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March 24, 2012

Bill Hicks, Comic Genius

     I consider Bill Hicks to be the greatest stand up comedian of all time.  I have been a student of stand up for a very long time and have studied all of the greats but when I first saw Hicks' special 'Sane Man' I knew I had found the master.  As I watched that special I knew I was watching something magical.  Never before had I seen stand up comedy performed so perfectly.  Bill Hicks was an amazing writer and comedic performer and it is a real shame he was taken from us so early but I will always hold on to and cherish his work.  As a comedian he is my hero.
     William Melvin Hicks was born December 16th, 1961 in Valdosta, Georgia, the youngest of three children.  He began preforming comedy at a young age with his childhood friend Dwight Slade sending comedy packages to agents which even earned them a spot on the Jerry Lewis telethon but they couldn't perform on the show however because they were underage.  Bill continued to pursue his love of comedy and once he graduated high school he moved to LA and began working at The Comedy Store alongside Gary Shandling, Jerry Seinfeld and Jay Leno.
     Hicks went on to have a successful career as a stand up comic.  Preforming 250-300 times a year all over the country.  During his career he appeared 12 times on the Letterman show and released multiple comedy albums, and stand up comedy specials for HBO.  Bill Hicks was very near breaking into superstar status here in the states, a level of fame which he had already achieved over seas, but unfortunately he died of cancer before achieving that success here in his home country.

     While Hick's was under appreciated commercially here in the United States his relentless touring of America's comedy clubs preforming his unique brand of comedy which was fearlessly honest, genuine and thought provoking gave him a large following among comedy fans and an iconic status among comedians.  As a comic starting out I heard about Hicks many times before ever actually seeing him perform.  He was a legend in comedy.
     Hicks kept you laughing while using his comedy to teach important simple truths about life through his jokes.  Bill took on taboo topics without fear as he exposed all the bullshit, lies and propaganda being force fed to the American public.  His ability to blend logic with humor allowed him to take on any topic he chose in his effort to enlighten us and improve our quality of life.  His life lessons and hard truths were masterfully passed onto his audiences through his logical thought provoking rants which were always funny but also educational as the truth and intent of each rants deeper message was effectively conveyed to the audience with honest sincerity.
     Bill Hicks was a special kind of entertainer who understood the human condition and was able to entertain us as he taught us to think in new ways about important topics and issues while we laughed.  A confident fearless performer who was incredibly gifted and had truly found his voice.  I treasure all of the great comedy and life lessons Bill Hicks shared with the world before being taken at such a young age by that terrible disease and I encourage any fan of comedy to seek out Bill Hicks work so that his message can spread and his legend may live on.
     On February 7th, 1994 Bill Hicks wrote his last words to the world:

     I was born William Melvin Hicks on December 16, 1962 in Valdosta, Georgia.  Ugh.  Melvin Hicks from Georgia!  Yee-Har!  I had already gotten off to life on the wrong foot.  I was always "awake", I guess you'd say.  Some part of me clamoring for new insights and new ways to make the world a better place.
     All of this came out years down the line, in my multitude of creative interests that are the tools I now bring to the party.  Writing, acting, music, comedy.  A deep love of literature and books.  Thank God for all the artists who've helped me.  I'd read these words and off I went - dreaming my own imaginative dreams.  Exercising them at will, eventually to form bands, comedy, more bands, movies, anything creative.  This is the coin of the realm I use in my words - Vision.
     On June 16 1993 I was diagnosed with having "liver cancer that had spread from the pancreas".  One of life's weirdest and worst jokes imaginable.  I'd been making such progress recently in my attitude, my career and realizing my dreams that it just stood me on my head for a while.  "Why me!?" I would cry out, and "Why now!?".
     Well I know now there may never be any answers to those particular questions, but maybe in telling a little about myself, we can find some other answers to other questions.  That might help our own way down our own particular paths, towards realizing my dream of New Hope and New Happiness.  Amen.
     I left in love, in laughter, and in truth and wherever truth, love and laughter abide, I am there in spirit.

     Bill Hicks died February 26th 1994 at the age of 32.

To learn more about this great comedy legend and to check out his library of work visit Bill's website using the link below.


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