Please indulge me for a moment as I go off topic, beery news will follow. Regular Bulletin readers will know I’m a huge fan of the late stand-up comedian Bill Hicks, who died in 1994. Even though he’s been gone 16 years, his comedy is as fresh and relevant as it was then, a testament to how far ahead of his time he was and how universal his message was. I saw his act live at least a dozen times, probably more, and even had the pleasure of meeting him after a show once and chatting briefly. At every one of those shows, at least one person, and sometimes more, would get offended and leave. That was because Hicks challenged his audiences to not just laugh at his jokes, but to think about ideas and consider inequities in the world. In short, he made some people feel uncomfortable who weren’t ready to confront the world’s hypocrisies and their role in them. He was nothing short of a genius in that regard. Since his death, his popularity has continued to grow in the UK, where people “got” Bill. Over here, sadly, he’s been largely forgotten.
But there’s a new documentary film coming out, American: The Bill Hicks Story, and it’s premiering tonight in the U.S. at the SXSW Festival in Austin, Texas. There’s also a Facebook page for the film. No word yet on when or if it will get a wide theater release, but fingers crossed, you’ll be able to see it soon at a theater near you. As the filmmakers have asked people to help them spread the word about the film, below is the trailer for it. If it comes to your town, go see it. I can’t, of course, vouch for the film-making (though the trailer looks good), I can vouch for the subject matter. Bill Hicks deserves to be more widely known, and especially the ideas he espoused during his lifetime.