Now that David Letterman has finally aired Bill Hicks’ censored 1993 appearance, I’ve noticed a lot of commenters on various sites, who didn’t find the Hicks routine all that brilliant.
1. It must be recognized that the Letterman routine was still sanitized Hicks, although what he felt was the closest to his true persona.
2. It is also time constrained Hicks
A number of commenters don’t see anything all that original about Bill’s gibes at Billy Ray Cyrus, Marky Mark, Michael Bolton etc. After all everyone does that now – Kathy Griffin, Chelsea Handler, even Letterman himself.
It has to be noted that in context Hicks wasn’t just going out and saying, “Billy Ray – boy he sucks.” The routine was part of a long term effort in which Hicks criticized the oncoming celebrity culture that we’ve seen explode in the past few years. He was offended by the mediocrity of most celebrities (he basically predicted Paris Hilton), and was offended that true artists were starving, while the new kings of celebrity culture further enriched themselves unnecessarily by hawking Diet Coke and Doritos. If you hear the entirety of Hicks’ work, you will see how truly omniscient Hicks was about where American culture was going.
It’s great that David Letterman finally aired Bill’s appearance, but his true persona needs to be heard on his records, and in the live video that remains of the unrestrained Bill Hicks.
I highly recommend the Outlaw Comic documentary that can be seen in seven parts on YouTube