Bill Hicks is a name I’d heard many times over the years but I never really knew much about him other than having seen a few snippets of footage of his stand-up comedy routines. I vaguely knew that he was an angry comedian and that he had issues with drugs and alcohol but that’s basically where my knowledge ended.
He died of cancer in 1994, and a few months ago I saw the trailer for a documentary of his short life, and I was hooked by it and knew I had to see the full film. Then, by chance, someone I had just met posted on Facebook that she had two tickets to the documentary screening at the New Zealand International Film Festival.
I quickly bought the tickets off her as there was something about the film that made me feel like I was meant to see it at that moment in time. The documentary entitled, American: The Bill Hicks Story, is based on interviews with his family and friends, and done in a way that you don’t even see their faces till near the end, as it’s told with photos and videos up to that point.
I found this film so powerful, that by the end of it, I had tears streaming down my face and for a good 5 minutes afterwards I couldn’t talk as I tried to fight back the tears. Only two films have ever done this to me before, and having a documentary do this reminds me how amazing they can be.
Too often people say when someone dies that the world has lost someone important, but I think when the world loses someone important it’s someone who has or could have brought huge change to the whole world and not just a small community or a family.
The reason I was so cut up after watching this film was that, in my humble opinion, when Bill Hicks passed away in 1994 the world genuinely lost someone it needed and really is lacking in his absence.
He was a man who had very strong views on the destruction of society by the people in power and this came out with expressive anger on stage that really is unrivalled by any other stand-up comedian let alone ANY media correspondence.
The fact his legacy grows and grows with each year is a testament to that, and though others may disagree with my thoughts on this, I think his overall message will get even stronger over the coming years.
10 out of 10 from me!!!