When it comes to stand-up comedy, there are few comedians admired more than Bill Hicks. While he wasn’t a fully idolized comedian when he was alive, in death Hicks has taken on an almost mythological stance amongst those that love him. The subjects he tackled were universal and (unfortunately) still ring as true today as they did when he walked the earth – corrupt governments, the marketing machine, and the war on drugs. The names of the players might’ve changed but the story remains the same.
If you were to perform a search online, you’ll find no shortage of clips of material culled from any of the late comedians’stand-up specials, rare interviews, or dispatching hecklers.
But a slightly deeper dive and you’ll start to enter a world of a subculture of fan-made mini-docs that almost serve as manifestos with Hicks’ voice as the background for whatever topic of their choosing – assassination, the Illuminati, the government, or conspiracy theories (Bill Hicks is Alex Jones is a big one).
Why is the legacy of Bill Hicks used in this manner? Like most people, Hicks was a complex man. That complexity is what attracted people to him. But it’s also what allows for them to project their ideas onto him. He’s big, boisterous and has grand ideas that inspire.
The other unfortunate reason that with Hicks no longer with us, he can’t speak for himself on these topics anymore. He’d of course have an opinion on these topics, but would it have evolved? We’ll unfortunately never know. So these fans end up carrying the torch and use it to speak for whatever narrative they desire. Of course the other downside is that the legacy of Hicks could disappear completely. A far larger travesty.