Bill Hicks: Another Dead Hero

17 years ago last Saturday, we lost a man who I believe was one of the few true heroes of this age. It wasn’t that he was funny (he was), and it wasn’t because he pointed his finger at society and showed us what was truly important, or how ridiculous most of our lives truly are (he did). It was that he did both at the same time, with his finger raised high in the air at corporate power dons and a conservative establishment that tried to censor and mute him constantly.

Comedians like Dane Cook make me sad. Not because he riffs about puerile shit like a five-year-old off his Ritalin. It’s because he’s so extraordinarily popular. It staggers me that he’s held up as some kind of comedy icon, while a guy like Bill Hick suffered in obscurity for most of his tragically short life. It’s even worse when you consider that Bill has been dead for nearly 20 years and the stuff he talked about is still 100% relevant today. You think the same can be said of Mr Cook and his ilk?

Bill Hicks was a visionary, and a poet, and purveyor of hard truths. And I think about the fact that we don’t have him anymore, now when we so desperately need him, and it makes me want to cry. So I leave you with his closing words from the Revelations tour, in case you were ever wondering: What is the point to life?


About Misterkristoff

New York Times and Internationally Bestselling SciFi/Fantasy author, and master of drunken karaoke-fu. View all posts by Misterkristoff

5 responses to “Bill Hicks: Another Dead Hero

  • Sadhbh

    I watched his riff recently on the first Gulf War, and just wanted to cry. Or scream and throw things.
    Also, Bill Hicks is part of the reason why – despite being told by lecturers I was awesome at it and knowing myself I would be brilliant at it – I decided not to go after a career in marketing.

    • misterkristoff

      “Oooh, Bill’s going for that ‘anti-marketing’ dollar. Huge. HUGE market.”

      Always makes me laugh, because I used to work in advertising, and now work in marketing. Hmm, maybe I should go suck a tailpipe…


  • Tim

    “And I think about the fact that we don’t have him anymore, now when we so desperately need him, and it makes me want to cry.”

    Amen to that. I’ve heard this very sentiment from every one of the few people I know who really “got” Hicks (I hate that expression, but for convenience’s sake it’ll have to do), and I feel the same way. Nothing else has ever made me feel the strange combination of hope, rage, laughter and relief that Bill did – and it seems like it’d be easier to avoid getting dragged under by the world’s bullshit if he was still around to point it out and tear it to pieces.

    Though the two men were different breeds in many ways, I miss Thompson for a lot of the same reasons, and feel like the world needs his weird mark on it now more than ever.

    God damn I miss them both. The world’s a smaller, dirtier place without them.

  • Vlad

    Bill has been dead for nearly 20 years and the stuff he talked about is still 100% relevant today.
    I too miss this man for his unmatched daring and truthfulness. I discovered him last spring and was thrilled by his performances, I had gone through an hour-something of loving this person before I understood he had died– and cried out .. People who “got” him will keep his spirit in their hearts for the longest of times.
    A bow also to George Carlin; I’ll look into Thompson soon too.

    • misterkristoff

      I love George too, though he seemed to become extraordinarily bitter in the later stages of his career. I guess that’s going to happen to anyone though, if they’re as awake as he was.

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