Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Great Times On Drugs!

This edition of Heroes and Villains is quite different than previous and future Heroes and villains' posts. This week I'm doing Bill Hicks, who in my opinion was hands down the greatest comedian of all time. He is a hero to many and certainly to me, but to most Étudiant readers and Americans in general he will most likely be regarded as a villain. I felt that Hicks was too important to merely classify his achievements by using the usual format, so I decided to just fuck around and let the chips fall where they may. So, sit back and enjoy another Heroes and Villains! By the way he makes Dane Cook look like the shit I let out of my ass before writing this.

Name: Bill Hicks

Born: December 16, 1961, Valdosta, Georgia (He moved to Arkansas at age 7 and spent his teen years in Texas).

Medium/Genre: Stand up comedian, Social Critic, and Satirist/ Observational, Dark humor

Years Active: 1970's- 1994

Influences: Lenny Bruce, Woody Allen, and Richard Pryor

Influenced: Dennis Leary, Lewis Black, Eddie Izzard, Joe Rogan, Henry Rollins, and many others. (It should be noted that all other comedians that attempted to emulate Hicks never reached the same level of intensity or brilliance as he did. )

Alright, now to get into the good stuff. Okay, I'm not going to deliver you a typical biography here and slap down a bunch of stupid, frivolous info about Hick's childhood and all that bullshit; but rather give you insight on a fallen hero from my perspective ( I'm one of his biggest fans!) I don't care who you are, no matter what, you are going to get offended by something Hicks did or said. Especially if you are politically correct, religious, patriotic, conservative, possibly liberal (at times) , feminist, in marketing, and so on!

A typical Hicks routine began with him coming out, energetic and ready to go, ask the audience how their doing, but not for too long ( a typical flaw many comedians have, they try to soak up their time at the beginning) and then insult their hometown, generally a southern town. Following this, Hicks would ask "how many smokers are here tonight?" and of course insult the smokers for their lack of energy... and after merely hearing a puny percentage of the audience, Hicks would ask "how manyyyyy non- smokers?" and when all of them cheered, Hicks would rant, " bunch of whining, self-righteous, fucking maggots!" as he brandished his own cigarette and began to light up. He then unleashed a tornado of scathing insults towards non-smokers, even one time calling a man a pussy for only smoking one pack of cigarettes a day ("I go through about two lighters a day"). This was only the beginning of the off color, acerbic topics that would follow. These include, but are not limited to: Recreational Drug use, American politics and culture, the Gulf War, Human Sexuality, Philosophy (especially Third Eye Eastern Philosophy),Religion, Marketing/Advertising, Pornography, Libertarianism, Consumerism (or should I say anti-consumerism), and many other off beat topics.

I bet you are still wondering why the title of this article is "Great Times On Drugs!" Well, there are many reasons for its namesake, but chief amongst these reasons would be the fact that Drugs (mostly pot, alcohol, nicotine, acid, and mushrooms) were mentioned and with the exception of alcohol and nicotine, were championed in nearly every Hicks performance. Originally the young Bill stayed clean and sober, never touching any substances , whether they were illicit or legal. Then suddenly, out of nowhere in 1983, Hicks began to experiment. He was already a practitioner of meditation and was deeply fascinated with altered states, so one day with the advice of a good buddy, he tried psilocybin mushrooms. This led to a whole plethora of opiates Hicks indulged into throughout the next few years:
LSD, psilocybin, cocaine, MDMA, poppy tea, diazepam, Quaaludes and methamphetamine, and on top of this he had a severe drinking problem. Around 1987-88, Hicks decided to put his habits , which were becoming uncontrollable, to rest. He quit everything, except smoking cigarettes. Despite the fact that he was clean and sober, Hicks was never shy to admit that he had many "great times on drugs," and of course he had bad times as well. Hicks would say, "Yeah I've had good and bad times on drugs, but I've had good and bad relationships, and I'm not giving up pussy!"

Ok, so the real the purpose of this article is to expose as many people as possible to a comedic genius, a modern philosopher, a social critic, a radical artist/entertainer with balls and thought provoking material, and a truly sacred cow. ( Nope, you most likely did not catch the reference, listen to Hicks and you will). It's a damn shame he had to die of pancreatic cancer at the age of 32 in 1994. This is truly a case of an artist dying during his prime. It's unbelievable the material he would have today; I can picture him ranting about topics as diverse as The War in Iraq and American Idol. Bill Hicks R. I.P.- 1961-1994

Here are some popular Hicks C.D.s, Videos, and Books:

C.D.s- Dangerous (1990), Relentless (1992), Arizona Bay (1997) Rant in E-minor (1997), and many more you can find on amazon. com or Wikipedia.

Videos- Sane Man (1989), One Night Stand (1991), Relentless (1992), Revelations (1993), and two documentaries, It's Just A Ride (1995) and Outlaw Comic ( 1995)

Books- Love All the People (2005), American Scream: The Bill Hicks Story by Cynthia True (2002).

Once again, it's too bad most of the world never got to hear Hicks and its a damn shame that he is still an obscure artist while mediocre hacks reign. Well, fortunately one day they'll all die from over consumption of Satan's sperm.

I will leave you with two of my favorite Hicks' quotes:

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 is no such thing as death, life is only a dream, and we are the imagination of ourselves. Here's Tom with the weather"

"The world is like a ride at an amusement park, and when you choose to go on it, you think it's real, because that's how powerful our minds are. And the ride goes up and down and round and round and it has thrills and chills and it's very brightly colored and it's very loud. And it's fun, for a while.

Some people have been on the ride for a long time, and they begin to question: 'Is this real? Or is this just a ride?' And other people have remembered, and they come back to us and they say 'Hey! Don't worry, don't be afraid - ever - because... this is just a ride.' And we kill those people.

'Shut him up! We have a lot invested in this ride! Shut him up! Look at my furrows of worry; look at my big bank account, and my family. This has to be real.'

It's just a ride. But we always kill those good guys who try and tell us that - ever notice that? - and we let the demons run amok. But it doesn't matter, because... it's just a ride, and we can change it any time we want. It's only a choice. No effort. No worry. No job. No savings and money. Just a choice, right now, between fear and love. The eyes of fear want you to put bigger locks on your door, buy bigger guns, close yourself off. The eyes of love, instead, see all of us as one.

Here's what we can do to change the world, right now, into a better ride. Take all that money we spend on weapons and defense each year and, instead, spend it feeding, clothing and educating the poor of the world, which it would do many times over - not one human being excluded - and we can explore space together, both inner and outer, forever. In peace."

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