- Letters, Lyrics, Routines
- Bill Hicks Foreword by John Lahr
I first saw Bill Hicks on a Just For Laughs comedy show late at night on Channel 4 in the early 90’s. At the time I didn’t really think that he was all that funny.
In 1995 I bought the Relentless video. I’ve always liked stand-up comedians and had seen this hour long special, again, on Channel 4. It wasn’t really until 1999 when I bought Totally Bill Hicks that I started to make the effort to track down his CDs and, over the last couple of years, books about him.
The book is basically what it says on the cover, Letters, Lyrics and Routines dating back to the ‘80s when Bill was performing at Houston’s comedy workshop. All his famous routines have been transcribed, which does mean that sections are repeated. But this does give you a sense that his routines have grown organically over time as his touches upon favourite topics. Two subjects he liked to talk about were George Bush being president and the Gulf War. Bill died on February 26th 1994 and I can only think that he is turning in his grave at the thought of those two events happening again.
It also covers the fact that his last appearance on the David Letterman show was pulled before transmission. This was after the routines had already been vetted by the producers of the show. The CBS Standards and Practices people found his act to be ‘unsuitable’ for public viewing. It’s telling that the week after a commercial break contained a Pro-Life advertisement. A subject that Bill had touched upon. As Bill wrote in a letter to John Lahr, “They’re just jokes!”.
If you love Bill Hicks then this really is the book for you, that is if you already own his material on video and CD. As you’re reading you can just picture him dressed in black and smoking a cigarette. To think that at one time I thought that Bill had stolen his entire act from Denis Leary!