Seventeen years ago today Bill Hicks, a legend and visionary of comedy, died of pancreatic cancer. He was 32.
His ribald comedy style was unfiltered with a sniper's aim on the heads of politicos and pop culture puffs. Hicks viewed the comedian as the “antithesis of the mob mentality” whose job is to say “wait a minute” and bring everything back to the moment. Had Hicks lived, continuing his impassioned despise for Billy Ray Cyrus (“I will be hosting, titled 'Let's Hunt and Kill Billy Ray Cyrus. I think it's fairly
self-explanatory. Each week we let the Hounds of Hell loose and chase
the jar-head, no talent, cracker-idiot all over the globe till I finally
catch that fruity little ponytail of his, pull him to his Chippendale's
knees, put a shotgun in his mouth and 'pow.'”), we might not be enduring the career of Miley Cyrus.
While Reagan was declaring a War On Drugs and Tipper Gore was waging war on censorship, Hicks was having his most inspired moments with bits like “I loved when Bush
came out and said, 'We are losing the war against drugs.' You know what
that implies? There's a war being fought, and the people on drugs are winning it” and “They tell us, 'Rock'n'roll is the devil's music.' Well, let's say we know that rock is the devil's music, and we know that it is, for sure … At least he fuckin' jams!
If it's a choice between eternal Hell and good tunes, and eternal
Heaven and New Kids on the fuckin' Block … I'm gonna be surfin' on the
lake of fire, rockin' out.”
Hunter S. Thompson said, “Buy the ticket. Take the ride,” but Hicks had far more to tell regarding the nature of that ride.