2:30 PM 6 April 2012 Good Friday Nunhead
They say one shouldn’t “speak ill of the dead”. If you can’t speak ill of the dead then who can you speak ill of? Try saying a bad word about anyone living in England and you get sued for libel.
I just read that yesterday would have been American comic Bill Hicks’ 50th birthday had he lived. If I had died in 1994 – like Bill Hicks – I’d be famous by now.
That is trash, of course. Bill Hicks wasn’t born in April and I hadn’t even gotten the nerve to do stand-up until September 1993 – and even given another 20 years I doubt I’ll be famous.
Bill Hicks wasn’t all that.
That is the running theme in my life. I think: “He aint all that.” And of all the themes it is the one I like the least.
There are five themes in comedy: He aint all that. We aint all that. They aint all that. It aint all that. And the hardest to pull off: You aint all that. Point your finger at an audience and see if you can get a laugh out of that.
Bill Hicks was to Britain what George Galloway was to Iraq.
George Galloway bigging up Iraq or Palestine is going to get him elected in Bradford West but most of the English people don’t think of themselves as evil and actually went into Iraq to help – misguided as that may have been or dishonest as it may seem – and they don’t want England run down. You can trash England amongst each other but they don’t want the country trashed in Baghdad, Tehran or Bradford West.
Same thing in America. It is one thing to be an American bad-mouthing America to Americans. It is another thing to tell it to the English who lap that stuff up. Yes, I wouldn’t have thought it after we are all special with each other.
That is why Bill Hicks is huge in Britain. He told the British what they wanted to hear. He did they aint all that in the UK about America.
He did the same in America. He’d tell his audiences how stupid people were in other places, say, the waffle waitress in Tennessee who Bill Hicks poked fun of – Tennesseans aint all that – if there was a waffle waitress who actually said to him “What you reading for?” – she aint all that – even the most humble of workers value reading more so than a lot of educated people who actually think they know it all. And there is nothing wrong with being a waffle waitress. As someone who barely works I know that all work is noble.
And he advocated the assassination of the culturally unhip – unhip to Bill Hicks and his audience. Had Billy Ray Cyrus had been shot, as Bill Hicks joked, we’d have no Miley Cyrus. He should have known that. Not nice and that is pure he aint all that.
The thing is: You don’t do she aint all that when the person in question obviously aint all that. She’s just a poor waffle waitress trying to get through life.
But that isn’t the reason God gave Bill Hicks cancer
Bill Hicks was like Jesus. He died for our sins – the sins of smoking tobacco and weed.
He is forever in photos smoking – or of him claiming credit for the whole comedy smoking persona – not Denis Leary – of him trying to make cigarette smoking cool 40 years after smoking was proved to be a killer. All the bits about drugs and smoking reefer. Smoking is everywhere in Bill Hicks’ life. God had to do something.
See his friend – the 69-year-old comic Ron Shock – talking of the day Bill Hicks died and how Ron Shock does a huge bong on that day – the most damaging form of smoking – in Bill Hicks’ memory. In the video Shock sounds like he’s swallowed the whole bong and not just smoked a bowl – he’s dying too and has exploratory surgery the next day.
You won’t want to smoke anything, not even an salmon, after watching Ron Shock. And it is sad cause I have watched some of his stand-up videos and he made me laugh and this dude doesn’t look like he is going to make it. No one does, but he’s not gonna make it sooner than most. I pray I am wrong.
What is Bill Hicks’s greatest legacy? “Bill Hicks – he smoked and he died of cancer”.
You say he died of pancreatic cancer not lung cancer? Bill Hicks might say: Does the waffle waitress in Tennessee or Tunbridge know the difference? Lung cancer is a slow killer and God had to act fast. And cancer is cancer.
We’ll never know how many lives his death has saved. I salute Bill Hicks for bringing us the message that smoking kills. And I salute God for taking one of his own to save others.
Now I pray that I don’t become famous enough for God to make a lesson of me or that God starts thinking: That Lewis Schaffer – he aint all that.
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