. I said, that's your problem, you shouldn't have let him get up there.

[Bill Hicks]:

"Mommy, I want Goatboy to come play at our house." Hehehehehe.

[Eric Bogosian]:

He was taking fully the role of the kind of witchdoctor in front of the audience, I mean really you got a performance going on here, and it's like a big giant exorcism of all the evil shit that's inside of us, that poisons us day to day to day, it just adds up, gets locked into our brains, we can't get it out, we don't know what to do with it, TV talk shows aren't gonna help it, the news isn't, nothing's going to help it, you just need a guy to get up there and take you by the lapels and shake the shit out of you.

[Bill Hicks]:

I'm Goatboy. "What do you want, Goatboy? Big ol' smelly shaggy thing."

[Eddie Izzard]:

He was dark, I mean he had some very dark images that he wanted to explain to people in graphic detail. He would shock people... and it'd shock people into paying attention or just being surprised that he would say things like that.

[Bill Hicks]:

Hehehehe. Goatboy is here to please you. "How?" Hehehehehe. Tie me to your headboard, throw your legs over my shoulders and let me wear you like a feed bag (snorting, sucking, licking noise).

[Kevin Booth & David Johndrow]:

Bill and I's whole relationship was based around writing wacky songs and taking these wacky photographs of ourselves, trying to make ourselves look like rock stars. I really thought Bill and I were going to go on to be in a band together for ever. And then he decided to be a stand-up comic. And so he was kinda split on that thing. - He always wanted to be a musician, I mean, rock star I think was the number one thing.

[Dwight Slade]:

He was fascintaed with y'know, Alice Cooper, and rock music, and Jimi Hendrix Story, and... Kiss. He was fascinated by those theatrics and that power.

[William Cook - Critic, The Guardian]:

I hesitate to call Bill Hicks a rock'n'roll comedian, but what I would say about him is that he has managed, very successfully, to take the things that appeal to teenage and twentysomething audiences in pop music, out of the records and put them into a live comedy routine. The reason a lot of young middle-class people didn't used to be interested in comedy at all was because the comedians weren't talking about anything that they were interested in, and the reason they were into music instead, was because the musicians were. Bill Hicks has taken a lot of those concerns and he's put them into humourous situations, and that's why he has a rock'n'roll appeal.

[Bill Hicks]:

It's great to be here. I thank you. Ah, I've been on the road doing comedy for ten years now, so bear with me while I plaster on a fake smile and plough through this shit one more time.

[John Lahr - Critic, The New Yorker]:

Most comedians perform in front of television audiences and don't have a life in front of an audience, a real long life in front of a public, but he was performing 250, 280 days out of the year, he told me. And therefore he really was good, masterful with an audience, easy, at ease with an audience. He could think on his feet.

[Bill Hicks]:

By the way, if anyone here is in advertising or marketing, kill yourself. Thank you, thank you. Just a little thought. I'm just trying to plant seeds. Maybe one day they'll take root, I don't know. You try. You do what you can. Kill yourselves. Seriously though, if you are, do. No really, there's no rationalisation for what you do, and you are Satan's little helpers, OK? Kill yourselves, seriously. You're the ruiner of all things good. Seriously, no, this is not a joke. "There's gonna be a joke coming..." There's no fucking joke coming - you are Satan's spawn, filling the world with bile and garbage, you are fucked and you are fucking us, kill yourselves, it's the only way to save your fucking soul. Kill yourself.

[Eric Bogosian]:

He wasn't like a guy who comes up and stands at a mic, and lays out one-liners, rather that there's a sort of tornado moving around the stage and cycling around and throwing all this energy out at you.

[Sean Hughes]:

And it was his bravery, you where he was able to go onstage and... Because, you at him as well - like, he played the Dominion. And for any comedian over here to play the Dominion, they'd be kind of going, "No pauses, just quickly get the material out," and you can see Bill on-stage, just reflecting, and thinking, what am I going to think about next?

[Bill Hicks]:

I know what all the marketing people are thinking right now too. "Oh, you know what Bill's doing? He's going for that anti-marketing dollar. That's a good market. He's very smart." Oh man, I am not doing that, you fucking evil scumbags.

[Brett Butler]:

For all the talk about Bill being like Hendrix or Dylan or Jim Morrison or Lenny Bruce, it was Jesus Bill wanted to be, he wanted to save us all, but Bill got freeze-framed in the scene where Jesus went through the temple and said, "This is my father's house and you've turned it into a den of thieves." 'Cause that's what Bill always wanted to do - he wanted to be Christ at his angriest.

[Bill Hicks]:

"You know what Bill's doing now, he's going for the righteous indignation dollar, that's a big dollar, a lot of people are feeling that indignation, we've done research, huge market. He's doing a good thing." Godammit, I'm not doing that, you scumbags, quit putting a godamn dollar sign on every fucking thing on this planet.

[Bill Hicks]:

I personally do not believe in burning the flag. It's a personal belief, but I'll tell you something, I think people are overreacting, oh, just a little bit. "Hey buddy, my daddy died for that flag." Well, I bought mine. Sorry. You know they sell them at K-Mart for three bucks, you're in, you're out, brand new flag, no violence was necessary. "Hey buddy, my daddy died in the Korean war for that flag." What a coincidence - my flag was made in Korea!

[Richard Belzer]:

America's a place you love and you hate at the same time, because everything is here, everything possible, every possible evil and every possible good. And it's very frustrating for somebody like Bill whose antennas are always open and he lays himself open, his heart and his mind, to see all the hipocrisy and contradictions of what we can really be, and what we are.

[Richard Jeni]:

Comedians are one of the few people around who really have license to tell the truth. You know, movies don't really have it, certainly television personalities don't really have it. Comedians do, because ultimately they're only responsible to themselves, they're no responsible to a studio or a network or a corporate entity. And for that reason they have probably more liscence to tell the truth than anybody, and most of them don't take it. Bill took it, and you have to admire that about him.

[Bill Hicks]:

First of all, this needs to be said: there never was a war. "How can you say that Bill?" Well, a war is when two armies are fighting. So you see, right there, we can all agree. Wasn't exactly a war.

[Eric Bogosian]:

I had a very very big, one of the top comedians in this country, tell me during the Iraq war, that they couldn't do it. They said, they wouldn't put their neck on the line. They were against the war and they wouldn't say anything. 'Cause they basically felt, that you watched those little bags of money just fly away. It's like, kiss your career goodbye.

[Sean Hughes]:

He had absolutely phenomenal stuff about the Gulf war and it was because, you get the English comics coming out and going, "Hey, the Gulf war..." and doing some really dodgy, you know, crap stuff about it. And Bill just went out and went, look, this is what's happening. And you actually thought, here's a comedian who actually knows more than me about a subject, and besides knowing more about a subject, he's being very funny about it.

[Bill Hicks]:

Those guys were in hog heaven out there, do you understand, man? They had the big weapons catalogue opened up. "What's G12 do, Tommy?" "Well, it says here it destroys everything but the fillings in their teeth, helps us pay for the war effort. Well shit, pull that one up. Pull up G12 please." (missle explosion noise). "Cool, what's G13 do?"

[Thea Vidale]:

See, I think Bill said a lot of things that were so true, that, you know. They just couldn't deal with it. I mean, some people can't take but so much truth. With me, I would tell you the truth, then I'd let you off and tell you something real real funny and make you laugh. But I'd make you think again, and make you laugh. Spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down. Wasn't no spoonfuls of sugar with Bill.

[Bill Hicks]:

I love talking about the Warren Commission, I love talking about the Kennedy assasination as well. The reason I do is because I'm fascinated by it. I'm fascinated that our government could lie to us so blatantly, so obviously for so long, and we do absolutely nothing about it. I think that's interesting in what is ostensibly a democracy. Sarcasm - come on in. People say, "Bill, quit talking about Kennedy man. It was a long time ago, just let it go, alright? It's a long time ago, just forget it." I'm like, alright, then don't bring up Jesus to me. As long as we're talking shelf life here, you know.

[Jay Leno]:

I brought him to the attention of the Letterman show back in the mid-eighties I suppose. He was still too far off the wall for the Tonight Show, which was the more mainstream show and Late Night with David Letterman was the crazy, take-a-chance program and he was well-suited to that. I remember bringing him down and the producers would hear him and go, "Bill, this is good but can you change this..." Ackack! And he's go in these fits of rage, "No I can't it's the essence of the piece!" I said look, just get on TV would you, just do what you have to, and we'd go back and forth and back and forth. And then he went on to do eleven or twelve Letterman appearances and it was pretty, ah... very successful.

[David Letterman show excerpt]:

Ah, our next guest is a very intense and very funny young man who has been on this program a number of times and he's back again tonight. He has his own HBO One Night Stand program with premieres this Saturday, ladies and gentlemen please welcome Bill Hicks.

[David Letterman]:

We had heard of him and he came on the show and it did very well, as I recall his first time. And that was great for us because we're always looking for someone to come on and just blow the roof off the place. And we thought, this is great, we have a new guy here who has been very effective. And then of course you worry, well, can he do it again, will the subsequent shot hold up. And over the years, and I don't know hw long he was with us on the old show, but you know, he never disappointed.

[Bill Hicks]:

I learned a lot about women. I think I learned exactly how the fall of man occured in the Garden of Eden. Adam and Eve were in the Garden of Eden, and Adam said one day, "Wow, Eve, here we are, at one with nature, at one with God, we'll never age, we'll never die, and all our dreams come true the instant that we have them." And Eve said, "Yeah... it's just not enough is it?"

[Robert Morton - Producer, The David Letterman Show]:

We always pushed the envelope, by seeing OK, just how much of a fuck-you attitude can you have, without going over the line on network television. And that was always the thrill of presenting it.

ON OCTOBER 1st 1993 BILL HICKS TWELFTH AND FINAL APPEARANCE ON THE DAVID LETTERMAN SHOW WAS CUT FROM THE TRANSMITTED PROGRAMME

[Richard Belzer]:

I can't quote you club owners or television executives by name, but I know that the nature of what Bill did was not universally applauded and accepted because it did challenge the status quo and it might upset certain political sensibilities in the audience and in the corporate structure.

[John Lahr - Critic, The New Yorker]:

When his stuff was taken off the air or whatever, he wrote me a 32-page letter, hand-written, a sort of a cree, he couldn't understand the situation, just because, he was a free spirit, it was a joke, these jokes had import. But it was the prescribing of his freedom which so offended him.

[David Letterman]:

Well, our relationship with Bill Hicks came to kind of a peculiar ending, made all the more peculiar by the man's death. And I have personal regrets about how our relationship developed prior to his death. So it makes me doubly sad that he is now not around so that we can I think, correct mistakes that were made on his behalf. So I feel a personal sense of regret regarding that.

[John Lahr - Critic, The New Yorker]:

And what it did also do was give him more material for his belief, correct in my view, that television worked to control the society, to keep the culture credulous, to keep it from thinking, to enchant it - literally, to spellbind it. And his job, as he saw it, was to break the spell.

[Bill Hicks]:

Go back to bed, America, your government has figured out how it all transpired, go back to bed America, your goverment is in control again. Here, here's American Gladiators, watch this, shut up, go back to bed America, here is American Gladiators, here is 56 channels of it, watch these pituitary retards bang their fucking skulls together and congratulate you on living in the land of freedom. Here you go America - you are free to do as we tell you! You are free to do as we tell you!

[Richard Jeni]:

With Bill you always got the impression that stand-up was an end in itself. You know, to many people in the stand-up business, it's just a stepping-stone, you know. It's hey, I'll get a sitcom, I'll have a wacky neighbour and the next thing I know I'll be chatting with Regis. And it shows. Bill Hicks wasn't out there to just get some laughs and collect the cheque.

[Bill Hicks]:

I'm so sick of arming the world, then sending troops over to destroy the fucking arms, you know what I mean? We keep arming these little countries, then we go and blow the shit out of them. We're like the bullies of the world, y'know. We're like Jack Palance in the movie Shane, throwing the pistol at the sheepherder's feet.

"Pick it up."

"I don't wanna pick it up, Mister, you'll shoot me."

"Pick up the gun."

"Mister, I don't want no trouble. I just came to town here to get some hardrock candy for my kids, some gingham for my wife. I don't even know what gingham is, but she goes through about ten rolls a week of that stuff. I ain't looking for no trouble, Mister."

"Pick up the gun."

(He picks it up. Three shots ring out)

"You all saw him - he had a gun."

[Jim Hicks]:

I think his message came from his feelings, and his observations of what was happening in this country, and I think he was determined, passionately determined, to try to make some changes through this medium.

[John Lahr - Critic, The New Yorker]:

He was on a mission, he was on a journey. The point was, that he did make that journey exciting for anybody who managed to meet him on it.

[Bill Hicks]:

It's just a ride, and we can change it any time we want. It's only a choice. No effort, no work, no job, no savings and money, a choice, right now, between fear and love. The eyes of fear want you to put bigger locks on your door, buy guns, close yourself off. The eyes of love instead see all of us as one.

[Bill Hicks]:

I'm gonna share with you a vision that I had, cause I love you. And you feel it. You know all that money we spend on nuclear weapons and defence each year, trillions of dollars, correct? Instead... just play with this... if we spent that money feeding and clothing the poor of the world, and it would pay for it many times over, not one human being excluded and we can explore space together, both inner and outer, forever, in peace. Thank you very much you've been great, I hope you enjoyed it...

[Jay Leno]:

It would have been a wonderful thing to see him as a sixty-year-old, still smoking and drinking and looking terrible and talking about losing weight and never doing anything. It's just a great tragedy, it's very very sad. It really is, I think if you're a comedian. It's a bit like John Lennon, it's like someone who, just when it looked like they were happiest and a slower, more productive creative period was about to happen, gee, the whole thing just went away.

[Thea Vidale]:

And I have to say, I know Bill has ascended, and God has opened his doors and said, "I am so glad to see you. I've been missing you." You know what I'm saying. It's like God called his child home and told him to come on in, it's time to play, you can have the best time, you can be who you want to be, right here and now, forever. There's no censorship in heaven.

 

l

all is well.

 

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