Bill Hicks – The Indelible Print
Bill Hicks – The Indelible Print
Whether you prefer to remember him as the weird and wonderful “Goat Boy”, the maverick “cowboy hero”, the enigmatic “dark poet” or simply as the definitive outlaw comic, Bill Hicks drew a creative line in the sand that no one has surpassed since his death in 1994.
His unique blend of humour, social observation and political critique heralded a new dawn in stand-up comedy and compelled audiences to pause from the distractions and demands of an increasingly challenging world to reflect upon the very nature of life as they knew it. Despite his untimely death over twenty years ago at the age of 32, Bill Hicks continues to attract a following of loyal and dedicated fans in a way that no other comedian has. The universal quality of his comedy renders his “message” timeless.
Touching on themes that continue to offer a direct relevance to today’s world, Hicks’comedy draws heavily on basic but core universal principles – truth, integrity, freedom, equality, and arguably most fundamental of all, love. Whether it be freedom of choice and expression, the perils of hypocrisy, spiritual enlightenment, individuality or political corruption, Bill Hicks held up a philosophical mirror and urged the world to reflect upon the particular reality it found itself in, and the degree to which that reality may or may not be authentic.
Similar to that of a layman preacher, his savage but tender style of delivery, designed to awaken audiences from the trance of corporate conditioning and commercially fueled illusion, held the promise of enlightenment and clarity for those willing to come along for the ride. For those who can truly hear the truth of his words, there is a recognition that beneath a seemingly wild and relentless exterior beats the heart of a free spirit hell-bent on helping the world to step into its rightful power.
Hicks’ relationship with his audience could be described as being akin to a long-term tumultuous love-affair. When his audiences were open, fearless and accepting, the chemistry between them could be intoxicating, and each could walk away from the experience having changed for the better. When audiences appeared to meet his message with indifference, detachment or sometimes even judgement however, the pain of what appeared to be a world blind to its own suffering could become too much, and a vital spark would inflame. Arguably, the latter scenario often provided Hicks with his most productive backdrop, and fuelled the untamed heart that undoubtedly lay behind his words to push his message to even greater heights. History has proven that voices like those of Hicks not only deserve to be heard, but long after the voice has faded, demand to be immortalised, so that the world may continue to bathe in its reverberations and further its conversation.
Whatever your predisposition or loyalty, one thing cannot be disputed. Bill Hicks left an indelible print on those lucky enough to watch him in wonder and awe from the sidelines, or fortunate enough to have the opportunity to walk directly alongside him on his “never-ending ride into the setting sun”. His truth and integrity live on, and ring in the ears of all who have the inclination to listen.
His shoes will never be filled, but his footprints continue.