Today a young man on acid realized that all matter is merely energy condensed to a slow vibration, that we are all one consciousness experiencing itself subjectively, there is no such thing as death, life is only a dream, and we are the imagination of ourselves. Heres Tom with the Weather.
-Late comedian BILL HICKS offering a”positive drug story”
In high school a friend of mine let me borrow a burnt CD with some Bill Hicks (1961-1994) material on it, which I only vaguely remembered years later when my roommate called a conversation we were having to a halt and proceeded to show me some of Hicks’ bits on youtube. Our conversation had been about the lies and pointlessness of the government, the imbecility of many Americans, our culture’s rejection of creativity, censorship, mediocrity: pretty much everything that was in Bill Hicks wheelhouse. As I watched bit after bit, literally noticing my body get lighter – no more to bear the weight of all these isolating thoughts alone – a smile came to my face that was an unconscious reaction to being pulled from one stage of consciousness to the next.
Over the next few days I had watched the above clip as well as every other Hicks-related thing I could find on youtube and you know what? I’ve been better off ever since. Hicks is one of those very special breed of stand-up comics that that by-and-large forego “ha-ha” jokes – though there are plenty of them, as well – instead preferring to craft sets out of back-to-back-to-back-to-back nuggets of insight into The-Way-Things-Really-Are (think: George Carlin, Dave Chappelle, and Louis CK), the Political Prophet-Philosopher That You Could Laugh At. Sure, he wanted people to laugh but he knew that many of his fans went to see him and bought his albums to be encouraged, to experience the same camaraderie as I had felt, and up until his death, he delivered. I am confident that the certain familial sense that some of us feel when we hear Bill Hicks comes from relating to Hicks’ upbringing; he was raised by Southern Baptist parents from whom he rebelled very early by starting to do comedy at the age of 15, and many of us were raised some sort of Protestant. It is in this way that I think of Hicks as a prophet, the voice that cried out in America’s mediated wilderness against America, against America’s self-conception, and trying to speak something True against the Status Quo Narrative. Thank God for all the drugs and rock ‘n roll that Hicks did which led him to his enlightenment.
Though Hicks died much too young (at age 32, of pancreatic cancer), the influence that he had on the world of comedy cannot be measured though if you want an idea see the Legacy section of his Wikipedia page. Netflix is currently running a 2010 documentary called American: The Bill Hicks Story, which is totally worth a watch if you would like more on Hicks than only this blogs-worth.