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YMMV / Bill Hicks

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  • Acceptable Targets: Politicians, creationists, manufactured pop music, advertising, "inbred hillbilly fucks" and non-smokers, to name but a few.
  • Covered Up: A lingering criticism of Denis Leary is that he stole some of his early material (mainly smoking/cancer related material and "good musicians die while sucky musicians don't") from Hicks.
  • Crosses the Line Twice:
    • Most of his act, but none more so than when he brings out lolicon-loving, sex maniacal, Anti-Christ wannabe 'Goatboy', or 'Beelzebozo, The Clown from Hell.'
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    • The Rush Limbaugh routine doesn't so much cross the line twice, as perpetually accelerate back and forth over the line in a giant circle. Vulgar Humor doesn't even begin to cover the first line.
  • Fair for Its Day: His material overall. He strongly denounced a lot of the machismo that permeated American culture, but his material still sometimes fell into misogynistic or homophobic territory, and as ruthlessly as he attacked American capitalism, his material also falls into classist territory at times. Regardless, by '90s standards he was quite ahead of the curve; he's a lot less misogynistic or, for that matter, mean than many of the other popular comics of the day, and his ultimate message was that people should be more empathetic to each other (see the "It's Just a Ride" routine on the Heartwarming page).
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  • Fandom Rivalry: With Denis Leary. See Covered Up above.
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment: Jokes in 1988 about coming back around 1994 with a smoking-related illness, a tracheotomy and a voicebox: "Y'all were right, smoking's bad!"For the curious 
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff: Hicks was more well known in the United Kingdom than the USA.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • Hicks' rants about the first Persian Gulf War applied equally well to the second, right down to the name of the president. (Although the "tell me when, Lord" portion may be more a "Funny Aneurysm" Moment in the light of actual reports of W crediting his war motives to divine inspiration...)
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    • Hicks' material about how Billy Ray Cyrus shouldn't be allowed to breed.
    • His bit on George Michael, back before he came out. One line in particular went, "If money had a dick, George Michael would be a flaming faggot." Well...
    • His Rick Astley jokes are very applicable to Justin Bieber nowadays.
    • In one bit, he talks about being so sick of a particular trend, he could puke blood. Why does that sound familiar?
  • Hype Backlash: There was a show booked for the 2012 Edinburgh Fringe Festival titled "Bill Hicks Wasn't Very Good". It's Exactly What It Says on the Tin.
  • Memetic Mutation: While never a mainstream success, his effect on the stand-up comedy world is HUGE. His style is probably one of the most commonly cited as being imitated. To the point nearly every comedy club in America has graffitti in the green room saying "Stop Trying to be Hicks."
  • Misaimed Fandom: Hicks is quoted by just about every Straw Nihilist on the Web.
  • Squick: His Rush Limbaugh rant.
  • Values Dissonance: While often considered ahead of his time, Bill was also very much a product of the late 80s shock comedy scene, the kind where guys like Sam Kinison prospered. In light of the social climate today, it might be a bit jarring to experience Bill with fresh ears now - halfway between politically incorrect humor and the insightful commentary he developed a cult following for. By today's standards, bits of Bill's material simply come off like casual homophobia and mild sexism. Of course, the changing standards in comedy is just one more reason fans often wonder What Could Have Been, had he lived to see his influence grow.


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