Posts tagged as bill hicks

The 20 Greatest Standup Specials of All Time

Modern standup has been around in one form or another since vaudeville, but it’s only been since the late ‘70s that the standup special has gained traction as the crowning achievement of a successful comic. Fortunately, the beginnings of the standup special were as fertile as rock ‘n’ roll’s birth 25 years prior, with many of the all-time greats setting templates right from the start.

The material always comes first, of course, but as a video document of a honed act it’s also important to appreciate the visual elements — the framing, editing, and backdrop — and how they enhance or detract from the pacing and quality of the jokes.


Russell Crowe Is Making a Bill Hicks Biopic, Which Makes Sense

Early next year, fake gladiator Russell Crowe is set to make his directorial debut with a movie about comedy legend Bill Hicks. The film was written by Mark Staufer, a screenwriting newbie/high school friend of Crowe's. Crowe was originally rumored to play Hicks but that's thankfully no longer the case. Hicks does have a very interesting, tragic story and would've undoubtedly hated however this film will get marketed.

Watching American: the Bill Hicks Story

It’s no secret that sometimes comedy is taken a bit too seriously. Comedy obsessives love not just the jokes, but the mechanics and emotions of the comedy world. There are a raft of comedy documentaries exploring comedy and comedians, but do they really have anything significant to add to the discussion? This series looks at comedy documentaries and whether they’re interesting, insightful, and possibly even…funny?

Bill Hicks is a legend. His name is spoken in rarefied tones; his reputation is outlandish. He was loud and mean, with a cigarette always in hand, screaming at the world and his own audience.

Unlike I Am Comic or Comedian , [...]

American: The Bill Hicks Story Looks Back at a Fallen Icon

The late Bill Hicks always reminded me of Johnny Cash — perhaps it’s a combination of the black suit, Southern twang, and onstage chain smoking (some of his best bits are about whiny non-smokers). Plus, in his HBO special, he wears a cowboy hat. Both Hicks, a Texan, and Cash, an Arkansasian, seemed to tap into that uniquely Southern vein of Americanism that is equal parts idealism and rage; none of your New York-style flippant irony here.

But while Cash enjoyed mainstream success and lived to a ripe old age, Hicks died at 32 and achieved only moderate fame in the U.S., where he’s known as a “comedian’s comedian,” [...]

I'd pay to go see Lärrydavhead open for Constanzig

The first offering from Aye Jay's Pop Sub Print Club is a series of four 7-inch screenprints, all based on comedians. You've got BillHicksFits, Lärrydavhead, Constanzig and a print of Don Rickles. The club sends you a different set of four prints based around a different theme every month. I'm guessing the next set won't focus on comedians, but they should turn some of these into t-shirts. They'd be surprised how many Seinfeld nerds are also really into 80's Metal. [via]

Read a Great Piece Patton Oswalt Wrote About Bill Hicks

"Bill Hicks had to make his voice heard through the amorphous, ever-shifting fog of Reagan-era comfort and complacency. Comedy club audiences in the 80’s actually thought they were being revolutionary and dangerous, listening to a sport-coated, sleeves-rolled-up comedian railing against the absurdities of airplane food, the plot holes on Gilligan’s Island and the differences between cats and dogs. Like Kurt Vonnegut’s Kilgore Trout, laying down world-saving truths in the pages of disposable stroke magazines, Bill Hicks was trying to light the way into the 21st century – on the stained-carpet stages of strip mall chuckle huts, usually following a juggler."

-Patton Oswalt in a piece he published today on his blog [...]

Bill Hicks and a Priest Don't Walk Into a Bar – They Send Letters

Back in 1993 a priest wrote to Channel 4, complaining about their airing of Bill Hick's "blasphemous" special Revelations. Smartly, and luckily for us, the network let Hicks respond directly. The result of which, is a funny, articulate, not particularly angry letter that perfectly encapsulates Hicks' view on freedom of speech and religion. He writes:

A New Bill Hicks EP Is Coming Out Dec. 13

To celebrate what would've been his 50th birthday, a 15-minute Bill Hicks EP is being released Dec. 13, including some previously unreleased material from a 21-year-old Hicks in Texas. It's called 12/16/61, and it's available for iTunes pre-order now.

American: The Bill Hicks Story In Theaters This Month

In the upcoming documentary American: The Bill Hicks Story, directors Matt Harlock and Paul Thomas profile the acerbic comedian's fifteen year career and wicked political comedy. Prior to his death of pancreatic cancer in 1994, Hicks was beloved in the U.K. but had his last Letterman appearance edited out from the show in 1993. Through performance footage and interviews with friends and loved ones, Harlock and Thomas explore Hicks' legacy as the comedian himself described it: "Noam Chomsky with dick jokes."

Using Comedy to Help Overcome Addiction

Welcome to the latest installment of Tragedy Plus Time. Each segment will focus on a particular ‘life crisis’ — sometimes globally tragic, sometimes more of a personal affair — and we’ll explore how many of the comedians we know and love have dealt with it.

Though no one has proved it scientifically, there’s plenty of anecdotal evidence to support the connection between creative types and recreational drug use. Whether it’s an openness to new experiences, a desire to numb the pain, or just the absence of a reason to get up early the next morning, many artists find themselves indulging at some point in their life. What starts as [...]

Legendary Comedian Bill Hicks Was Definitely a Legend, but Was He a Comedian?

Unpopular Opinions is a new weekly column in which a writer takes a stand against popular opinion, whether it's asserting the true merit of a supposedly guilty pleasure or dissenting against the universally lauded.

Bill Hicks was undoubtedly a massive influence on contemporary standup comedy. The impact of his confrontational style can be seen in countless comedians today, from David Cross to Patton Oswalt, Marc Maron to Denis Leary. Because of this inarguable influence and the high regard in which others hold him, I’ve attempted on several occasions to appreciate Hicks’s material. Each time I listen to it, I have the same reaction: Yes, I agree with most [...]

This Bill Hicks Letter From 1993 Is Unbearably Sad

Three months before he died of pancreatic cancer, Bill Hicks wrote this letter to The New Yorker's John Lahr to thank him for an article he'd written on Hicks. (The article is a pretty fantastic read as well. I'm definitely gonna start calling the television "Lucifer’s Dream Box.") In his letter, he talks about how following the article, creative possibilities feel "limitless" and says that "the offers finally match my long-held and deeply cherished creative aspirations." Fair warning, you'll probably get a tightening feeling behind your nose while reading this, and then a sour feeling in your jaw, and an itchy feeling in your eyes, and then [...]

Bill Hicks Essential Collection Is Coming Next Tuesday

Bill Hicks was one of the best stand-ups of the last few decades until he tragically died of pancreatic cancer in 1994 at the age of 32. And now, has a new 2CD/2DVD set coming out next Tuesday the 14th which looks to be pretty essential to anyone wondering why the hell comedians love this guy so much. The set includes virtually all of his stand-up material, an entire movie (Ninja Bachelor Party) and a number of previously unheard pieces and songs. Here's the full tracklisting: