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Creator: Bill Hicks

See, I think drugs have done some good things for us. I really do, and if you don't think drugs have done good things for us, do me a favor. Go home tonight and take all your albums and all your tapes and all your CDs and burn 'em, 'cause you know what? The musicians who made all that great music that's enhanced your lives throughout the years? R-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-real fuckin' high on drugs.

William Melvin Hicks (December 16, 1961 — February 26, 1994) was an American stand-up comedian, born in Georgia and raised in Texas from the age of 7. He began his stand-up career in the late 1970s, and continued until his death from pancreatic cancer.

Hicks' caustic style of observational comedy focused mostly on his low opinion of society and the media, with venomous attacks on politicians, but he also covered his own personal habits and problems, most notably his addiction to cigarettes and psychedelic experiences.

He has a number of high-profile fans, including John Cleese, Bill Bailey, Richard Jeni, George Carlin, Warren Ellis, Henry Rollins, and the band Tool. Hicks also made a posthumous appearance in an issue of Preacher.

A documentary film about his life, entitled American: The Bill Hicks Story was released in 2010.

Don't mention Denis Leary to a fan of Hicks. Let's leave it at that.

YMMV page here.


Hicks and his comedy provide examples of the following:

  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: And, damn, was he bitter about that.
    Hitler had Eva Braun/Manson had Squeaky Fromme/Ted Bundy got lots of dates/I wonder what I'm doin' wrong
  • Anti-Love Song: "Chicks Dig Jerks", quoted in the previous item.
  • Atomic F-Bomb/Cluster F-Bomb/Precision F-Strike: Hicks' routines were salty, and covered all the F tropes with gusto, as the quotes on this page demonstrate.
  • Author Filibuster: Hicks' personal politics and philosophy informed much of his act.
  • Berserk Button: Don't heckle Bill Hicks. Just... don't. NSFW.
  • Black Comedy: "Rush Limbaugh munches scat!" and his jokes about abortion, just for starters. He even joked about his own cancer.
  • Brick Joke: Rant in E-Minor has a bit about Gideons at one point, wondering where the hell they come from. Towards the end of the show:
    Entire nations have flaked and crusted in the hair around my navel... maybe even Gidea!
  • Careful With That Axe: He does this occasionally for effect. For example, from the routine "Gays in the Military":
    Anyone... DUMB ENOUGH... to want to be in the military... should be allowed! [...] AREN'T Y'ALL FUCKIN' HIRED KILLERS?! SHUT UP!
  • California Collapse: Discussed in the "Arizona Bay" routine.
  • Conspiracy Theorist: Especially regarding...
    • Who Shot JFK? — Hicks strongly disbelieved the official version.
  • Covert Pervert: How he perceived Rush Limbaugh.
  • Cultural Cringe: He never missed an opportunity to bash his native America.
  • Dead Artists Are Better: "PLAY FROM YOUR FUCKING HEAAAAAART!!!!!!"
  • Deadpan Snarker
  • Deep South: One of his favorite targets.
  • Draco in Leather Pants: invoked This was his view on how some people might treat Satan.
    Female Impression: What a great butt!
    Bill: He's Satan!
    Female Impression: You don't know him like I do.
    Bill: He's the Prince of Darkness!
    Female Impression: I can change him.
  • Driven to Suicide: Invoked in the bit about Jay Leno realizing how far his career has fallen while interviewing Joey Lawrence and shooting himself on-stage.
  • Drugs Are Bad: Inverted, bigtime.
    • Hicks routinely did material on the benefits of using marijuana and hallucinogens, going so far as a "families should trip together" bit and likening the effects of mushrooms to a religious experience.
      Shit, man, not only do I think pot should be legalized... I think it should be mandatory.
      I took what Terence McKenna refers to as a heroic dose... (audience laughs) Five dried grams... (audience ooohs) Yeah, my third eye was squeegeed quite cleanly.
    • He also had a problem with the Moral Guardians involved with drugs:
      Why is the drug czar in this country—well, let's go back; Why do we have a "drug czar" in this country, A. B, why is he a cop? Why do they put drug users in jail? They're sick, they're not criminals. Sick people don't get better in prison.
  • Fan Disillusionment: A theory Hicks "claimed" explained Judas Priest's apparent desire to kill off their fans.
  • Fan Disservice: There's a segment on the Revelations show in which Hicks indulges in his 'Goatboy' persona for about ten minutes... during which, the audience is very, very noticeably squicked out.
  • Fridge Logic: Invoked as part of his comedy. When recalling the story about Judas Priest apparently putting subliminal messages in their music telling people to kill themselves, he then asked, "WHAT performer wants his fuckin' audience dead?! I don't see the long-term gain here!" Funnily enough, Judas Priest themselves raised the same question, and ironically didn't even write the song in question (it was a cover of "Better By You, Better Than Me", by Spooky Tooth).
  • Gilligan Cut
    A few guys cornered me outside after my last show. They said "We're Christians, and we take offense at your show." I said, "Forgive me." Later, as I was hangin' from the tree...
  • Girl on Girl Is Hot: Invoked on more than one occasion.
  • Good Smoking, Evil Smoking: Hicks had a very dim view of nonsmokers and their behavior(s) around smokers, although he also poked fun at his own smoking.
  • Higher Understanding Through Drugs: One of his central themes.
  • Iconic Song Request: A heckler repeatedly shouting "Freebird" triggered one of his most infamous rants (see Kill All Humans below).
  • I Was Young and Needed the Money: He claimed this was the only possible excuse you can have to do commercials (apart from Willie Nelson, who got a pass for his $24 million tax bill).
  • Irony: In one routine, Bill openly brags about all the great technology designed to save people with cancer, whilst declaring that people dying from nothing were screwed.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Hard as it is to believe, Hicks really did hold out hope for humanity and felt it could accomplish great things if people stopped living in fear of their own full potential.
  • Kill All Humans: "Hitler had the right idea, he was just an underachiever! Kill 'em all, Adolf, all of 'em! Jew, Mexican, American, white, kill 'em all! Start over, the experiment didn't work!"
  • Misanthrope Supreme: "I'm tired of this back-slapping, aren't-humanity-neat bullshit. We're a virus with shoes, okay? That's all we are."
  • Murder Simulators: "WHAT performer wants his audience dead?!?"
  • My Dad Can Beat Up Your Dad: "When?"
  • No Sell: Many of his contemporaries were in awe of his ability to completely ignore and outright revel in some of his early crowd's indifference to his style of comedy (before he gained his loyal following). Joe Rogan is fond of telling a story about a time at The Comedy Store where the crowd was not at all into him, and he blithely went into a five-minute long gag of The Devil shitting out Geraldo Rivera that was mostly grunts and strains. Half the crowd walked out, meanwhile his fellow comedians in the back were dying.
  • Overly-Long Gag:
    • Lampshaded: "Okay Bill, stop with the Goatboy thing, we get it alright. It's kinda amusing but... okay."
    • "The man that brings me my scarves and my water, Mr. Charlie Hodge."
  • Porn Stash: Hicks joked about having one that was sizable.
    You should see my video rental records. Porno movies and video games. What am I, thirteen? I was looking at a receipt I had, for Clam Lappers and Sonic the Hedgehog. That was one weekend. That was Easter weekend. That's a hell of a way to celebrate the resurrection of Christ, with Clam Lappers and Sonic-fucking-Hedgehog.
  • Public Service Announcement: Hicks wasn't impressed by the government's anti-drugs message...and that they didn't mention that drugs hadn't managed to kill Keith Richards.
  • Refuge in Audacity: Most of Hicks' material lives and breathes this trope.
    If you work in advertising or marketing... kill yourself.
    *crowd laughs*
    No, seriously. This is not a joke. You're thinking, there's gonna be a joke coming — there's no fucking joke coming. You are Satan's spawn, filling the world with bile and garbage. Kill yourself.
    • To be fair he does follow up an extended series of lines like that with the killer joke (that he's been setting up from the start): "I know what all the marketing people here are thinking, (marketer impression) you know what Bill's doing? He's going after the anti-marketing dollar, that's a good market. He's very smart. He's very smart." Hicks was a genius at setting up punchlines with long, seemingly meandering set ups.
  • Running Gag:
    • Many of his rants and monologues about people he found morally detestable involved calling them "suckers of Satan's cock", often with accompanying sound effects.
    • He often bursts out in manic laughter after saying something hideously dark. On Waco:
      Anyway, the major news said that the Branch Davidians started the fire. Now I'm not mistaken, correct me if I go off the story here, and that all they did was shoot in Tear gas - yet I've seen with my own eyes (...) footage of a Bradley tank shooting fire into the compound which...isn't that odd that no major news source has picked up on that? How do you think that's newsworthy? Because that basically means that the government; from the FBI, the ATF, up to Janet Reno and including Clinton are...ummm...LIARS AND MURDERERS! HA!HA!HA!HA!HA!
  • Saying Sound Effects Out Loud: Bill was good at imitating gunshots and similar sound effects, sometimes bordering on Voice Changeling.
    • Chirping Crickets: One of his best sound effects; his impression of them was eerily accurate.
  • Sex for Product: Taken to its Logical Extreme (i.e.: camera starts with a close-up on a beautiful woman's face, pulling back to reveal she's naked and masturbating, and then the words appear: Drink Coke!)
  • Sexier Alter Ego: Randy Pan the Goatboy (Bill's sex-crazed alter ego who happens to be half goat) who can seduce anyone with a pulse, and goes for Anything That Moves.
  • Smug Straight Edge: How he saw non-smokers as a smoker.
  • Take That: Bill wouldn't exist without it. He called his routine "comedy of hate", and one track on Rant in E-Minor is called "You're Wrong Night" for a reason.
  • Take That, Audience!: Hicks would frequently shoot barbs at his crowds, some joking, some not so much.
    *to someone near the stage* How many packs a day do you smoke? *barely audible answer* A pack and a half?! You little puss! Why don't you put on a dress and swish around for us? *sing-song* Pack-and-a-haaaaalf, I smoke a pack-and-a-haaaaalf... Makes me ill. I go through two lighters a day.
    How you doin' folks? Gotta bear with me folks, I'm very tired of [...] traveling, and, ah, very tired of doing comedy, and, ah, very tired of staring out at your vacant faces looking back at me, wanting me to fill your empty lives with humor you couldn't possibly think of yourselves. Good evening.
  • Tempting Fate: Again, his little routine declaring people dying from nothing were screwed, whereas people like him who smoked had "all sortsa neat gadgets lined up".
  • There Is a God!: In his album Arizona Bay, Bill responds to California sliding into the Pacific Ocean this way.
    There is a God, he loves us all so much...
  • Transparent Closet: His perception of Rush Limbaugh.
  • With Due Respect: Hicks on Ronald Reagan: "Why don't you answer a question like a man, you fucking lying, B-actor, dickweed, Mr. President-sir, with all due respect."


"Here is my final thought. (Oh, thank God.) About drugs. About alcohol. About pornography, whatever that is. What business is it of yours what I do, read, buy, see, or take into my body as long as I do not harm another human being on this planet? And for those of you out there having a little Moral Dilemma in your head about how to answer that question, I'll answer it for ya: None of your fucking business."


GrotescoRant ComedyZinnia Jones
Richard HerringRecorded and Stand-Up ComedyJessica Hynes

alternative title(s): Bill Hicks
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