Controversial, brilliant, profane and prophetic.There are few stand-ups who made an impact on the comedy world like Bill Hicks. Yet, chances are you’ve never heard of him.
Hicks died in 1994 at age 32 without ever achieving much fame in North America. However, his comedy was huge in the U.K., where more relaxed broadcast standards allowed him to reach a wider audience. So it’s unsurprising that the remarkable new documentary, American: The Bill Hicks Story, comes from British filmmakers Matt Harlock and Paul Thomas, who hope to bring long deserved attention to the influential comic. Through hours of interviews with family and friends, as well as a near limitless supply of performance footage and photographs, the filmmakers created a fittingly powerful tribute Hicks. The pair told Metro that audiences seem to welcome his comedy now more than ever.
“We’re always asked questions like, ‘How did I know about this guy?’ or ‘Why has no one else taken his place?’” said Thomas. “People like Bill are dearly needed.”
Hicks’ openly skeptical and satirical worldview feels more comfortable now in the era of The Daily Show.
“Even though he died 17 years ago, what Bill was saying was in some ways timeless,” explained Harlock.
“Not only is Bill’s work still relevant today but it’s even more so because we still haven’t learned lessons from the problems he identified like the fact that you don’t have to believe the things that you’re told by your government, your church, or advertising. You can make up your own mind.”