Bill Hicks isn't a hero of mine.
I have far to much respect for the man and his message to idolise him in such a way. If I didn't think it would be disrespectful to his memory the man would be my own personal Jesus Christ. You see I recently watched the amazing documentary American: The Bill Hicks Story, it should be up on iplayer still, go watch it I'll wait... You back? Good then I'll continue. I'm on about my fourth attempt at starting this post, because it is very difficult to put into words what I feel about Hicks without going into a bit of detail about how my mind works, or rather how Bill Hicks made my mind work.
I loved comedy as a child, I'd encountered Monty Python at about the age of 6 and had been marked for life as a follower of the comedic arts. These were the days when internet access was a luxury if it was available at all so my comedy appetites were left to starve feeding only when the 4 (later 5) terrestrial channels allowed it. This combined with bed times and so forth meant I was about 14 when I first stumbled across Bill Hicks. It was late at night I was in my room watching the small TV, that to this day remains an important possession for the sentimental attachment I formed to it, and Revelations was on. I cannot overstate the impact that it had on me.
Stand-up is, in my opinion, the greatest art-form that exists. There is no disconnect between a performer and his audience. The person on stage is solely responsible for what occurs in the show, the ideas, actions and words are purely his. There is no room for misinterpretation. On stage you stand alone. I know some of you are reading this are thinking that Comedy can't be the greatest art-form regardless of the format but it's the only medium that can bypass your natural defences. Laughter is not voluntary and once you're laughing that's when someone can start planting ideas in your head. I realised all of this within the first five minutes of Hicks's act.
To call Hicks fearless is to massively understate the case, but that's not what made him special. To call Hicks honest is again incredibly accurate, but that's not what made him special. Committed... Fuck yeah, but again that's not it. The thing that made Hicks THE Greatest Stand-Up Comedian of All Time was that he was always, always just so, fucking, RIGHT. Hicks had an unerring ability to just see past the bullshit of humanity and realise that the truth of the universe was incredibly simple.
Good People Should Be Angry.
If you can take a serious look at the world we as a species have created for ourselves and not feel at least some rage then you are in all probability not a good person. Let me be clear constant rage is absolutely the worst idea for anyone who wants to have even the slightest quality of life but through the other side of that rage lies a kind of serenity. You see the way to change the world is to laugh in the face of its folly and try and make the world a little bit better. All of this I got from one Bill Hicks show. He grabbed my mind by it's lapels and kicked the shit out of it until I thought I couldn't take any more and then he rebuilt it not the same as it was before but slightly better. He did this not through violence or malice but with words and laughter.
He had already been dead for four years. Without the influence of this modern day prophet I wouldn't be who I am. That is what Bill Hicks means to me the man who would be my own personal Jesus Christ... if he wasn't the man who taught me to hate people who get turned into idols... because idols are a marketing guy's wet-dream.
Bill Hicks's legacy is currently be protected by those who knew him best, his family and his close friends... but one day they won't be around and his image will start to be exploited twisted and turned into something it wasn't meant to be and that'll be the day when the revolution starts... because that's what he would've wanted.
"The world is like a ride at an amusement park. And when you choose to go on it, you think that it's real because that's how powerful our minds are. And the ride goes up and down and round and round. 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. They say 'Hey! Don't worry, don't be afraid, ever, because, this is just a ride.' And we...kill those people. Ha ha ha. 'Shut him up! We have a lot invested in this ride. SHUT HIM UP! Look at my furrows of worry. Look at my big bank account and family. This just has to be real.' It's just a ride. But we always kill those good guys who try and tell us that, you ever notice that? And let the demons run amok. But it doesn't matter because: it's just a ride. And we can change it anytime 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 doors, buy guns, close yourselves off. The eyes of love, instead, see all of us as one. Here's what you can do to change the world, right now, to a better ride. Take all that money that we spend on weapons and defence each year, and instead spend it feeding, clothing and educating the poor of the world, which it would many times over, not one human being excluded, and we could explore space, together, both inner and outer, for ever, in peace."
Eddie <Bush wouldn't have gotten away with half that shit if Bill had still been with us>