Tuesday, September 21, 2010

You need to own this

Ryko has just released a new comedy bundle, Bill Hicks: The Essential Collection, and you need to buy it stat. In fact, you should probably go to the store his long-time supporters have set up and buy the t-shirt bundle there. Yes, I did, even though I have all the previously available Bill Hicks material.

Come to think of it, when the new biopic, American: The Bill Hicks Story, becomes available in the U.S., you need to pick it up as well. (For a quick take on this film, which debuted at SXSW, check out this Wired article.

I've mentioned before that I was fortunate enough to see Hicks perform live once here in Raleigh. I was at the Sycamore Hill Writers' Conference, and we all went to a local comedy club just to catch whatever acts were playing. Hicks was the headliner. Seeing him made me realize, as few comedians do, just how intensely intelligent and important stand-up comedy can be. I doubt I'll ever do a show a tenth as good as his routine appearances, but I aim to keep trying.

Of course, he was also vulgar and offensive and at best R-rated, which I mention in case you don't want to hear that kind of performance; I don't want to steer you wrong.

Hicks died of pancreatic cancer when he was only 32 years old. He's been dead about 16 years, and yet his reputation keeps growing. If you don't know him, try this collection. If you do, you should already know that you need it.

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