Sunday, April 10, 2011

Pop Culture Touchstones I'm Late to the Game On: Bill Hicks

That's right, I've never watched Bill Hicks perform. I'm not huge into stand up comedy, but I've L'dMAO at some guys on late night TV over the years, and have watched and loved at least one full set (if not many in some of these cases) of: George Carlin, Steven Wright, Jake Johanssen, Eddie Murphy, Bill Cosby, Patton Oswalt, Louis C.K., Robin Williams, Richard Pryor, Denis Leary, and probably a few others I'm just not recalling but will kick myself later for forgetting. I've been to a couple comedy clubs over the years. 'Til now though, I've never seen so much as a clip of Bill Hicks, the comic usually rated as the greatest of them all.

It's embarrassing. It's like saying you love country music but never heard of Hank Williams. Or, you love poetry, but Walt Who? I like to think I'm fairly cultured. I've read broadly; I know my music pretty well; check my flickchart -- I've watched a ton of movies; I'm not a sports nut (some might disagree) but I can talk to you with varying degrees of expertise about everything from baseball to college basketball, American football to football, professional poker to international cricket, jai-alai to boxing; I've watched a play on Broadway, Shakespeare in Spring Green, WI, and Mamet at TheaterWorks in Hartford. I'm not bragging, you may know more about some, even all, of those things than I do and I'd be happy to lose an argument about any of them if I learned something from it ... all I'm saying is, I'm no slouch.

And yet, still, there are these gaping holes. I can't even explain why, it's not like I've avoided Hicks; I think, in part, it's that I've never flipped channels and stumbled on him, and the few times I've listened to a comedy channel on satellite radio, I've never heard one of his bits. So, I've just kicked off a video on Netflix streaming to see what I've been missing. So far (a few minutes in), so good.

I used to drink ... I had to quit. Man, I was an embarrassing drunk. I'd get pulled over by the cops, I'd be so drunk, I'd get out and start dancin' to their lights thinking I'd made it another club, man. "Hey, what is this, a leather bar?"
Next time on PCTILTTGO, Forrest Gump. (Maybe. It just looks so awful. And all those horrible "Life is like a box of chocolates," impressions over the years. This is one I have studiously avoided.)
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