Home / The Duke Presents A Buyer’s Guide To The Insane Genius Of Bill Hicks

The Duke Presents A Buyer’s Guide To The Insane Genius Of Bill Hicks

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Whilst having a gander in the direction of Michael Moore’s New Film about The America, I got to thinking about the late, great Mr Bill Hicks, and how he tore The Gulf War apart in 10 minutes of stand-up comedy, and did it much more effectively than Moore’s admittedly excellent film achieves in two hours.

I got to thinking about how heart-breakingly sad it is, that so many folks never heard of Bill Hicks, and yet own No Cure For Cancer by Dennis Leary, a man who built his career on Bill Hicks routines.

“Bunch a whining fucking maggots.”

That was Bill talking about non-smokers. You may have heard the Leary cover-version.

In fact, once Leary ran out of Hicks routines, he just gave up. You may have heard the show he did where he was reduced to talking about Hanson. Shit, man, the motherfucking controversy.

So anyway, what The Duke would suggest is that you buck up your ideas, man, and go about getting hold of these here items what will illustrate just how amazing this Hicks fella was. This is for the novice, is what, kind of Outlaw Comics For Dummies or whatever, with emphasis on Bill Hicks, the Goatboy.

Bill Hicks – The Essential Motherfucking Audio

Truth be told, there ain’t a damn reason in the world why you shouldn’t be buying all four of Bill’s “lifetime” releases, the albums he actively worked on, even though the last two were released posthumously. I’m going to assume that perhaps you might be the kinda person what doesn’t own any of the damn things, so I’ll recommend these here recordings, two of which are, I guess, “official” albums, and the other one is a live recording released last year.


This is Bill’s second album, and the damn thing is devastatingly funny. Not only does this have the aforementioned War routine, but also Bill’s brilliant yacking with regards the “drugs”, and the fact that if you don’t think drugs ever did anyone any good, then you need to go and chuck out 60% of your record collection.

“Shit, man, the Beatles were so stoned they even let Ringo sing a couple tunes.”

It’s a more political album than the debut, Dangerous, and yet it hasn’t dated a jot, even though it was recorded way back in 1992, when George Bush was president, bombing the fuck out of Iraq for no apparent reason. Seems like a motherfucking lifetime past, is what.

Rant In E-Minor

On his third album, Arizona Bay, Bill decided the thing to do would be to throw in a bunch of his guitar noodlings and so on, courtesy of his band Marble Head Johnson, in-between the stand-up stuff, and that approach is repeated here.

Bill does his entire set from his cancelled Letterman appearance, when the studio heads got all worried about his pontificating with regards the pope, abortion, other stuff.

It also has his rant about The Gideon’s, wondering who the hell these people are, where they come from, how no ones ever laid eyes on one and yet they’re all over the fucking world, leaving bibles in hotel rooms.

The religious stuff generally gets the bulk of the running-time this time around, even though the famous Dinosaurs In The Bible malarkey was on the previous record. Fundamentalist Christians are goaded, well, relentlessly, and listening to this stuff now, it’s amazing those assassinations he mocked up for the end of his performances never actually crossed the line and became actual bloody executions. One can imagine some hardcore cracker pointing a rifle at Bill’s skull as he yacks about the Pope-Mobile and its state-of-the-art bullet-proof protection. “That’s faith in action, right there.”

Shock And Awe – Live At The Oxford Playhouse

This recording, made in Britain in 1992, was released in 2003 to cash in on the anti-war movement, with the cover boasting such warnings as “Contains Anti-War Material” and “Coalition Advisory – Anti-War Content”. Fuck all that opportunistic marketing, though, one gets the feeling Bill would have hated shit like that. You’d be a demented psychopath of some sort, though, to ignore the content. This is easily one of the best Hicks’ shows available, even including the wealth of bootleg material.

It also includes stuff he didn’t do very often, including his musings on snooker, how it takes so long cause every now and again this little guy keeps taking the balls out of the pockets. He gives us his views on Madonna’s Sex book, and also Basic Instinct, whilst finding time to address congress’ definition of Pornography. “No artistic merit, causes sexual thoughts… hmm… sounds like every advert on TV to me.”

Bill Hicks – The Essential Motherfucking Video

Totally Bill Hicks

This here isn’t available on Region 1, but you can get it on PAL Region 2. You American folks never did get Bill anyroad, man.

We British loved the hell out of him though, which is why he’s filmed here playing in the Dominion Theater in London to one of the biggest crowds of his career.

It’s a brilliant performance, but a uniquely uncomfortable one. In the midst of an attempt to give up smoking, Bill is visibly disgruntled, and as the audience are filled with folks who love the hell out of him, he sees fit to rile them up a bit. What the hell fun is there in preaching to the converted?

So, on comes Goatboy, Bill’s demented alter-ego, for twenty minutes of supremely disturbing sex-talk. “Goatboy likes little girls”, he growls. “It’s like a wisp of cotton candy surrounding a paper cut.”

You can hear thousands of seats being nervously adjusted, man.

But there’s also other, more conventional carry-ons, like the brilliant stuff about JFK, and how you can go and see the book emporium, and how it’s really authentic, “cause Oswald’s not there.”

Also on the video is a rather disappointing channel 4 documentary entitled It’s Just A Ride, where Bill’s parents, siblings and friends are invited to share their thoughts on the fella. There’s also some archive footage thrown in, mostly from TV appearances and also from the Sane Man video, which is only available through the Sacred Cow website.

There’s a half-hour HBO special also available on region 2, but this here is the one to go for, man, is what The Duke would suggest.

Bill Hicks – The Essential Motherfucking Literature

At the time of writing, there are only two books devoted to Bill on the market, which is damn well criminal considering there’s a dozen published about Justin Timberlake every motherfucking afternoon. It’s quality, not quantity, though, and these here two volumes should have you wetting your garments in orgasmic delight.

American Scream – The Bill Hicks Story by Cynthia True

This is the official biography, and it’s as comprehensive as anyone could hope for. The tales of a young 13-year-old Bill sneaking out of his bedroom to perform at comedy clubs in the city are filled with pubescent mischief, and the sad fate of “America’s greatest unknown comic” makes for heartbreaking reading.

It’s also kinda freaky, too. Bill was a fond advocate of hallucinogens, and True relates how he noticed a “strange sensation” in his left hand side after his first mushroom trip, how “it felt not right, like something was wrong”. Bill ended up dying of pancreatic cancer. On the left hand side of his torso, man. Freaky shit, is what.

It’s also quite melodramatic at the end, but doesn’t overdo things. True doesn’t need to up the saccharine or anything like that. The image of Bill lying in his parent’s home, too sick to speak to them, as Christmas festivities go on in the surrounding suburb, is painfully poignant enough on its own, thank you very much.

Love All The People

This is a collection of interviews, letters, magazine articles and routines penned by the great man himself. It’s a bit like reading those Kurt Cobain Diaries or whatever, except that most of this was published in his lifetime, so it’s not like we’re stealing the fellas skull-gunk unawares.

It’s a fascinating history of The Duke’s Favourite Comedian Of All Ever, and illustrates amply why he was a master of his craft, and ultimately, why he was so rejected.

As one interviewee states in the aforementioned It’s Just A Ride, Bill didn’t offer any sugar with the medicine. Which is fine by me, man. That medicine was sweet enough on its own, is what.

Bill Hicks – The Essential Motherfucking Bootleg

Bill didn’t live long enough to aquire a gargantuan body of work, and what recordings of his performances exist are basically taken from the same few tours, which means if you own the official stuff, there’s pretty much no real reason to dig much deeper.

Except, of course, for the infamous Loses It show of 1989.

Before an audience of fairly disinterested Chicago punters, Bill appears despondent, jaded. There are numerous hecklers in the audience, and one woman makes the mistake of hollering “You Suck” at our hero.

Bill giggles to himself for a second, takes a breath, and then lets out a devastating holler about “Fuck you, you cunt! Oh, I can shout at the performer cause I’m drunk and I got a cunt! I want you to get a fucking soul!”

Shit, man, I ain’t never heard Carrot Top yell at his audience about “Drunk Cunt!” and “Go see something good! Go see fucking Madonna!”

It’s nasty for sure, but immediately afterwards Bill seems genuinely remorseful. “I’m sorry folks”, he sighs. “I just don’t like having ‘you suck’ shouted at me.”

For a fella so calm and effortlessly cool in most of the available recordings, it’s something of a shock to see him explode so spectacularly. The show becomes a slagging match between performer and audience, with Bill threatening to leave on several occasions and staying put only because the crowd seem to support his decision.

It’s a fairly scary performance, for sure, but one of those “car-crash” spectacles that a motherfucker can’t help but be fascinated by.

You also might try and get hold of Ninja Bachelor Party, Bill’s kung-fu spoof, and also the pilot for the never-commissioned British TV show, Counts Of The Netherworld.

Well, folks, that should keep you fairly busy this next while, is what, so I don’t wanna hear a damn word out of you, or no motherfucking supper is gonna be the outcome.

Thanks folks.

The Duke resides at Mondo Irlando

Contact The Duke via Electronical Email

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About The Duke

  • Bill Hicks.





    God, I miss him.

    Thank you, Duke.

  • so far i have only seen one bill hicks show and it was one of the funniest comedy shows i’ve ever seen (and i’ve seen alot)
    sadly i think he spoke the truth all too often for the majority of people – that kinda thing makes the average person feel uncomfortable

  • Shark

    Hicks was a God among men.

    The beauty (and sadness) of his work is that the most insane, surrealistic, sci-fi-like fantasy scenarios he created HAVE ALL COME TRUE — ie. He actually didn’t go far enough in his satires; *reality exceeded his wildest nightmares.

    Even Bill would be shocked by the extent that we have digressed and de-evolved.

    *I think contemporary news/culture is making it tough to be a satirist these days; none of us can top the unintended humor, absurdity, and insanity of Reality.

  • Shark

    Oh, and Duke, thanks for the reviews, but you probably should have added a disclaimer.

    “99% of you either won’t get it and/or will be so incredibly offended that you ask for you money back.

    In either of those cases, do us a favor and…


    No, seriously…




  • Eric Olsen

    okay, so what happened to him?

  • Eric, Bill died of pancreatic cancer in, i believe, 94. which is a damn shame, but also bitterly ironic, considering he spent so much of his career yacking about the virtues of smoking.
    “Hi, i’m bill hicks and im dead now…”

  • FYI, Rykodisc brought out two new Hicks discs a couple years ago with the help of his estate. One of them “Flying saucer tour” is of a BAD show in Pittsburgh. Hicks gets heckled, heckles back, and eventually loses it on the crowd. While I cannot vouch that this is the same “LOSES IT” show the Duke refers to, it’s pretty darn great.

    Eric and all and sundry, I cannot recommend highly enough “Relentless,” for its creepily presicent Gulf War I material. Listening to that album over again last year invited feelings of vertigo and deja vu, especially the parts about we having one soldier over there winning the war by himself using only a weapons catalog… “hey… what’s G-12 do?….*foooooosh…..BOOM*… Cool! Pull up G-13!” and the stuff about Bush I suddenly being all belligerent.

  • Eric Olsen

    Thanks guys – that is unfortunate.

    It can now be stated: smoking is bad.

  • Johno, the flying saucer tour and love,laughter and truth releases that rykodisc released are worth grabbing for sure, but no, they are not to be confused with the Loses It show, but who knows, maybe they’ll get round to giving it an official release at some point.

  • Shark

    Gulf War I + Bush Sr. is a bizarre prelude to the current debacle, and almost every word still rings true.

    “Man, those Iraqis got some awesome weapons.”

    “How do you know?”

    “We looked at the receipts…”

  • Also, theres a video entitled United States Of Advertising available on the Sacred Cow website mentioned in the article, which is also very interesting, and i believe it was Bill’s last interview also.

  • I have “The Sane Man” video, and it is very good. Unfortunately, with Bill dying 10 years ago at age 33, the control of his estate and copyrights were split between his parents, and his manager, putting a lot of material into legal and distribution limbo (and thanks to Sonny Bono, we only have to wait 65 more years until it enters the public domain).

    There was a tenth anniversay appreciation of his career in The Guardian, but over the past couple of months it has disappeared in a site re-organization, so here’s an older article.

  • Brady

    thanks for paying homage to the only man deserving of Lenny Bruce and Richard Pryor’s torch – Bill Fucking Hicks. So much has been said about him so I won’t ramble, but what a perverse, insightful, perscipacious wit – man. Bill was too punk rock for the mainstream to ever understand him so his lack of fame was a fait acompli. However, he still would have given the world much to be afraid of (in a good way of course) had he lived beyond his way too short 30 some years. I still miss him like all of his fans do. Goddamm we need him right now: Just like we need Jesus, John Lennon, Malcom X, and Gahndi. Peace, Brady.

  • like so many great artists, Bill Hicks is probably more famous now than he ever was when he was alive.
    Belive it or not, many of my mates from uni know who he is (was), and appreciate the humour (i live in england, that’s what might surprise you)

  • Jadester, thats not strange at all. I live in northern ireland, man. Bill had much more of an audience in the UK than he did in america, which is, granted, quite odd. But there you go.

  • pi

    [personal attack deleted]

  • heh. thanks pi. I’ll take that as a reference to the chigago show, and not a comment with regards the Duke’s abilities, which are scientifically proven to not suck, but, in fact, to rule.

  • Bill Hicks ripped off my act. Lock & load covered the same topics as Love, laughter and truth and was out 4 years beforehand. Bill Hicks is too dry, he wasn’t even funny. Just had intelligent ideas. But when it comes to delivery, I am your man.

    Who does the smokin’ out of a hole in your neck bit better huh??? That’s right, bow to my altar. My impressions were heartfelt and real. If only I had been a protestant comedian i’d have made it easier.

  • [personal attack deleted]

  • surely the fuck not THE denis leary.

    Cool. Although i doubt it.

    Anyhow, love laughter and truth was recorded quite a while before lock n’ load, even if it didn’t appear until a couple years ago, what with the felal being dead and all.

    Also, you ruled in demolition man.

  • I thought I was better in Judgement Night myself. And no, I’m not the real Leary you fuck, i’m a hicks loving mick who doesn’t believe in praising my idols, rather just take the piss.

  • i’m a hicks loving mick who doesn’t believe in praising my idols

    if only those fellas hada taken the same route with the golden bovine. Moses would never have gotten so pissed off had that been the case.

    And i knew that you werent mr leary, but just in case, man. Can never be too sure, especially where that plagarisin cat is concerned.

    Duke De Mondo
    “a fuck”

  • Very nice of you to acknowledge that you are a fuck, true fucks don’t generally admit it.

    I am aware of your work across the net, especially on aicn, and find your taste best suited to mine. Especially when it comes to cannibal movies. I shall spy on you some more.

    ‘I think mama cass said it best when she said hyukffffaaaaaghkoekkoekkoeksplutter…’

    Now you see why I am a superior comic to a man with the most insightful and educated views ever. Somebody throw water over me, I’m in danger of becoming too hilarious here.

    Next I want you to review GG Allin’s ‘HATED’. Should you accept, I will have more tasks. Emmanuelle and the last cannibals must come somewhere. Beal feirste must have some kooky shops.

  • Dennis, nice to hear from you again.

    Ok then – Click the links and so on;

    I already did Review Hated as well as the astounding GG concert DVD, Raw, Brutal, Rough And Bloody.

    As to Emmanuel, i have yet to see that, but i did a piece on D’Amato’s earlier Anthropohagus The Beast and, if you haven’t already, you might be interested in this article concerning Mountain Of The Cannibal God

    Phew. I was gonna email you all that nonsense, but you’ve only gone and not left an address! Ah well.

    Oh, and thank you for the kind words. Makes a fella feel good. oh, and this right here;

    “Somebody throw water over me, I’m in danger of becoming too hilarious here.” was, ironically enough, very funny. 🙂

  • Well done my man. Interesting reads there.

    I’d love to hear your opinion on:
    Meet the Feebles
    Zombie Creeping Flesh
    The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari
    Dennis Pennis

    I’m not the type who leaves addresses. I’m usually content with leaving very lame, very vague comments.

    If its any consolation you are the second best reviewer of all ever.

    See what you did to me?

  • Eric Olsen

    Denis, what are you working on now? Playing anywhere tonight? Have you compromised your edge for mainstream acceptance?

    Whoever you are, you’re right about the Duke, though.

  • Last time I knew I was doing anything, they got me to sit quiet while a string of B-list celebrities got to insult me in public. Hey, they even made a DVD out of it.

    I think I got what I deserved. Obviously I still suck.

    If you want a Denis that’s good however, go get a (VHS-no DVD yet i’m afraid) copy of Dennis Pennis-R.I.P for the crudest humour youre ever likely to see.

  • BTW: If you think I’m a hack, take a look at George Carlin. He kills a joke, and then flogs it.

    Hyup Laois!

  • oh, come now man. George Carlin can be very funny. His delivery is a little wooden at times though.
    Very funny in Jersey Girl, he was.

    Also, thanks for the kind words, and the review suggestions are duly noted. (i tried to watch Meet The Feebles, but gave up after twenty minutes. And Zombie Creeping Flesh is wonderful.)

  • Eric Olsen

    I love Carlin’s story-telling back in the ’70s and ’80s, sort of a counterculture Bill Cosby, but over the years he has grown ever more bitter and lost the balance he had between the humane and the cynical.

  • Eric, i totally agree. There’s a lack of heart in Carlin’s later stuff, a real nastiness that i find it hard to laugh with. The stuff he did about anorexia (“rich cunt don’t wanna eat? fuck her”) was really stomach-churningly unpleasant.

  • Ah Duke, come now. How could you not find Meet the Feebles one of the most entertaining movies (of all) ever? The junkie croc was great.

    Zombie Creeping Flesh had a fairly solid and funky soundtrack too If I remember.

    How about you review Shaolin Soccer? Might not be weird enough for ya. Society is pretty mainstream but weird enough for ya. Man Bites Dog too, but something tells me you did that already.

  • Review Thriller: A Cruel Picture.

    You’ll frickin love it.