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Bill Hicks - Sane Man (2005)

Bill Hicks (II)  |  NR |  DVD
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Bill Hicks (II)
  • Format: Color, NTSC
  • Language: English (DD)
  • Subtitles: German, Norwegian, Swedish, Dutch
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Rykodisc
  • DVD Release Date: December 6, 2005
  • Run Time: 84 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000BYAD8O
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #163,389 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Bill Hicks - Sane Man" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

Product Description


Comic Bill Hicks's star shone so bright and emitted such intense heat that he almost seemed destined to die before his time--which he did, at age 32 in 1994. But while he was here, Hicks's brilliance enabled him to thrive in circumstances that were sometimes less than ideal. On Flying Saucer Tour Vol. 1, he turned a gig in front of "the worst audience I've ever faced" into a triumph; and here on Sane Man, an hour-long, early-career performance recorded in 1989 in Austin, TX, the force of his personality and humor overcome some nagging technical problems. In what amounts to a glorified home video, the picture is grainy and the audio is indistinct; the latter is the bigger problem, as it lessens the impact of Hicks's delivery. But his sheer presence--not just what he says, but his restless physicality and wild vocalisms--eventually trump those distractions. Fans will recognize many of these bits, as Hicks's riffs on smoking, drinking (he was newly sober at the time), and drugs ("not only do I think pot should be legal, it should be mandatory") were staples of his repertoire throughout his career. So were his takes on pop music, but although they're somewhat dated now (cf. potshots at Kenny Rogers and George Michael), they provide the funniest and most extreme moments here, including a hilariously raunchy fantasy involving Debbie Gibson and Tiffany that proves yet again that Hicks had no peer when it came to pure, unalloyed bile. Sane Man's bonus features are generous, to say the least: an extended (by about 20 minutes) version of the main feature, lengthy clips from other performances, a long text bio, and even a CD/DVD "Hicksography" with audio clips accompanying every entry. --Sam Graham

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's finally here November 14, 2005
This is the show that really got me interested in Bill. I had seen him on Letterman a few times, and remembered him when I saw a brief notice of his death on the news. Shortly thereafter, I saw a copy of "Sane Man" at the local video store. It stood out on the shelf, because it was clearly homemade. It had a photocopied cover, and stark black-on-white lettering label.

Watching it was a revelation. My roomate and I had never seen such a powerful, yet silly performance. The picture was terrible, clearly taken from a 3/4" Umatic tape or worse, but the message was clear.

I tried to get the store to order me a copy, but they didn't know how. The tape had been sent to them by their corporate office. (The chain was based in Texas.) This was pre-internet, so I figured if they couldn't get it, no one could. So I rented it again and bootlegged it. I still have that tape.

A few years ago, Kevin Booth released an extended cut of "Sane Man", but only on VHS. The picture quality was also rumored to be improved. But I wanted to hold out for a DVD. And now it's finally here. And knowing Rykodisc, probably greatly improved. They've only let us down once before. (The "Love Laughter & Truth" CD was scraping the bottom of the Hicks kettle.)

But even if this is a VHS copied onto a DVD, it's worth it. Most people have simply never seen this performance. The "Bill Hicks Satirist..." DVD was great, but it didn't have the fire of this performance. In "One Night Stand" and "Relentless", he's confident, but he's trying to prove himself. In "Revelations", he's a little TOO cool, since he was a genuine star in London by this time. (Plus, there's a bit too much "british-centric" humor.")

"Sane Man" is a younger Bill in front of a home-town crowd.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Solace For The Ignorance of Man February 8, 2006
What an insightful riot this guy was! Humanity does so desperately need more who will fearlessly come right out and say what so many are thinking yet are afraid to express. In this early routine from 1989, you'll find ample amounts of familiar Hicks views, ideas and gags - trying to get the same message across tends to make one repetitive - and he's much more lewd in his approach to rattle people compared to the more spiritual overtones of his subsequent material. But it's especially the latter half or so of this set that soars well above range as you realize the crowd had largely decided [although not all of them!] to strap on their existential crash helmets, let out a primal howl to the moon, and follow Hicks past the point of no return as they're "lectured by a pale demon."

Hicks repeatedly jabs the phobic pressure points of his audience with his scathing critque of the culturally fascist, "anti-intellectual" ethic that noticeably began permeating the country in the early 80s like a bad rash. It is nothing short of searing, damning, and high on fire. America had become a "Reagan Wet Dream" version of itself, indoctrinating most into a 24/7/365 shopping mall mindset within a perpetually soothing 72 degree environment: what more could humanity hope for?

"Sane Man" has plenty of extras, additional clips and footage, and is highly recommended for old or new fans alike.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bill Hicks - The "Hamburg" Years November 21, 2005
Someone described Bill's albums to me in terms of Beatles output....."Dangerous" was a powerful start ("Please Please Me/With The Beatles"), "Relentless" was more polished, ("Hard Day's Night/Rubber Soul") then came the masterwork of "Arizona Bay" ("Revolver/Pepper"), and the extraordinary and disparate finish of Rant In E Minor ("White Album").

In these terms, "Sane Man" is "Live At The Star Club (Hamburg)" or "The Beatles At The Beeb". It the provocative prototype of what was to come, none the less important than what was to follow. The solid underwork of a magnificent career to come....

I don't think the comparison to the world most important band ever is overstreching, either. He was the rock and roll comedian, and he was that good!

"Sane Man" is unmissable for any Hicks devotee. The funniest man of my generation.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars WOW...Just WOW! November 16, 2006
Please, just start out with this one, folks. This performance is so developed that it encompasses much of the Hicks legend. And it's from 1989. He grew from here, but since he was dead by 1994 he simply didn't have a chance to keep going. To make an analogy, this is Nirvana's 'Nevermind' and 'Revelations' (on the 'Social Critic' DVD) is 'In Utero.' You need to own both--20 bucks and you get six hours of one of the greatest comedians ever. Even if you hate what he says, spend 20 bucks to argue his ideas, but be honest. Regardless of your beliefs, you will gain some new perspectives on your world.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not Complete January 28, 2006
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This is one of Bill Hicks best performances but sadly this dvd is incomplete. A very taboo joke is missing from it and I have no idea why. The performance itself is worth 5 stars, hell just about anything from Hicks is worth 5 stars. Recommended if you are a fan of his work or you're looking for comedy that's still relevant today. A master comedian who left us before he should have, but what he has left us is pure gold. The dvd itself looks much better than the previous bootleg I was forced to watch and has stellar extra's. But the incomplete performance, when the footage is available, is really unforgivable for me. The reason I bought the dvd was to have an excellent copy of it, and it pretty much is but whomever decided to discard the joke should be held responsible. Buy the this disc anyways cause if you haven't seen what's missing it won't hurt. I miss ya Bill...
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
love it so much
Published 1 month ago by Darschand Raiford
5.0 out of 5 stars The Legend Is True
Hicks is definitional to modern stand up comedy, and this film will show you why. The stories are true, and Sane Man is a must for anyone who likes stand up.
Published 13 months ago by hugh parker
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome!!
I would recommend this DVD to anyone who is interested in Bill Hicks. It is his first recorded video performance, and his material is delivered in a growing Bill Hicks fashion. Read more
Published 18 months ago by Jeffrey Craig
5.0 out of 5 stars bill hicks is so funny
While bill hicks was not loved by everybody, some of us thought he was just too funny. The problem is sometimes getting people to get access to stand up, not everyone watches stand... Read more
Published 19 months ago by Steven Baum
1.0 out of 5 stars DVD is not in U.S. Format!!
This should be better explained that the item is for Europe formatted DVD players only. It's not formatted to play in North American Regions. Read more
Published 21 months ago by SMH79
5.0 out of 5 stars the turning point in hicks' career. . .
this is the first fully taped standup of hicks. . . right at the time his career was starting to take off. i recommend this as a must have for any comedy fan. . . Read more
Published on December 4, 2011 by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars Basically just for fans
Have you ever had that experience where you're watching a DVD of something you're a fan of when suddenly your girlfriend/ housemate walks in and wants to watch it with you? Read more
Published on August 23, 2011 by Magic Lemur
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing man, Amazing DVD!!!
Bill Hicks was a genius who left us FAR too soon!!! The world would be a much better, happier, peaceful place if we all lived by his words.
Published on August 2, 2011 by BeneeKent
5.0 out of 5 stars a masterpiece...
one of the best stand ups i've ever seen...WOW...

bill hicks is a genius. a man of vision. a prophet of comedy. love this guy. Read more
Published on March 18, 2011 by roy fei hong
2.0 out of 5 stars Only Recommended For Fans
Filmed the year before his star-making album "Dangerous," this performance features Bill Hicks' fundamental themes, but unlike his more famous work, this one leaves me cold. Read more
Published on March 26, 2010 by Kevin L. Nenstiel
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