How does one even begin to review Bill Hicks? I think a good place to start would be with his choice of intro music… Hendrix, a genius in his chosen field who left us far too soon and with only the the dream of what he could have given us with in the future. Actually, that intro works for me.

Relentless may not be the best Bill Hicks show but it is the one that the internet favour and as I pretty much love all of them that became the deciding factor.

A bright white light appears in the blackness of the stage as a door is opened and Bill Hicks walks through it. He is dressed in all black and wears a set of wire rim spectacles giving him the perfect look for the “dark little poet” he proclaims to be.

Bill starts slow, almost lethargic (In fact he doesn’t truly get up to speed until he starts impersonating New Kids on the Block giving Satan a blow job) but whilst the pace builds the material always hits home.

Questioning a war where the casualty rate was 150,000 versus 79 sets us down a path that eventually wonders why some Americans would take guns to meet aliens? Although this is nicely answered when during a visit to the town that takes said guns to potential landing sites Bill is asked “What are you reading for?” his initial response of “So I don’t become a waitress at a waffle house” is just the flippant tip of the iceberg.

We skip around smoking, sex and drugs until we get to religion and those age old questions of “What do atheists shout when they cum?”  and “If Jesus does ever return why do Christians think the first thing that he’ll want to see is hundreds of crosses?”

Bill is fired up and in full flow by this point and the sound of people sucking down Satan’s scaly dick becomes almost a rallying cry breaking up the rapid fire observations. I don’t want to give away or spoil the material because I urge you all to see it. And if you think that some of the material sounds familiar just remember that Bill did it first and you are watching it’s origins.

Honestly, every U.S political satirist, every American clown who takes shots at the government and every TV show host that now mocks the establishment owes a little something to Bill Hicks. Not to mention the hoards of hack-comics who have plagiarised his style, delivery and material. Honestly, if you thought Tupac was being posthumously shafted by Ja Rule and DMX you should check out the list of Bill Hicks clones.

Just two years after this recording was released Bill Hicks passed away from pancreatic cancer at the age of 32. A week before his death he wrote a note that ended “I left in love, in laughter, and in truth and wherever truth, love and laughter abide, I am there in spirit“. And he will be because he was a part of the movement that forever changed comedy.

Clown Stars: * * * * *

 @Centaur Theatre, Montreal

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