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Bill Hicks Live - Satirist, Social Critic, Stand-Up Comedian

4.4 out of 5 stars 85 customer reviews

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(Oct 26, 2004)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description


Bill Hicks Live is the first official DVD release from the legendary and beloved comedian.

Since Bill died in 1993, his work has reached a new audience and he has become a powerful cult figure. For these fans who never had the opportunity to see Bill in person, this DVD will be a revelation. The DVD captures Bill at his very best, with three of his legendary filmed performances:

"One Night Stand" from the Old Vic Theatre in Chicago (approx 30 minutes)

"Revelations" from the Dominion Theatre in London (approx 65 minutes)

"Relentless", Bill’s breakout performance at the Montreal Comedy Festival (approx 70 minutes)

The DVD focuses on his incredible live act, with Hicks hilariously assaulting the stage and the audience with a non-stop cornucopia of insights into our twisted world; the government, the military, the police, religion, smoking, pornography, drugs and of course, for those of you who are getting antsy, a couple of dick jokes.

As a bonus, the documentary "Just A Ride" surveys Bill’s remarkable career with insights from his peers; including Brett Butler, Eddie Izzard, Richard Jeni, Jay Leno, David Letterman and Thea Vidale. (approx 45 minutes)

Total running time: approx 3.5 hours of pure, unadulterated Hicks.

Bill Hicks's scathing, fearless standup comedy is on full display in Satirist, Social Critic, Stand-Up Comedian, the first official DVD release containing the late performer's work. Hicks, who died in 1994 at age 32, may not have been a total original; he's often compared to Lenny Bruce, as well as Sam Kinison and others, and he was hardly the first comic to talk about sex, drugs, politics, and religion, even if Hicks's takes on these matters are usually strikingly fresh. But there's simply no denying the unabashed, in-your-face power of these three early '90s performances, one each from Chicago, Montreal (entitled Relentless, this show originally aired on HBO), and London. Hicks is profane, to say the least, but never crude for its own sake, and certainly not stupid (we're not talking Andrew Dice Clay here). His humor is abrasive, passionate, shameless, provocative--calling non-smokers "obnoxious, self-righteous slugs" is one of his milder observations--and it's delivered in riveting, almost preacher-like fashion, with a strong physical element. And anyone who doubts his impact, both during and after his short, turbulent life, need only watch "It's Just a Ride," the 40-minute documentary accompanying the three live shows, in which both family and famous (Jay Leno and David Letterman among them) comment on him and work. In the end, you realize that since his death, no comic has come along who can touch Bill Hicks. --Sam Graham

Special Features

  • Includes: One Night Stand (from the Old Vic Theatre in Chicago), Relentless (Montreal Comedy Festival), and Revelations (from the Dominion Theatre in London)
  • "Just a Ride" documentary

Product Details

  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English (DD)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Rykodisc
  • DVD Release Date: October 26, 2004
  • Run Time: 210 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (85 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0004Z33FK
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #81,472 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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As one who worked in comedy clubs for years and saw hundreds and hundreds of so-called comedians, I can assert that only a handful of comics make a lasting impression.

Hicks was one of those. Though I only got to see him onstage for one week's worth of shows in 1987, his body of work thankfully became more commercially available over the next decade.

Hicks is one of the rare comics with a point of view that both skewers and embraces Mankind. He loved his country and his fellow man, and that gave him license to stab and poke at their flaws. He championed THOUGHT as the means to combat Mediocrity and the Sheep Mentality.

This DVD is a sufficient look into his mastery of his craft and his unflinching control over his audience. Sometimes his control of the audience was mixed with disdain towards them, too. But it was closer to "tough love" than animosity or condescension.

Not everyone will recognize Bill's brilliance and not everyone will "get" the humor. Actually, the brighter you are the more likely you will appreciate Bill Hicks.

Buy this DVD and be elevated to a higher understanding of how the interactive medium of stand-up can be used as a persuasive pulpit not for bullying or mass entertainment but for communal introspection and self-examination.
5 Comments 56 of 60 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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sick of the lies all politicians spew?

tired of having every aspect of your life turned into a commodity to be bought or sold by a corporation?

don't understand how cigarettes and drugs are the devil but alcohol is the fountain of youth?

what i'm asking is : do you want the truth? truth you know, truth you can feel in your bones, truth like when you were a kid truth?

just buy this dvd. even if you've heard it all before, you have to see it like this.
Comment 23 of 24 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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...but, unfortunately, he never was allowed to reach the peak of his success due to cowardly television and recording executives, and, again like Bruce, due to being a victim and slave to his own excesses--before I go on, I do not own a copy of this DVD, but before any of the usual suspects gets on your high horses to castigate me for reviewing a DVD I've never seen, I correct all of you in advance by answering, that yes, I have seen all this material before--the HBO special, I saw--duh!Read more ›
1 Comment 49 of 60 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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In a perfect world, Bill Hicks would've found the kind of fame and fortune and acceptance that went to other stand-up comics who parlayed their material into multi-million dollar sit-coms.

But we don't live in a perfect world, and that's one of the things that fueled Hicks' art. It almost makes sense that he died underheard, underpaid, censored and young.

The good news is that most of the things he railed against way back in the early 90s -- the war in Iraq, President Bush, awful pop music, closed-mindedness against drugs, corporate co-opting, advertising and smoking -- are all still pretty fresh topics.

This DVD includes his 1991 performance at Chicago's Old Vic Theatre (which was made as an HBO "One Night Stand"), his 1991 gig at the Montreal International Comedy Festival, his 1991 "Revelations" show at the Dominion Theatre in England and the documentary about his career, "It's Just a Ride," which aired in chopped-up form on Comedy Central years ago.

It's a great collection of material that is frightening, harrowing, intense and always, always incredibly funny. Required viewing for anybody who thinks more than, say, ten hours a day.
Comment 15 of 17 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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I can't resist recording here that I was twice Bill Hick's high school teacher: For freshman algebra and for senior English. I was proud that I was one of the teachers he gave no trouble, mostly because I left him alone regarding trivia so long as he tested out OK. He was above average in both subjects. A few days before graduation, I took him aside and told him that I had become a pretty jaded audience but that I could tell that he was really special. He didn't seem especially impressed. I never flattered myself that I was an influence in his life, but I did know quality when I saw it. He was not a class clown, actually seemed rather sad and withdrawn much of the time, but he was no outcast; he had the respect of the "in group," I think. The only gag I remember: "I wanted to be an orthodontist, but my parents insist that I become a comedian."
2 Comments 8 of 8 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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