The Bill Hicks Story
Hicks never received the fame that he undoubtedly deserved, however in
stand-up comedy circles and amongst a staunch cult following, he was
considered as talented and influential as Lenny Bruce. Now, seventeen years
after his way-too-soon death (of pancreatic cancer at age 32 in 1994), Hicks
is legendary amongst those in the know, but mostly forgotten by the general
American: The Bill Hicks Story
is a British documentary
which sets out to change that.
is only partially successful in showing what an extraordinary standup Hicks
could be, but it does a terrific job of giving an overview of his life.
Giving a varied timeline from high school loser to aspiring
screenwriter to respected comedian, American uses footage, family
photos and talking head material from friends, relatives, fans,
collaborators and contemporaries.
film shows how experience, growth, political awareness and, frankly, drug
use helped to graduate the guy from a pretty standard observational comic
into someone whose reach was much more peculiar and pointed. As Hicks mind
expanded he took the audience along for the trip, in ways that were often
fascinating, but more than occasionally became a bit of a train wreck.
thing not acknowledged here, but is apparent in the clips, is that in his
last years, as his stand-up became more topical and pointed, it also became
less funny. Much like Bruce before him, towards the end he was raging
against the machine, but it seemed more like a sermon than a comic riff.
There is no doubt that he was passionate about what he was saying, he was no
longer focusing on making it humorous.
However, that is part of Hicks’ story too and if the film may be a tiny bit
to in awe of their subject to actually say it, they inadvertently (or
perhaps not inadvertently) show that fact.
Jay S. Jacobs
Copyright ©2011 PopEntertainment.com.
All rights reserved. Posted: June 6, 2011.