Which is to say it’s not enough to tell us you mean it, maaaan, you have to validate those claims. And if the Good Man Bill did mean it, The Scoundrel Hicks oft-times sounded like the people he claimed to be railing on behalf of were actually the sorts of people he wouldn’t grace with the fumes off a month-old shite he’d shat with somebody else’s arse.
Considerations re: these inconsistencies and discrepancies, none of which make that stuff about the war or about getting pulled over by the cops whilst trippin’ or about smoking (you might’ve heard the Dennis Leary cover version…) or about the Kennedy assassination (which one? oh, that one) any the less exhilarating or inspiring or, y’know, funny, but which nonetheless might make for an interesting documentary on this man Bill Hicks if’n they were to be given any sort of what you might call a ‘seeing to’ by the filmmakers. These considerations, yes, clad in shoddy, ill-fitting, knock-off Thought-garb, these were the things to be found hunched about the waters of the brain-pool of the evening past, gurning at their own reflections, as myself and my beloved Ms Madisson took ourselves along Shaftsbury Avenue in London Town (“I’d hate to be a dustbin in Shaftsbury tonight…”) pursuing a picture house wherein one might spend a time in the company of American: The Bill Hicks Story.
Excited, the pair of us, yes, for it’s been a long time coming, a worthwhile Bill Hicks documentary (the Just A Ride number put together by Channel 4 a few years ago, whatever its virtues, fell someway short of being especially “comprehensive” or, indeed, “good”), and this excitement seemed to be shared by the majority of the folks wandering around the foyer, folks who would later get to hooting and applauding at the screen like as if they were sat a few streets away in the Dominion theatre near two-decades past, listening to the sound of 2000 arseholes puckering as one as this man Hicks tells a roomful of Right-On’s all about how much Goatboy loves them little girls...
Those ten excruciating, and brilliant, minutes aside (see Revelations for the visual and aural record), he was fairly mightily adored in England, and indeed Ireland, was Mr Hicks. Footage appearing near the close of American has him lamenting (in a jocular fashion, mind) the fact that a few nights prior he’d been stood before hundreds of adoring fans in a Belfast theatre -- a theatre that once hosted Oscar Wilde -- and here he is back in his own country, squinting at the damp-bowed rafters of a comedy club that probably heard its last laugh sometime around the fall of the Ottoman Empire, performing to a couple dozen folks who wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between “Bill Hicks” and a splintered doorframe.