“If anyone here is in marketing or advertising, kill yourself.” It’s one of Bill Hicks’ most quoted lines, and while you could say it’s a little harsh, you feel he’s not kidding as you listen back to his words on one of two CDs in this collection.
Peppering his material with digs at consumerism and hypocrisy might seem like easy political pot-shots, but the acerbic stand-up always remembered to keep it funny, as evinced by his follow-up line: “You know what bugs me, though, is that everyone in marketing is now thinking the same thing: ‘Oh cool, Bill’s going for that anti-marketing dollar. That’s a huge market.’”
Chances are, Bill Hicks fans already own one of his CDs or DVDs. So, would the man who preached such firebrand anticonsumerist rage want you to indulge in a double-dip of his own material?
Probably not. Which is a shame, because there’s never been a more complete record of one of comedy’s funniest, bravest and most severe practitioners.
Hicks would likely have hated the trawl through his personal collection here, that brings hours of performance footage together, including newly released audio from a show in California and an intriguing set of rare, never-before-seen early shows originally recorded on videotape.
But when even the plastic card containing an online code to download musical tracks has a drawing by Hicks decorating it, you can tell a lot of thought has gone into the package, although it would have probably made him be a little sick in his mouth...
The one exception might be the inclusion of the cult short film Ninja Bachelor Party, which stars a very young Hicks. It’s pure teenage B-movie fantasy, but as Hicks provides the voiceover for his disappointed parents you can already hear his angry-man persona taking shape.
The overriding thought, listening to the raw, furious energy bubbling behind his rants, is what he’d have made of our world today if he’d survived past 1994? That you can close your eyes and imagine him tearing the bankers a new one over the global financial crisis is this collection’s crowning achievement.
Hicks’s “comedy of hate” gets a collection that truly is essential. And that’s not an advertisement...