Friday, March 7, 2014

Another goddamned appreciation of the late, lamented Bill Hicks - By Stuart Lee

That lonesome preacher's boy poured bilious scorn over his targets back in the day. What would he have made of today's legion of hagiographers?

Illustration by David Foldvari.
Twenty years after the tragic injustice of his goddamned death, isn't it time we canonised Bill Hicks as the best goddamned stand-up comedian contemporary broadsheet newspaper critics have ever heard of? If only for belatedly providing dozens of desperate hacks and pro-celebrity columnists working in the last days of dying print media with the opportunity to crap out 1,000 words-plus of cliched lazy banality, often in curious and inexplicable mid-Atlantic idioms, in every British newspaper costing more than £1.20.

The garbled hagiographies of the last week are doubtless what Bill P Hicks would have wanted, whoever he was, I expect. I don't know. I was on a bill with him in Edinburgh some time in the early 90s, but when he started going on and on about how he hated anti-smoking legislation I mistakenly thought he was just another Denis Leary clone and went off to the bar. But not knowing anything is no bar to writing a Bill Hicks's death anniversary column, it seems. So here goes:

Hicks came. Hicks saw. Hicks poured scornful, bilious, bileful scorn. Dude! Goddamned pancreatic cancer claimed that lonesome preacher's boy child to its cancerous bosom at the dagnabbit tragic early age of 33. And broadsheet newspaper critics shan't see his like again – not in the main big four venues with the private media hospitality bars at the Edinburgh fringe, not from a press seat in the audience of a television stand-up showcase full of acts represented by the management arm of the production company that made it, not anywhere – in their lifetimes.

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