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It's Just a Ride!
January 30, 2009 6:51 PM   Subscribe

On October 1, 1993, Bill Hicks was scheduled to appear on The Late Show with David Letterman for the twelfth time, but his entire performance was removed from the broadcast -- the only occasion, up to that point, in which a comedian's entire routine had been cut after taping. It will be shown for the very first time on David Letterman tonight and Bill Hicks' mother will be the guest. Derbs. Your question has an answer.
posted by KevinSkomsvold (163 comments total) 45 users marked this as a favorite

 
holy freakin awesome hell
posted by arcanecrowbar at 6:54 PM on January 30, 2009


So his mother got over finding that porn wing he'd been adding to for years, then, I take it.
posted by Dumsnill at 6:56 PM on January 30, 2009 [7 favorites]


So his mother got over finding that porn wing he'd been adding to for years, then, I take it.

Ha! I was listening to that routine just last night. That and "hairy bobbin' man-ass."
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 7:00 PM on January 30, 2009


.... now here's Tom with the weather
posted by mannequito at 7:00 PM on January 30, 2009 [2 favorites]


Hey this is incredible. Thanks for posting about it.
posted by xmutex at 7:03 PM on January 30, 2009


Haven't watched Letterman for ages. Maybe this is a good enough excuse.
posted by krinklyfig at 7:06 PM on January 30, 2009


Never thought I'd set my TiVo to record Letterman, but there you are.
posted by davejay at 7:36 PM on January 30, 2009


This is great - thanks for the alert.
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 7:37 PM on January 30, 2009


Would love to see this, maybe someone could upload it to the internets please.
posted by Samuel Farrow at 7:47 PM on January 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


Found at this link...

Russell Crowe might play Hicks in a movie.

This simply cannot happen. EVER.
posted by orme at 7:48 PM on January 30, 2009 [10 favorites]


Sam Farrow, I think the beauty in having this go down now is that it can't helped be captured and uploaded and shared forever.
posted by Liver at 7:49 PM on January 30, 2009


Way exciting. Too bad Bill's not around to see it.
posted by cjorgensen at 8:14 PM on January 30, 2009


thanks for the head's up.
posted by ms.jones at 8:15 PM on January 30, 2009


Outside of the "justice better late than never" feeling I predict most of you will be disappointed in Hicks routine.

I just watched some of his stuff a couple weeks ago. I remember back in late eighties thinking he was edgy and hilarious. But on recent viewing it was extremely tame, dated, and mildly obnoxious.
posted by tkchrist at 8:26 PM on January 30, 2009 [3 favorites]


I was trying to decide about going to bed, or staying up a bit longer. Thought I'd come into MetaFilter, just to delay the decision. Guess I'm staying up a bit longer.
posted by MrMoonPie at 8:27 PM on January 30, 2009


Is there anyplace I can watch it online? No tv... this is the first time in a long while that I've wanted one too.
posted by diocletian at 8:36 PM on January 30, 2009


Outside of the "justice better late than never" feeling I predict most of you will be disappointed in Hicks routine.

On the internet? That will surely make two firsts in one night!
posted by Cyrano at 8:44 PM on January 30, 2009


Holy crap, thanks for the heads up. Recording now.
posted by intermod at 8:48 PM on January 30, 2009


brilliant ratings coup on this get, too.
posted by Fupped Duck at 8:51 PM on January 30, 2009


Way exciting. Too bad Bill's not around to see it.

He would have died of rage the moment Bush was elected, knowing what was to come.
posted by Astro Zombie at 8:52 PM on January 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


Dave is saying he's sorry and it's an error in judgment that he pulled it from the show.
posted by marble at 8:57 PM on January 30, 2009


Way to go Dave!
posted by spilon at 8:59 PM on January 30, 2009


Maybe this means Jay Leno will blow his brains out on his next show.
posted by tapeguy at 9:01 PM on January 30, 2009 [11 favorites]


Wow, watching it now, she really reminds me of my mom, and how sad she'd be if I died, and how sad she is that my dad died.
posted by MrMoonPie at 9:08 PM on January 30, 2009 [2 favorites]


As much as I love Bill Hicks, it's probably for the best that he died when he did. If he continued on the trajectory he took for the last couple of years of his life then today he'd be best known as that preachy comedian who writes about our reptilian overlords on rense.com and insists that promoters pay him only in Ron Paul dollars.
posted by bunnytricks at 9:11 PM on January 30, 2009 [2 favorites]


Bill Hicks' mom is awesome, and that interview nearly broke my heart. You can see where Bill both got his sense of humor and willingness to confront.
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:13 PM on January 30, 2009


As much as I love Bill Hicks, it's probably for the best that he died when he did. If he continued on the trajectory he took for the last couple of years of his life then today he'd be best known as that preachy comedian who writes about our reptilian overlords on rense.com and insists that promoters pay him only in Ron Paul dollars.

All that would be forgivable if it would mean preventing "comedians" like Denis Leary from ever being noticed.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 9:18 PM on January 30, 2009 [11 favorites]


I think Dave was laying it on a little thick.
posted by sswiller at 9:22 PM on January 30, 2009


Wow.
posted by vibrotronica at 9:23 PM on January 30, 2009


I thought that was really nice. Is there anything Obama can't do?
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:23 PM on January 30, 2009 [8 favorites]


sswiller: I think Dave was laying it on a little thick.

No kidding, I got the impression that it had as much to do with clearing his conscience as airing this routine. Seeing the clip, I know I've heard a lot of that material before.

Marisa Stole the Precious Thing:All that would be forgivable if it would mean preventing "comedians" like Denis Leary from ever being noticed.

Oh yeah, thats probably where I heard it.
posted by dr_dank at 9:26 PM on January 30, 2009


Did Dave not like the hunting bit maybe?
posted by starman at 9:26 PM on January 30, 2009


That was pretty great. So...human. I don't know, it reminds me of Craig Ferguson's very serious "Good luck in rehab" monologue directed to Courtney Love
posted by MrMoonPie at 9:28 PM on January 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


My mom called me and told me about it a few minutes ago, but I don't have TV. *crosses fingers for high-quality upload*
posted by Pope Guilty at 9:41 PM on January 30, 2009


Did Dave not like the hunting bit maybe?

The way I heard it was that Hicks did jokes that were critical of the pro-life movement, who were advertising on the same show he was to appear on.
posted by Pope Guilty at 9:41 PM on January 30, 2009


Seeing the clip, I know I've heard a lot of that material before.

I've heard most of that before, too, from old bootlegs of Hicks's routines. Still, it was probably shocking to hear them on television. And think about the world in 1993. Dave was new to the network, he'd just had his hat handed to him by NBC, he wanted CBS to think he was worth the bucks. He invites an old favorite on the show and the guy does his routine. But something is different. Dave is different.

Looking back, it probably seems like a chickenshit move, but Dave today is not Dave back then, and Dave back then had just stopped being the Dave he was a year before. If I'd have been Dave back in 1993, I'd have probably pulled it, too. 1980's Dave, though. He'd have had the balls.
posted by ColdChef at 9:41 PM on January 30, 2009 [5 favorites]


Oh, yeah--thanks, KevinSkomsvold.
posted by MrMoonPie at 9:50 PM on January 30, 2009


Fuck yeah. I'm looking forward to it on the West Coast.
posted by Pronoiac at 10:00 PM on January 30, 2009


Oh man, I missed the airing. Bill Hicks was the first audio I got to listen to via the internet, and I dove into his website, hard.
posted by not_on_display at 10:04 PM on January 30, 2009


From "Love All the People" (pg. 267) (Bill Hick's letter to John Lahr about the Letterman incident).
And now, the final irony. One of the 'Hot Points' that was brought up as being 'unsuitable for our audience' was my joke about pro-lifers. My brilliant friend Andy posited the theory that this was really what bothered and scared the network the most, seeing as how the 'pro-life' movement has become essentially a terrorist group acting with impunity and God on their side, in a country where the reasonable majority overwhelmingly supports freedom of choice regarding abortion. I felt there was something to this theory, but still I was surprised to be watching the Letterman show (I'm still a fan) the Monday night following my censored Friday night performance, and lo and behold, they cut to a...are you ready for this?...A pro-life commercial! This force is now completed. 'Follow the money'.
posted by null terminated at 10:31 PM on January 30, 2009 [7 favorites]


So how was it?
posted by Pope Guilty at 10:32 PM on January 30, 2009


I got the impression that it had as much to do with clearing his conscience as airing this routine.

Of course we can't know his full motivation, but this could be likely. I remember seeing a documentary about Hicks, and Letterman, in a rare interview, talked about Hicks' death, and mentioned that the last time he was on before he died, they had to cut the whole routine because he did material that that was not what they agreed on. In my (possibly faulty) memory, it seemed like Letterman was pissed that Hicks didn't so the agreed upon material, which is understandable, regardless of the actual content. Letterman then said he was "sorry it ended that way" or something similar.

So, yeah, maybe so. (I missed the show, though. Hopefully it will be online somewhere.)
posted by Fuzzy Skinner at 11:05 PM on January 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


This appears to be the same routine.



Dave's got class, you have to give him that. I mean it's probably been eating at him all these years. Hopefully a torrent of dave's show will appear soon.
posted by Catblack at 11:05 PM on January 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


I just watched some of his stuff a couple weeks ago. I remember back in late eighties thinking he was edgy and hilarious. But on recent viewing it was extremely tame, dated, and mildly obnoxious.

I truly cannot take you seriously anymore.
posted by flotson at 11:18 PM on January 30, 2009


From a comment under the video in Catblack's link: clip of tonight's David Letterman segment with the Bill Hicks routine.
posted by Ira_ at 11:32 PM on January 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


Thanks for the heads up.
posted by homunculus at 11:40 PM on January 30, 2009


Ira_ clip not available in the US.

A comment on the routine though -- I ain't pro-life, but I'd have gladly linked arms at the cemetary to keep Bill Hicks alive.

He would have made a damn funny zombie.
posted by Catblack at 11:44 PM on January 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


Oh, and don't forget this from the Kleptones: Last Words (A Tribute)

It's just a ride, people. Just a ride.
posted by Catblack at 11:52 PM on January 30, 2009 [2 favorites]


Catblack: Try this?
posted by Ira_ at 11:56 PM on January 30, 2009


This looks like the first part of a longer clip.
posted by Ira_ at 11:57 PM on January 30, 2009


Yeah. Zombie Bill Hicks would definitely smoke.

"I don't want my sense of smell back!"

It's on.
posted by Pronoiac at 12:14 AM on January 31, 2009


part 2
posted by rageagainsttherobots at 12:17 AM on January 31, 2009


Does anyone else hear an incredible guilt and sadness coming off Dave, especially in the first clip?
posted by Pope Guilty at 12:21 AM on January 31, 2009 [4 favorites]


"I was in Australia over Easter, and they celebrate the same way we do, by telling their children that a giant bunny rabbit left chocolate eggs in the night. Why not say goldfish left Lincoln Logs in your sock drawer? As long as you're making stuff up, just go hog wild!"
posted by mattdidthat at 12:31 AM on January 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


I thought this would be necrophiliac pandering.

It was not. Thanks.
posted by OrangeDrink at 12:31 AM on January 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


This should be the whole thing: 1 2 3
posted by Ira_ at 12:31 AM on January 31, 2009 [8 favorites]


That wasn't very interesting or funny. Why are people such advocates for him? Other than the cult of dead celebrities thing, I mean.
posted by pracowity at 12:39 AM on January 31, 2009


I got the impression that it had as much to do with clearing his conscience as airing this routine.

Well...yeah. I don't think he could have said it more plainly. Agreed that this makes Dave (more of?) a real class act. While we're on the subject of heavy interviews, just wanna make sure everyone has seen Warren Zevon's amazing final appearance.
posted by Roman Graves at 12:46 AM on January 31, 2009 [6 favorites]


That wasn't very interesting or funny. Why are people such advocates for him? Other than the cult of dead celebrities thing, I mean.

Understand that you're getting the suitable for television audiences version.
posted by Pope Guilty at 12:51 AM on January 31, 2009 [2 favorites]


Incidentally, Craig Ferguson is awesome.

"Mommy! A goldfish left a lincoln log in my drawer!"
"And that's the story of Easter."
posted by Pronoiac at 12:57 AM on January 31, 2009


I usually always watch Letterman, but this will be a great excuse to miss it.
posted by turgid dahlia at 1:02 AM on January 31, 2009


Just watched it - all material that's already available, but a really great, provocative selection of bits. And such a cool, decent thing thing for Dave to do. Unless of course this is tied to some upcoming biopic or can otherwise be interpreted cynically . . . but I think this was sincere.

That wasn't very interesting or funny. Why are people such advocates for him? Other than the cult of dead celebrities thing, I mean.

There is certainly a Bill Hicks demographic who will identify a lot more with his comedy, and some of the references are a little dated now. But the Easter routine wasn't funny? The blocking graveyards bit? Ah well, comedy is really subjective.
posted by arcanecrowbar at 1:06 AM on January 31, 2009 [1 favorite]



The way I heard it was that Hicks did jokes that were critical of the pro-life movement, who were advertising on the same show he was to appear on.


******************************************************************************

And now, the final irony. One of the 'Hot Points' that was brought up as being 'unsuitable for our audience' was my joke about pro-lifers. My brilliant friend Andy posited the theory that this was really what bothered and scared the network the most...



*music* .. Sucking Satan's pecker...
posted by louche mustachio at 1:28 AM on January 31, 2009 [2 favorites]


Does anyone else hear an incredible guilt and sadness coming off Dave, especially in the first clip?

Who would want to sit there in front of a large national television audience and discuss how yes, I really did something stupid? (Even though, as ColdChef astutely says, the times were different back then, Dave had just gotten his new job, and he thought he had good reason[s] to do so.) He also probably feels bad because he had no idea at the time that Hicks was dying. Pretty classy of him to even bring the subject up again, and deal with it.

As for the routine, I think it's fine (also very funny) to harass pro-lifers and the religious, but that talking about hunting and killing specific celebrities is offensive, and maybe what caused Dave to pull the plug on the routine.

People are known to be insane about celebrities, something that Letterman knows well, what with the woman who kept breaking into his home, stealing his car, etc., back before she committed suicide by kneeling in front of a coal train. Also the more recent guy who supposedly plotted to kidnap his son.
posted by LeLiLo at 1:31 AM on January 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


Barn: Closure, after all these years, for Bill Hicks

But has the horse already bolted?
posted by L.P. Hatecraft at 1:36 AM on January 31, 2009


Dave's got class, you have to give him that.

Not really. If he'd done it while Bush was in the White House I might have granted you that. Waiting until he senses that there's been a seismic power shift and a change in the political mood of the country just smacks of rank opportunism and insincerity.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 1:36 AM on January 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


At least Hicks was spared the knowledge that Billy Ray Cyrus' spawn would become a huge preteen cable sensation and money-printing machine for her worthless douchenozzle father and the corporate behemoth that owned their paltry souls.


lucky bastard.
posted by maryh at 2:04 AM on January 31, 2009 [5 favorites]


That wasn't very interesting or funny. Why are people such advocates for him? Other than the cult of dead celebrities thing, I mean.

As someone mentioned earlier, there's definitely the "suitable for tv version" effect taking place here, but there's SO much more to Hicks' material (and his life) than a 15-minute, barely-tv-acceptable routine.

(understand, in advance, that I'm a stand-up comedian so this is an incredibly biased look at what he did)

To understand Bill Hicks, and his material, is to understand that he said what he really felt - even at the expense of what you might call social martyrdom. He saw through the trends, the hypocrisy, the lies all around us and while most comics (myself included) try to point out these things as social commentators -- we put a little icing on it. So it doesn't sting so much. So people don't feel awkward. They feel entertained. "ahh.. that's so true! ha ha!". In the writing stage, the bits look really angry, but by the time they come out of your mouth on-stage, it's watered down quite a bit. You're just not ready to make people feel that uncomfortable about these things going on around them.

Hicks, especially towards his later years, put it out raw. He got in your face, he would head off on loud, angry tangents, make gunshot noises and "sucking satan's cock" sounds loudly into the mic, scream and run around and.. frankly, you'd rarely hear more than a few scattered (and likely uncomfortable) laughs after each tirade.

You could kinda see it even in the material shown tonight, right outta the gate. Feel free to show me any other comedian who's been on a late night talk show telling detailed bits about hunting down and killing mediocre celebrities on national tv.

Take this video as an example of what I mean. Some drunk lady says "you suck" during a brief moment of near-quiet and he just loses it. You could go to 100 comedy clubs to see 1000 different comics, yelling "you suck" at each one, and you'd never get that kind of angry response from a comic. Inside, of course, they all WANT to do that. But.. you just "can't do that" as a comedian. Bill Hicks didn't give a fuck.

During that same performance, mere moments later, one man yells "freebird" and the entire audience feels the wrath of Hicks. The line "Hitler had the right idea, but he was an underachiever!" yelled, while on his knees after calling every member of the audience "a worthless idiot out to ruin everything beautiful in the world", well... it's offensive, yeah. But, it comes from a man who would later have his final Letterman set cut for its content and years later the whole country was laughing at his jokes coming from not him. A lifetime of work, ripped from him wholesale. Ironic, really, when you consider how much he hated kitschy hacks and then one came along and made him look like a kitschy hack by doing his material kitschier and hackier.

His honesty and style weren't just being used for screaming tirades, though. Sometimes he'd hunker down and give you beautiful poetry. just a ride is a perfect example of this. It still sends chills down my spine when I hear it.

It's important, in the arts/entertainment, to have the outliers. The ones who push the proverbial envelope further than it maybe should be pushed. Say what you will about GG Allin (I'm not particularly a fan, myself) but once you learn of him, you now have a reference for where "the line" is. You don't need to sit and postulate "well, what IF someone just screamed into a mic for 45 minutes straight and shit on the stage and smashed bottles on their head and just passed out, bleeding on the stage?". We have an answer to that, now.

So, that's what Bill Hicks represents to many people. A raw, rough-edged, screaming reminder of the world around us that we all try to ignore. As no good deed goes unpunished, Hicks became a kind of social martyr for it. One man who could say "I'm gonna tell 'em what's going on, and I don't give a fuck if they're uncomfortable".

And if we ever find a way to bring back the dead - someone better sit him in front of an abridged version of the American history he's missed out on and then fuckin' mic him up.
posted by revmitcz at 2:04 AM on January 31, 2009 [67 favorites]


I like the sketches where he talks about how awesome he is at sex and how he'd totally fuck up a virginal young girl with his debased sex skills. Goat Boy or something. What utter pish.
posted by Cantdosleepy at 2:16 AM on January 31, 2009 [2 favorites]


Yeah, Cantdosleepy. I've been a massive Hicks fan since well before the man's death, and I still find the Goat Boy material to be painfully unfunny. I kind of get what he was going for, but damn.
posted by Optamystic at 2:25 AM on January 31, 2009


You don't like Goat Boy? :(
posted by CautionToTheWind at 3:05 AM on January 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


meh. bill hicks isn't nearly as insightful or brave as some here make him out to be. he's just another cranky working-class everyman from the suburbs who has a gripe about everything. none of his opinions are earthshattering, none are terribly unique, they are just told with a lot of outrage. he's like lewis black - funny for a moment but then you just want him to go away with his repetitive shtick.

hicks career, were he alive today, would have gone parallel to that of andrew 'dice' clay.
posted by krautland at 3:29 AM on January 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


the whole country was laughing at his jokes coming from not him . A lifetime of work, ripped from him wholesale.

Your claim is not very well-supported by your evidence.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:20 AM on January 31, 2009


bill hicks isn't nearly as insightful or brave as some here make him out to be. he's just another cranky working-class everyman from the suburbs who has a gripe about everything. none of his opinions are earthshattering, none are terribly unique


Bill Hicks not being insightful.


Bill Hicks not having a clue.

Bill Hicks talking about working class values in the suburbs.

Last link, by the way, is from one of his last shows, before he DIED OF CANCER at AGE 32. He was fully aware that he was dying, but decided to tell CLOSE TO NOONE and still go out and perform shows as best as he could.

Not "brave?"

Opinions and assholes. And you have both.
posted by gcbv at 5:22 AM on January 31, 2009 [8 favorites]


I love Bill. Thanks for letting us know about this. It was great. I so hope he's right about Heaven!
posted by Gisela at 5:24 AM on January 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


pracowity: That wasn't very interesting or funny. Why are people such advocates for him? Other than the cult of dead celebrities thing, I mean.

He makes me laugh very, very hard.
posted by Kattullus at 6:04 AM on January 31, 2009


Why are people such advocates for him?

For me, it was an nth-generation bootleg vhs tape of Bill Hicks in some dive bar in Tennessee or somewhere. He starts off by winding up the heavily smoking crowd about the complete idiocy of smoking, sneering and insulting them so much that you very soon feel the hatred coming at him from the seats. It starts to get menacing, really, and you start to wonder just how insane this comedian is. Then, he pushes it even further, bringing the audience to the point of physical threat, and just as you think he's going to have to run from a barrage of chairs...

He lights up a cigarette, takes a long drag and goes, "Aaaaaaaaah." And means it.

It's a brilliant, dangerous, shocking and ultimately hilarious bit, with the residue of the recent hate - honestly, it was pure hate - hanging in the air to heighten and sharpen everything he says for the rest of the set. One of my fave comedy moments ever, perfectly played. I've said this before here, but it's true a lot of his stuff doesn't date well, particularly since, as revmitcz notes, we've had years of other folks jumping off from where Hicks left off. But at the time it was explosive stuff. When I hear Louis CK go on hilariously about what assholes kids are, I remember Bill Hicks' brilliant rant about the miracle of childbirth and trailer park moms plopping out babies by the dozen - "thppbt! whoops, there's another little miracle" - and see a definite link. I think Hicks' influence in comedy is similar to the influence of Big Star or the VU in music - the mainstream never got them, but everyone who did got it deep, and many of them went on to form their own bands.
posted by mediareport at 6:35 AM on January 31, 2009 [10 favorites]


DAMN. I missed this. Off to the YouTube.

Much of the last eight years for me has been one big wish that Bill was still around.
posted by threeturtles at 7:05 AM on January 31, 2009


Bill Hicks was an [im]pure nugget of the inner soul of this thing we call humanity.

Those of you who can sense this already know the greatness of the man. He was fragile, funny and right on the money. At the time that he was performing, other comedians looked at him with a mixture of envy and fear - you would dread having to go on after him. He was a GOD amongst his own kind. He was a prophet who wrapped his insights in comedic irony.

Those of you who don't get him, well, you'll always have Carrot Top and Everybody Loves Raymond. Enjoy. Meanhile, Bill is smoking a joint with Lenny Bruce, Sam Kinison and Rodney Dangerfield, and they're watching Reagan suck Saddam's pecker.

We miss you, Bill, and yeah, the morons are still taking over the planet.
posted by dbiedny at 7:11 AM on January 31, 2009 [2 favorites]


Ah, this is another part of the "David Letterman No Longer Cares What Anyone Thinks Of Him " trend. It's been slightly amazing to watch.
posted by The Whelk at 7:20 AM on January 31, 2009 [3 favorites]


This is Letterman's class act, period. And I say this as someone who hasn't found Letterman funny since, I guess, back when Hicks was still alive. Letterman didn't really need to do this, and his repeated apologies sound sincere. Bill's mom seemed happy, and that accounts for something. We cannot go back in time, but we can make small amends, and that's what Letterman tried to do here. I respect him a lot more for this.

Re: Bill Hicks, well, a lot of us still miss him a lot, missed him especially over these last long eight years.

"You applaudin' me starting or stopping?". Fuck I miss him.
posted by matteo at 7:21 AM on January 31, 2009 [7 favorites]


And by the way, did you see how Bill's mom doesn't try to pretend Letterman'd decision didn't hurt them, but she is not bitter or rude or passive aggressive about it? She just tells like it is. She's a lady who had to bury her son after having to watch him die -- the kind of crushing, unimaginable sorrow the Greeks used to write about; and she kept her grace about all this. I hug her.
posted by matteo at 7:29 AM on January 31, 2009 [6 favorites]


But the Easter routine wasn't funny?

I thought that was the solitary low point. "What's with these crazy fertility symbols, so close to the vernal equinox!?" He's approaching Andy Rooney on the curve of facile literalism. "And what's with those kooky Muslims, always facing east? I, Joe Everyman, am baffled by this conduct!"

posted by kid ichorous at 7:29 AM on January 31, 2009


pracowity: That wasn't very interesting or funny. Why are people such advocates for him? Other than the cult of dead celebrities thing, I mean.

Props to Letterman for coming clean on this one, but it has to be said: this performance does not do Hicks justice. At his peak, he was incandescent, dangerous and very, very funny.

Newcomers and naysayers should check out Bill - still searingly, brutally relevant - on the whys and wherefores of war in Iraq.

threeturtles: Much of the last eight years for me has been one big wish that Bill was still around.

Couldn't agree more. The man would have had a field day, but you know what they say about those whom the gods love.
posted by Elizabeth the Thirteenth at 7:38 AM on January 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


gcbv: jeez, those links were awesome. I fell off my chair laughing. no wait, strike all that. hicks blows and so do you. even though he died of cancer, what a badge of honor. surely someone dying of cancer must be brilliant.
posted by krautland at 7:39 AM on January 31, 2009


Here's some weird symmetry for you: Four Youtube videos of an interview conducted by the DJ/comic arguably responsible for the "Freebird" meme. The interview takes place at the same Chicago club (The Funny Firm) where the Hicks rant occurred that revmitcz linked to.
posted by SteveInMaine at 7:48 AM on January 31, 2009 [2 favorites]


Krautland, are you Denis Leary?
posted by gcbv at 7:52 AM on January 31, 2009 [10 favorites]


The old joke sums it up pretty well:

Q: Why is Denis Leary a star while the public barely knew Bill Hicks?
A: There's no cure for cancer.
posted by dr_dank at 8:15 AM on January 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


DAMN. I missed this. Off to the YouTube.

It's on CBS's site.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 8:33 AM on January 31, 2009


Yes, you've made your point, krautland, you don't think he's funny. Bravo.

But you want to know what I like about him? He raged at mediocrity and the way mediocrity was sold to the masses. He despised it. He genuinely believed in the transformative power of great art, and genuinely believed that he was living in a time when really good work was being passed over in favor of nonsense, because nonsense is inoffensive and sells well and is easy to sell, and that makes us smaller and meaner and stupider. He didn't want to hunt down Billy Ray Cyrus because he liked the idea of killing a country star; he wanted to hunt him down because the man made such dreadful music and yet was so popular that Bill couldn't stand it. He turned his anger into dark, grisly fantasies which can be quite alienating, and he let these loose on the American people without caring whether they found it funny or not, or if they got it or not, because he wasn't interested in pandering.

Bill Hicks didn't care whether you found him funny or not, Krautland. Why should we?
posted by Astro Zombie at 8:34 AM on January 31, 2009 [5 favorites]


Krautland, are you Denis Leary?
no. you on the other hand, dearest gcbv, are a fanboy.
posted by krautland at 8:34 AM on January 31, 2009


... but I get a blank screen and a voice saying "This content is currently unavailable".

Maybe someone else will have better luck.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 8:35 AM on January 31, 2009


no. you on the other hand, dearest gcbv, are a fanboy.

Heavens to Betsy, not a FANBOY! That's pretty edgy. I think you may have crossed a line there.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 8:36 AM on January 31, 2009


talking about hunting and killing specific celebrities is offensive

And god forbid comedy should ever be offensive!

Hicks was a genius, and like most comic geniuses got less funny and more ranty the more he saw of life. (I'm not using "ranty" as a putdown, just being descriptive.) Mark Twain is the classic example; by the time the Philippine War came along, he was so pissed at his country and humanity in general his humor had vanished into a black hole. Lenny Bruce is another. Who can blame them? Black humor gets blacker and blacker, and then boom, you're in the black hole, talking about how everything sucks. Enjoy the great ones while they're in their prime and support them afterwards, because they have earned your support. That smoking routine mediareport describes is not only brilliant but dangerous (the word "edgy" gets thrown around way too much, but this deserves it); I wish I'd been there, but just knowing about it warms the grim cockles of my tough old heart.

But I have to agree with kid ichorous about the Easter routine. Low-hanging fruit, grade-school humor.
posted by languagehat at 8:36 AM on January 31, 2009 [3 favorites]


Why all the heckling of hicks anyway? I don't go where you work and knock the broom out of your mouth.
posted by Astro Zombie at 8:41 AM on January 31, 2009 [2 favorites]


Wait a minute, somethings slapping my ass...HEY! He's fuckin us!
posted by Sailormom at 8:43 AM on January 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


I agree that it's classless to go into a thread that's celebrant about Celebrity X just to take a spiteful little dump in it.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 8:45 AM on January 31, 2009


threeturtles: While I would have wanted him around to help *me* get through the last 8 years, I'm pretty sure it would have killed him to actually be around. The absurdity of it all was overwhelming to me, and I'm a bit dense.
posted by parilous at 8:46 AM on January 31, 2009


I'm pretty sure Krautland works in advertising or marketing.
posted by Sailormom at 8:47 AM on January 31, 2009 [6 favorites]


Beautiful. Thanks everyone.
posted by Football Bat at 8:50 AM on January 31, 2009


I'm pretty sure Krautland works in advertising or marketing.
because hicks bores me?
posted by krautland at 9:09 AM on January 31, 2009


It's best to watch the three YouTube links than the CBS version as CBS cuts out a lot of the talk with Mary Hicks, Bill's mom. (I thought it was funny that Dave & Co. didn't know who Eric Johnson was.)

Contrary to other opinions, I didn't think that Dave laid it on too thick. I think he needed to pay his penance and make amends, and because so much of what he says is tinted with snark and sarcasm, he needed people to know that he was being sincere.

Also, Dave was apologizing to Bill's MOM for basically giving Bill the Big Brush Off, a mere 4 months before Bill's death. It seemed that Bill really took it personally that Dave would censor him. The long letter to the New Yorker about the incident? Bringing up the censorship in interviews? His bitterness wasn't as easily concealed as the hurt. And he would have been doing all of that while living at his parents' home, around his mom.

So, Dave's apologies weren't "too much". They could only serve to bring closure to the incident (as much as possible) and ease some of the guilt Dave feels from selling out a friend.
posted by parilous at 9:11 AM on January 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


-I'm pretty sure Krautland works in advertising or marketing.

-because hicks bores me?


No, but probably because the pointless thread-crapping is on par with a telemarketer's call at dinner time.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 9:25 AM on January 31, 2009 [10 favorites]


And if we ever find a way to bring back the dead - someone better sit him in front of an abridged version of the American history he's missed out on and then fuckin' mic him up.

posted by revmitcz at 5:04 AM on January 31

FUCKING STANDING OVATION!
posted by liza at 9:29 AM on January 31, 2009


His comedy is really based on a gnostic world view, it's like something from another era. He believes that the world around him is false -- I think in both an abstract sense and a literal sense. The 'It's just a ride' bit is kind of a 40,000 foot view of it, but over and over in his comedy, he talks about how reality is constructed -- by the media, by politicians, by marketers, by clergy, by our own consciousness.

You get the sense that he's endlessly disappointed in other people, that they can't see through the bullshit, and see the reality that's underneath it all. Which, btw, is not necessarily a pleasant reality. That life is a dream, it's all imaginary, that beneath all our pretensions, we're just Goat Boy, animals wearing suits, pretending to be angels.

And yet he talks about love, after doing a bit about asking marketers to kill themselves, or about hunting down and shooting celebrities. But for him, love was only possible once you stripped away the veil of illusion... and what would be left of us after that?

"A choice, right now, between fear and love. The eyes of fear want you to put bigger locks on your doors, buy guns, close yourself off. The eyes of love, instead, see all of us as one."

I think for Hicks, love isn't possible without knowledge, and I think, maybe, that's what his act is about. Showing people the ugly, naked truth about each other, and then asking them to love each other anyway.

Bill Hicks's comedy worked the same mine that the Matrix did, and that Phillip K Dick did, and that most of the great philosophers did, and that's why it's persisted when almost nobody watches any other comics from the 90s now. He's talking about eternal questions in his comedy, and even when the contemporary references are no longer relevant, the philosophical core of it will always be.

I don't think he was a prophet, or perfect or anything, but he was reaching for something a little bit bigger than 'stand-up comedy', and he deserves credit for that. There hasn't been anyone like him since.
posted by empath at 9:29 AM on January 31, 2009 [43 favorites]


Btw, watching individual bits doesn't do him justice. You really should watch "It's Just a Ride" in its entirety if you can. It's a tour de force. Just mindblowing, taken as a whole. In pieces, it doesn't work as well.
posted by empath at 9:31 AM on January 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


Actually, I'm sorry, it's called Revelations.
posted by empath at 9:32 AM on January 31, 2009 [4 favorites]


I'd never heard of Bil Hicks before. I thought the first couple of bits were kind of dumb and unfunny (killing celebs and dance floor bit) and didn't expect to enjoy the rest, but suddenly I found myself really laughing aloud - for the first time in, well, about two months. (It's been a rough two months.) So thanks, Bill Hicks, whoever you were. I'll have to look up more of you.
posted by frobozz at 9:51 AM on January 31, 2009 [2 favorites]


Bill Hicks honestly distilled my religious philosophy into one quote. (Please note: I am not now, nor have I ever been, on acid. Though really, sometimes it feels like it.)

"Today, a young man on acid realized that all matter is merely energy condensed to a slow vibration; that we are all one consciousness experiencing itself subjectively, there's no such thing as death, life is only a dream, and we're the imagination of ourselves."
posted by grapefruitmoon at 9:54 AM on January 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


A couple of years ago I laid down to go to sleep with my iPod and just I was drifting off, some Bill Hicks I had downloaded started playing. It was the bit about Jay Leno doing himself in with an Uzi after having to interview Joey Lawrence on his show. I went from near-sleep to a fit of convulsive laughter and my wife, who was sleeping next to me, thought I was having a seizure. I had to get up and leave the room. I sat in my living room enjoying the rest of it.

Sure some of his stuff is dated but I've managed to mentally replace the names of yesterday with the names of today and it is still relevant. If anyone has a chance to hear his "Flying Saucer Tour" release, it is Bill at his sinewy, visceral best. He's all over the map and can't get the funny out fast enough.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 10:07 AM on January 31, 2009


empath, that was awesome.
posted by kid ichorous at 10:12 AM on January 31, 2009


empath - well done. You explained Bill perfectly. Man, I miss him.
posted by davebush at 10:13 AM on January 31, 2009


Krautland also wants to remind you to watch the new season of Rescue Me, premiering in April on FX. Check your local listings for time and channel!
posted by dr_dank at 10:22 AM on January 31, 2009 [2 favorites]


one man yells "freebird" and the entire audience feels the wrath of Hicks.

Kevin Fucking Mathews.
posted by Bonzai at 10:28 AM on January 31, 2009


i am in tears watching all these clips. i am pretty sure Bill wouldn't have killed himself during these 8 years as an act of defiance but it would have definitely taken a toll on his soul.

grock knows it has done to mine.

In 2000 i gave birth to my second son and shortly thereafter Bush stole the elections. 2001 was a big old WHAT THE FUCKING HELL THIS HAS GOT TO BE A DREAM and then September 11 happened

I remember waking up in a cold sweat one night sometime in December, screaming how could this be happening and how come people were moving on to doing what they had been doing every day up until September 10th. This after months of trying to explain to my oldest that what he had witnessed with me on our rooftop was (with a very repressed maybe just maybe) not going to happen to us next.

I started blogging out the pure sheer rage and hopelessness that my neighbors didn't want to see what was plainly right in front of them : fucking neo-cons ready to rape the country and blow some ah-rabs in the process of taking care of their own goddamn bottom line. Patriotism my fucking ass.

And I found back in 2001 a handful of other nerds not geeking out on technology but raging at the machine too. And it was hard not find one of us not liking Bill Hicks. Actually, I once told my peep, the late Steve Gilliard, that he was the black Bill Hicks of the blogosphere. He loved it :D

I am not worthy of fucking licking the boots of Bill Hicks but "Revelations" has been one of those performances that I have gone back to over and over again to keep myself sane through all the insanity happening around us. It is a revelation. It is an inspiration. It does bring joy and comfort to the raging pinko commie leftist in me who can't fuck the shut up about the woes of the world. It's the kind of balm that reminds me why what I do is important at least as an example to my kids. The political activism, the volunteering, the being engaged and attentive and involved.

My friends, neighbors and about 40K other people monthly read my blogs and follow not just me but my co-bloggers and I have people like Bill Hicks to thank. They haven't brought us fame or fortune but when I get a thank you from a mom on a playground or a teenage kid, or a politician screaming at us or a black or Puerto Rican teenage girl from the hood saying " I want to write like you", I know that our work is not in vain.

In greek the word DEAMONS are "supernatural beings between mortals and gods, such as inferior divinities and ghosts of dead heroes". They are not so much fallen angels but either deities seeking true knowledge by becoming more human or humans seeking immortality by achieving impossible feats of courage. Mischief and mayhem is what happens when deities and mortals cross the line in search for that other truth that is supposed to be denied to them. Yet mischief and mayhem is a by-product of hubris and for that reason, a necessity.

Bill Hicks was in the classic and mundane sense of a word a DEAMON. He lit up knowledge and spread mischief while trying to overcome the temporality of his being and reach immortality.

You may not get his work or his style, but it's really hard not to acknowledge his greatness. His influence is just too great on too many performers and pundits (Olbermann, anyone?) to dismiss Hicks as just a hillbilly hack.

So thank you Kev for a wonderful thread.

And whomever said they missed Bill Hicks, fuck yeah, I miss him too.
posted by liza at 10:29 AM on January 31, 2009 [11 favorites]


"Revelations"

After watching the clip on Letterman last night, I dug out my old VHS of Revelations. I hadn't seen it since 1993! (It looked like shit on my 42" plasma).
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 10:36 AM on January 31, 2009


Krautland also wants to remind you to watch the new season of Rescue Me, premiering in April on FX. Check your local listings for time and channel!

haha, awesome. but I'm not a rescue me fan either. if hicks bores me it's only natural that leary doesn't do it for me either.
posted by krautland at 10:37 AM on January 31, 2009


Actually, it wasn't Steve only whom I told they reminded me of Bill Hicks. The always classy RUDE PUNDIT is the best example of Hick's influence in the blogosphere.

Steve, Lee and I were at a party once here in NYC and we just went from one Bill Hicks rant to another non-stop ... good times, good times :)
posted by liza at 10:51 AM on January 31, 2009


Actually, I'm sorry, it's called Revelations.

I was at that show, but I think his Relentless show at the Montreal comedy festival was better. Revelations played to an enormous hall filled with left-leaning, Guardian-reading Hicks fans, so he was just preaching to the converted (except for the couple I saw walk out 10 minutes in), while the Montreal show was to an audience that had simply no idea what they were getting into.

And it was the same for me, and all the other British fans who saw Bill for the first time when it was broadcast on Channel 4 back in the early 90s. He was funny, he was outrageous, but there was a moral core to his act that had rarely been seen before, and the combination was simply intoxicating.

I'm an unapologetic fanboy, and I miss him too. I wish he'd been around for the Dubya years because he would have helped make them more bearable. And It's good to finally get closure on Letterman.

.
posted by daveje at 11:09 AM on January 31, 2009 [2 favorites]


if hicks bores me it's only natural that leary doesn't do it for me either.

Why are you lingering in this thread like a stale fart then? Are you misguidedly hoping that legions of like-minded individuals are going to join you in your low-tier hating of a man who is dead?

You're like an angry diabetic in a bakery, bitching about the cakes.

Please, go enjoy your equivalent brand of NutriSweet comedy, whilst the rest of us enjoy the real thing.

If you're in a thread about Bill Hicks (or anything else) asking "why should I care?" then obviously the topic is not for you. This thread isn't about exposing Hicks to people, as a promotional tool, it's actually a very fine moment for anyone who has followed Hicks' career and appreciated his work.

Also recommended:

Totally Bill Hicks - I watched this documentary this week, and found Letterman's regret over the Hicks incident very sincere. It was almost spooky to load up Mefi today and see this story.

And it is just a ride. It's too bad Bill had to get off so early...
posted by Dark Messiah at 11:22 AM on January 31, 2009 [2 favorites]


Actually, I'm wrong -- The Daily Show/Colbert Report is somewhat of a successor to Hicks, at least politically...
posted by empath at 11:24 AM on January 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


"Q: Why is Denis Leary a star while the public barely knew Bill Hicks?
A: There's no cure for cancer."


Huh, maybe my pressing is in error?
posted by Eideteker at 11:34 AM on January 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


I found it a bit disingenuous of Letterman to be saying, in effect "I don't know what I was thinking" -- that is, I bet he does damn well know what he was thinking and is just ashamed of it. So while I do credit him for doing this, I would credit him more if he had come straight out and said "The performance was cut because of pressure from advertisers" or "because of my precarious newbie status on the network" or "because I was personally offended by the crucifix joke" or whatever. Maybe I missed it, but he seemed to play dumb while playing virtuous.
posted by Rumple at 11:41 AM on January 31, 2009


I always thought that's what people meant by "I don't know what I was thinking" - not that they literally don't know what they were thinking, but that they look back on what they said/did and find it unlike themselves.

Better late than never, I guess.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 11:46 AM on January 31, 2009 [4 favorites]


I found it a bit disingenuous of Letterman to be saying, in effect "I don't know what I was thinking" -- that is, I bet he does damn well know what he was thinking and is just ashamed of it.

I (among many others, likely) am the last person to give Dave Letterman any undue sympathy, however can you honestly say -- after over a decade -- that he honestly knows what it was? It could have been a gut reaction, tossed and turned, debated, supressed, (feebly) ignored, and revisited so many times that "I don't know what I was thinking" is quite accurate. Maybe it was a combination of those factors you mentioned, with no singular one being the reason.

Who knows? Considering Letterman has no reason, beyond perhaps his own personal placation, to apologize, why don't we accept that instead of suggesting ways he could have apologized better. It's a Hell of a lot better than the modern day apology which is "I'm sorry you were offended" rather than "sorry, I did something I shouldn't have".
posted by Dark Messiah at 11:46 AM on January 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


Also, Marisa Stole the Other Part of my comment! :P
posted by Dark Messiah at 11:47 AM on January 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


Bill said: "The trouble with children is that they grow up to be people."

Aptly demonstrated by some of the commenters on this thread.
posted by Sassenach at 11:51 AM on January 31, 2009


I don't think Hicks was all that great either, but what I do find incredibly funny is all his worshippers in this thread trying to shout down any negative comments.

Wait, did I say funny? I mean ironic.
posted by mr_crash_davis mark II: Jazz Odyssey at 12:34 PM on January 31, 2009 [2 favorites]


I don't think Hicks was all that great either, but what I do find incredibly funny is all his worshippers in this thread trying to shout down any negative comments.

Speaking for myself, I just don't see the point of entering a fan thread - as this long became before krautland arrived - just to basically say "He sucks, he's dead, LOL".
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 12:37 PM on January 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


I don't think Hicks was all that great either, but what I do find incredibly funny is all his worshippers in this thread trying to shout down any negative comments.

I was just curious if you accept bookings to dance at funerals?

Heaven forbid we suspend our trawling of the depths of human misery here at MetaFilter to reflect on someone who did positive things; whether you agree with them or not. He made people laugh, and he made them think.

Clearly you didn't do the former, and are incapable of the latter.
posted by Dark Messiah at 12:48 PM on January 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


Ouch, that stings. I guess you told me!
posted by mr_crash_davis mark II: Jazz Odyssey at 12:50 PM on January 31, 2009


... Bad phrasing. Clearly you didn't laugh, and seemingly you didn't think.

This isn't a debate thread, there's no point / counterpoint here. The negativity just smacks of the poorman's iconoclasm that seems so en vogue these days. "Oh, that's popular, well fuck it, it sucks, and anyone who likes it is a stupid follower. Look at me, I'm so indie."

Go find a cancer thread and ask "who fucking cares? I'm healthy, why is this important".

There is life beyond your narrow scope.
posted by Dark Messiah at 12:51 PM on January 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


Again with the snappy rejoinder! You have definitely convinced me that I am wrong, and Hicks was always funny, and no one should dare say otherwise.
posted by mr_crash_davis mark II: Jazz Odyssey at 1:01 PM on January 31, 2009


Again with the snappy rejoinder! You have definitely convinced me that I am wrong, and Hicks was always funny, and no one should dare say otherwise.

You should just stop...

No one is stating he was always funny. No comedian is 100% funny 100% of the time, only someone who is seriously deluded would ever think that. There are Hicks routines I am not a fan of, there are a couple on his CDs I outright skip when I listen to them (about once every 1-2 years).

The fact is we're not debating his merits as a comedian. You're just being a troll. You're not debating anything; you're just throwing your opinion around like a club, trying to smash people with it and disparage them.

Want to be constructive? Debate the merits of his routine; discuss why it was pulled from TV, etc. Coming into a thread that is about fan appreciation (many of us wanted to see the pulled routine; not just the text, but the whole presentation). That was what this thread was about; it wasn't a roll-call for folks like you to hop in and give their unwanted 2-cents about how Hicks sucks and we're all braindead zombies for appreciating his work.

Aside from enjoying seeing your post count rise, was there any purpose to your posts? (Do you work on a comission or a flat-rate for each time you mis-use the term 'irony'?)

I feel no need to defend Hicks' honour. His legacy is already cemented; the fact we're still talking about him 15 years later. So no, no one is taking umbrage with your message per-se; rather the need you -- and others like you -- seem to have, in regards to shitting on someone who's dead.

What do you hope to achieve, aside from insulting people?
posted by Dark Messiah at 1:08 PM on January 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


and Hicks was always funny, and no one should dare say otherwise.

Hey, you can say otherwise. There's just absolutely no reason to do so here. Watch the clip about the heckler telling him that he sucks. I think he's got your answer for you right there as to why this is a pointless and stupid thing to do in a thread about the guy. Yeah, let's rile up the Hicks fans! Sure! I've got an opinion! I'm gonna post it on the internet even though EVERYONE INHERENTLY DISAGREES WITH ME! They can all suck it! Blah blah blah! I have an opinion! Listen to MEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!

Dude. Your opinion is great. Just take it somewhere else. No one here is likely to agree and you're just being inflammatory for the sake of creating an argument.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 1:11 PM on January 31, 2009 [2 favorites]


'you're just throwing your opinion around like a club'

In case you've forgotten, here's what I posted in its entirety:

"I don't think Hicks was all that great either, but what I do find incredibly funny is all his worshippers in this thread trying to shout down any negative comments.

Wait, did I say funny? I mean ironic."

This prompted you to make not one, not two, but three posts insulting me personally.

Take a moment to ask yourself whose opinion it is that's being used as a club.

"Dude. Your opinion is great. Just take it somewhere else. No one here is likely to agree and you're just being inflammatory for the sake of creating an argument."

Got it. Don't step out of line. Yes, sir.
posted by mr_crash_davis mark II: Jazz Odyssey at 1:22 PM on January 31, 2009 [2 favorites]


@mr_crash_davis :

I think where you're getting confused here is that, instead of coming in and respectfully saying "I don't really care for Bill Hicks, could someone enlighten me on why so many think he's so grand?" (ya know, like upthread) - you instead think anyone responding to remarks of that nature are inherent "worshippers" and we're all out to shut you down. Yes, that would be ironic, if it were the case.

But, it's not.

Everyone's entitled to an opinion - especially on MeFi - but to just come in and say "this guy sucks. I have no reasoning for saying that, I just want to ruin an otherwise pleasant discussion" is just rude and silly.

Those people aren't being "shut down" (as you see, the comments haven't been deleted), they're being called out on their shit. That you come in, missing that point entirely, and suggest we're all mindless worshippers isn't going to go over well.

I assume this point will also be lost on you as well - but, hey, I tried.
posted by revmitcz at 2:10 PM on January 31, 2009 [3 favorites]


[a few comments removed - repeated thread shitting isn't very productive]
posted by jessamyn at 2:43 PM on January 31, 2009


"Those people aren't being 'shut down'"

I didn't say "trying to shut down" I said "trying to shout down", which still seems to be the case - step out of line and don't agree with us and you get insulted, shouted down, and yes, now deleted.
posted by mr_crash_davis mark II: Jazz Odyssey at 2:59 PM on January 31, 2009


15 years from now, jessamyn will be hosting a thread with these commenters' mothers, admitting that she was wrong to remove their contributions.
posted by Dumsnill at 3:00 PM on January 31, 2009 [7 favorites]


It's a Hell of a lot better than the modern day apology which is "I'm sorry you were offended" rather than "sorry, I did something I shouldn't have".

"I'm sorry you were offended" is one of my favorite non-apologies ever. You might as well just say, "I'm sorry you're a thin-skinned little girl blubbering like you fell off your tricycle and skinned your knee." It's best said with a smirk, for maximum infuriating power.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 3:03 PM on January 31, 2009 [5 favorites]


"posted by mr_crash_davis mark II: Jazz Odyssey"

Hmm... user #86692? STFU, n00b.
posted by Eideteker at 4:02 PM on January 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


Bill Hicks in Ninja Bachelor Party.
That is all.
posted by cosmonaught at 5:03 PM on January 31, 2009 [3 favorites]


Thank you for posting this and to all the people who posted clips of the Letterman show.
Hicks had a big effect on me growing up and I thought this was a lovely piece of television. Letterman's humility was very touching and Mary Hicks seemed a wonderful person.
Thanks again, you're truly made my day and maybe even my week.
Bill's death was a true tragedy but his life touched so many people we should feel blessed he existed and gave us so much joy.
posted by debord at 8:08 PM on January 31, 2009


I wish I could favorite empath's wonderful comment a whole lotta more times.
posted by the_bone at 8:11 PM on January 31, 2009


If he continued on the trajectory he took for the last couple of years of his life then today he'd be best known as that preachy comedian who writes about our reptilian overlords on rense.com and insists that promoters pay him only in Ron Paul dollars.

I dunno. I think he might have ended up as one of the captains on QI.

Anyway, fifteen years this month, and I still remember the WTF moment of seeing his obit.
posted by holgate at 9:52 PM on January 31, 2009


Just wanted to step in again and say great thread. Awesome stuff.
This is why Metafilter is so magic.
And thanks to Dark Messiah for speaking the truth so eloquently upthread.
And and and and the risk of being totally "ME TOO" I'm right with the_bone on empath's comment...
posted by debord at 10:28 PM on January 31, 2009


Thanks for the links, and pleased some sort of closure was found by Letterman.

For the record and if they do make a film about Bill's life, my vote would be for Philip Seymour Hoffman to play the great man.
posted by Samuel Farrow at 1:34 AM on February 1, 2009


Bill Hicks was a champion on the information battlefield, but there was more to him than anger, or the need to fight. Sometimes he seemed unreasonable, it could get very awkward,
but anyone who took a moment to untwist their panties could see he wasn't pointlessly hateful.

I don't enjoy fanboy-ism, but if anyone brought down on himself hero worship, it was Bill Hicks. That's pretty much exactly the retarded not-getting-it he was talking about.

My name is Gamien Boffenburg, and I am a recovering Bill Hicks addict.

(I mean, he was probably Jesus, but I need to let go...)
posted by Gamien Boffenburg at 2:39 AM on February 1, 2009


Bill Hicks in Ninja Bachelor Party.

Holy fuck. Thank you for that. I had no idea. Anyone who can watch the bit from 1:30 - 2:45 in the first part without laughing out loud is a corpse.

"Oh, lord, my mush is cold."
posted by mediareport at 9:04 AM on February 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


Empath may actually be off in saying Hicks was not a prophet.

His mystical, metaphysical stuff was always delivered in that doofy suburban pass-the-bong cadence of his. He could just as easily have been plugging in trite bits of stoner bullshit. But meditate a few hours per day for many years and you'll find that every word of that stuff was sterling - rife with surprisingly keen understanding. So there was something happening besides the brilliant social criticism and bona fide hilarity (even if, toward the end, the hilarity didn't necessarily elicit laughter).

The quote by grapefruitmoon, for example, is a mature and articulate summation of true reality (as explained by a number of spiritual traditions), and the subtle details of his means of expressing it were original and personal enough (or at least was at the time) that it's clear he didn't just, like, grab the catchphrases from somewhere. He was saying it - however doofily - from his (doofy) heart. Very few people achieve that clarity.

One more point. After viewing the clips, I realized the whole thing was more carefully thought out on Letterman's part than I'd first imagined. It was obviously too late to "make right". If Letterman were to imagine himself asking Hicks "what can I do to make it up to you", the imagined answer might very well have been "apologize to my mom" (Hicks noted in his Howard Stern interview, as well as elsewhere, that his parents were absolutely livid about the incident). I think Letterman, who just as easily - more easily, in fact - could have just apologized and shown the clip alone in the studio, really went through that mental exercise. And that's why it was all about the mom. It was as conscientious a gesture as I've ever seen, at least on TV.
posted by jimmyjimjim at 4:13 PM on February 1, 2009 [2 favorites]


Here's the Relentless show in montreal mentioned by daveg.
posted by jimmyjimjim at 4:25 PM on February 1, 2009


Worth mentioning - What kind of person do you have to be to do the shows that Bill Hicks did, have Mary Hicks as your mom, and have her full support?

Hell of a trick and one that took a doofy heart, indeed.
posted by Lesser Shrew at 7:13 PM on February 1, 2009


Mom's will support their sons in almost anything, honestly.
posted by empath at 9:50 PM on February 1, 2009


Okay, so let me get this right:

Worshiping Bill Hicks as a god, because he made a lot of sense at the time, but has now dated on specifics, isn't appropriate.

Alternatively realising Bill Hicks had a deeper message that is still relevant today and understanding the coincidence that his mother's name is Mary, is how to remember him the way he would have wanted.
posted by Samuel Farrow at 12:04 AM on February 2, 2009


Samuel, nah. Just thinking he's funny, talented, and insightful, and that those qualities sprang from surprising depths would be about right.

One of the dangers in working in a popular art is that one's references do tend to date. That's a given. It ensures more short term relevance (and popular arts are all about short term relevance) at the expense of long term relevance.
posted by jimmyjimjim at 7:20 AM on February 2, 2009


Bill Hicks's comedy worked the same mine that the Matrix did, and that Phillip K Dick did, and that most of the great philosophers did

*gag*

Bill Hicks : Metafilter :: Blink 182 : Teen Angst

Not that I don't appreciate the guy, but people...people...
posted by jckll at 10:16 AM on February 2, 2009


I don't think you understand how analogies work.
posted by empath at 11:12 AM on February 2, 2009


And you especially know nothing about punk rock.
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:23 AM on February 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


YOU STUPID FUCKING ASSHOLES
YOU THINK YOU GET TO SNARK AND TALK BACK JUST BECAUSE YOU'VE GOT AN ASSHOLE!!
FUCK YOU!! FUCK ALL OF YOU!! YOU DESTROY EVERYTHING GOOD IN THE WORLD!!! CAN'T ANYONE AROUND HERE BE FUCKING SINCERE?

funny! right?
oh, pretend you read that on archive.org. from 1988. on an Apple IIe.
now it's funny. because it's raw, get it?!

If you prefer, :: Jimmy Eat World : Teen Angst.
Not understanding analogies? You may disagree but I think the analogy itself was pretty straightforward.

posted by jckll at 2:39 PM on February 2, 2009


Who the hell is Teen Angst? They don't have a page on Wikipedia.
posted by Pronoiac at 2:43 PM on February 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'd like you to elaborate on the analogy if possible.

In what way is Bill Hick's relationship to Metafilter like Blink 182's relationship to Teen Angst?
posted by empath at 4:26 PM on February 2, 2009


weirdly they have just played the routine on repeat at 4.18pm in the afternoon here on TV in NZ...... so much for controversial ! or is it time has dulled the "freak-out" content of society.... or is thre no freak out portion of society in NZ !
posted by doogyrev at 7:20 PM on February 3, 2009


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