Bill Hicks: Revelations (1993 TV Special)
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Revel in an all-out comedic assault and maybe you might get on the space ships too.
Well you should watch this, either you'll get it and love it or miss the point. It isn't a wild ride of none stop jokes, its a more thoughtful almost introspective comedy video. Almost sad in places, he doesn't look well.
I'm afraid I didn't pay for it, I downloaded it. Its worth buying if you can find a copy though and as soon as its on DVD i'll get me one!
The only problem i have with this performance is that i'm always hit with a tinge of sadness in his closing words.
Quite ironically Bill is one of 'the good guys'he speaks about he himself one of those who stops to tell us not to live in fear that life is just a ride and cruelly as with the other truth-sayers that came before nature robbed us of him!!!
At the time he was tragically struck down, Hicks was at his creative peak. A thinking comedian, more Voltaire than Carrot Top, his act challenged his audience's beliefs about politics, religion, sex and popular culture. Add to that a decade spent working hostile audiences in bad comedy clubs, which polished his stand-up comedy skills and made him extremely comfortable in front of any sort of crowd imaginable.
After a decade spent in obscurity in his native USA, he had become a popular and respected performer in the UK, which he toured regularly after 1991. The British crowds welcomed Hicks' topical humor, and it is in this context that he recorded Revelations in November 1992.
Hicks' material, although heavily based on current events of the early 90's, has aged gracefully. Revelations was filmed only days after Bill Clinton's election and Hicks is obviously thrilled to see the end of twelve years of fundamentalist conservatism. He also goes back to the first Gulf War (the source of some of his greatest material), the LA Riots and the JFK assassination. He also attacks what he sees as case examples of the lousy state of American culture, such as American Gladiators or Basic Instinct, and the marketing machine behind them.
Despite often leaning towards misanthropy, Bill Hicks' message remained optimistic and positive. His parting words ('It's Just A Ride') remains one of his best and most oft-quoted allegories, describing as a poet would his view of the meaning of life.
Altogether, Revelations is Bill Hicks at the peak of his powers as a comic/poet/philosopher/goatboy. It is the most compelling proof on film as to why, twelve years after his untimely death, his star is still rising.
The most honest, brilliant, and insightful act you have ever seen. I recommend this to every American. RIP Bill.
This is not vintage Hicks and I found his earlier routines to be funnier. Still you get to see Bill Hicks angry and misanthropic as he rails against the hypocrisy of the church going conservative right establishment in the United States.
There are routines on JFK, the first Gulf War and pop stars of the time enjoying their 15 minutes of fame once they serviced Satan's tool. If he was alive I wonder what he would make of the continued success of Marky Mark Wahlberg. Hicks is spiteful towards marketing men and as always he talks about drugs.
In his latter years Hicks enjoyed touring Britain where he found a willing audience with his free thinking brand of comedy. However this show lacked focus to me and some of the material was familiar as well.
I've discovered Revelations during the second Iraq war. What made it even funnier was that all remarks about Bush Sr. could have been transferred to then current president - Bush Jr. There were other, more universal jokes, which were a constant part of Bill's material: Kennedy assassination, quitting smoking and religion.
There have been a few people who pushed stand-up comedy this far beyond making people laugh and Bill Hicks was arguably the best among them. His gigs were social and political commentary which, in turn, has closed some doors during his carrier. In Revelations we saw him in a great shape and in front of an audience which he guided masterfully.
Unfortunately, what seemed to be a breaking point of Bill's career happened shortly before he passed away.
I'm not entirely sure yet if he was a total genius or one of the 5 best comics ever like some have purported him to be. But on the evidence of Revelations and Relentless (and, even more-so, his half-hour One Night Stand appearance on HBO in 1990), he was a genuine talent, able to tackle all the big topics of the day and just in general, which makes the bulk of it last years on.