Bill Hicks: The Dark Poet

Bill Hicks was unknown to me prior to my arrival in Australia at 19 years of age. I had lived in the US, and unfortunately, he was not among the best-known comedians.  He had far more success abroad, and in Australia, he was a legend.  

Right away, my friends insisted that I listen to him. I immediately recognized the insight he brought to his comedy. Bill Hicks had a dark poet’s craft with words and a compassionate heart, for instance.

“It’s Just a Ride” – Bill Hicks

Bill Hicks died of pancreatic cancer on February 26th, 1994 at the age of 32.  

It would be easy for us to lament on what insights and laughter we lost at his early passing. Instead, we celebrate that despite being born in a small-town conservative USA he was unafraid to challenge the bedrock assumptions that went to the heart of politics, death and humanity.

The video below encapsulates his brilliant philosophy.  I hope you enjoy it.

Rather than end on a sentimental note, it’s more in the spirit of  Bill Hicks’ comedy to explore a few of his ideas.  It continues his mission.

I find one such notion in part inspired, or at least similar in nature to, Terrence McKenna’s book, Food of the Gods. McKenna lays out a plausible hypothesis that human consciousness, to the state that it’s evolved, impacts humanity’s relationship with plants, herbs and fungi.  

We’re all intrinsically woven into the DNA fabric of all life on this planet, so this is not surprising. I’ll let Bill Hicks explain further.

As you might deduce from the above video, Bill Hicks spoke out against the war on drugs. He understood its futility and harm to basic human rights.  

He was also a conspiracy theorist. Bill never tired of revisiting the assassination of JFK. On occasion, he also recollected the Waco massacre of April 19, 1993, where 74 men, woman and children were killed in a compound lead by the infamous cult leader David Koresh.

Agree or disagree with Bill’s analysis and conclusions, but he was always articulate, funny, and gave you something to think about. He might even change your mind entirely, for instance.

A Story You Won’t See On The News

I’ll leave you with one last piece. It gives further insight into his experiences and perspective on the world.

To those who already know and love Bill Hicks, these clips are all familiar.  To those who have discovered him through this article, I hope you’re inspired to explore the wealth of his comedy easily accessible through YouTube. May you have some good laughs for the effort.

At Jacmus, we want to know your thoughts on Bill Hicks

Love him or hate him, Bill Hicks still has a strong fan base. What are your favourite moments of his standup comedy?

Leave your favourite memories below.

Feature Image: Bill Hicks: The Dark Poet 1991 photo by Angela Davis. This photo has been cropped and resized from the original. CC BY 2.0

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