I met Bill Hicks early in his career. It was before Bill was totally on fire and shaking up the world.  I had seen him a time or two before and for some reason no one I knew could make it to the show. I distinctly remember sitting front and center at Fat Dawgs in Lubbock, Texas.  At the time no one knew how a comedy club should even be set up, so "front and center" was a good fifteen or twenty feet back from the stage, as if it were a live rock show.  Read and see more after the break.

Bill came up after rockin' the half-empty house, and asked me how I liked the set. I told him how much I loved it and we just hung out for a drink or two.  You may not realize it now, but it was the perfect fan encounter.  When you get a chance to meet one of your favorite performers you will often "gush too much" and embarrass them, or on the flip side the encounter will be lacking in someway that will leave disappointed.  Bill hadn't reached his pinnacle yet, and I hadn't reached my full level of hero worship yet, so it was just "two guys hanging out" which in retrospect is pretty awesome.

Bill Hicks: American has just hit d.v.d, Netflix and most of your other distribution points. It is a must see for Hicks fans. It's an insightful look at why the person did the humor he did and how tragic it was that he was not bigger in his home country.  Should it be your "introduction" to Bill Hicks"?  Maybe, maybe not.  Your introduction should be to take in one of his old comedy specials with an open mind.  He does include a lot of topical humor from the time, but it's real easy to substitute the wars from then into the wars of the present and most of his topics are so universal as to be timeless.  So, take in a comedy special or bit, then take a look at "the man behind the curtain" with Bill Hicks: American.

The thing that stuck with me most from  this documentary (which does intersperse a lot of his live stand up) is that one of the comedians said the key is for your "inner voice to match your outer voice" and that was the struggle that Bill had just won before his tragic death. I relate to Bill because he has a lot of the internal struggles that a lot of us who look at the big picture have.  Only a person who really, really loves America can pick apart some of the bad things the country does. Only a person who really, really loves people can show them their own hypocrisy. He holds up a mirror and says,"you're beautiful but you're doing something wrong".

If you want to see great biography, see Bill Hicks: American, if you want to see great comedy, with substance, check out ANY Bill Hicks.  I've included the trailer for Bill Hicks: American below as well as the FULL "Relentless" concert.  Put your feet up and enjoy.