Monday, February 24, 2014

WATCH: The five greatest Bill Hicks moments

As the 20th anniversary of the death of Bill Hicks approaches we look back on his five greatest moments.

By Ian Dunt

Wednesday sees the 20th anniversary of the death of Bill Hicks, a fascinating, complex political figure who became one of Britain's all-time favourite comedians.

Hicks was always most famous here in Britain, where his brand of furious indignation and outrageous sexually-imbued asides was more readily accepted than in his native America. In the two decades since his death, he has been elevated to an almost messianic figure among his fans, who often resort to the stock phrase that he was "right about everything".

He most certainly was not. There is a nasty line of machismo in his work – often veering on homophobia – which modern audiences might find unappetising. He resorts quite often to conspiracy theory and his oft-quoted thoughts on how 'life is just a ride' come close to the vague metaphors of new age spiritualists.

Hick's appeal is less about the specific content of what he had to say than his refusal to be co-opted into a corporate world where brands and advertising play a greater role than integrity. His anger has been shared in the decades since his death by millions of young people, who yearn for more meaning than their career opportunities seem to offer.

Below are five of his greatest moments available online, in no particularly order. Most film available of the comedian is from a couple of gigs late in his career. There is better stuff available on audio, but here I've stuck to video. I've left out some of the more grotesque moments, like his evisceration of Rush Limbaugh or the long, strange journeys with goatboy, because even with a warning at the top you can't put it anywhere near a mainstream website. Even then, proceed with caution: these clips contain swearing, graphic sexual descriptions and views on drugs and politics which some people might find objectionable.

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