Screen Junkies » bill hicks Movie Reviews & TV Show Reviews Tue, 16 Dec 2014 01:54:36 +0000 en hourly 1 It’s Only A Ride: Happy Birthday, Bill Hicks Fri, 16 Dec 2011 16:33:02 +0000 Nicholas Pell He would have been 50... and probably would have made a Doritos ad by now.

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Bill Hicks would have been 50 years old today. The world is a much-impoverished place for losing him. As the world becomes stranger and scarier, it’s hard to imagine that it wouldn’t be an easier place to live in if he were still around.

Hicks was a singular figure in the American media. Anyone who remembers the peak of Hicks’ popularity — the late 80s and early 90s — knows it was a particularly sterile time for American popular culture. Safe-as-milk acts like Warrant, MC Hammer and Paula Abdul dominated the music charts. Popular film and television still waded through a Reaganite haze of nostalgia for a Leave It To Beaver world that never was. Hicks, however, was a fire-breathing prophet. At a time when rock stars were nearly required to make “Just Say No” ads, Hicks reminded us that most good music gets made on drugs. For his own part, Hicks was a sober nonsmoker until the age of 21. He began using to determine if drugs were the missing component in his routine. They seemed to have been.

Bill bitterly feuded with two comics: Jay Leno and Denis Leary. Prior to his feud, Hicks was a student of Leno and a friend of Leary. Leno recalls Hicks from comedy classes in Austin, Texas. Bill basically thought Leno was full of shit, while Leno saw lots of potential in the young, rebellious comedian. Hicks often criticized Leno for corporate sponsorship deals. Bill and Denis were long-time friends until the latter released No Cure For Cancer, which Hicks claimed largely plagiarized his material. When Hicks quit smoking, he famously quipped, “I just wanted to see if Denis would, too.”

Hicks’ live show often devolved into little more than ranting at his audience for their perceived inadequacies. This made putting out albums somewhat difficult. You can hear a bit of this on Hicks’ Flying Saucer Tour, Vol. 1. However, his estate specifically chose this performance because his ranting is funny and tempered. Often times, he left his routine entirely and degenerated into screaming.

Nearly as much as his comedy, Bill was known for his obsessions. Namely, his hatred of the media and interest in the Kennedy Assassination. He often cited the latter as an example of the depravity of the former. While it’s old hat now to criticize the media as being dishonest, underhanded, vapid and a tool of the powers that be, in Hicks’ time this was a far less common practice. George Carlin often did so, but in a far more playful way than Hicks. Even on audio recordings you can almost hear the spit and froth coming out of his mouth as he rails against the mass media and its role in controlling the public. This trope would later be taken up by comedians like Joe Rogan.

Another thing Joe Rogan has in common with Hicks is his endorsement of psychedelic drugs. Both Hicks and Rogan were influenced by the work of Irish-American lecturer Terence McKenna’s “stoned ape” theory. This is the theory that human consciousness and language have its genesis in early man’s use of hallucinogenic mushrooms. Hicks later stopped using drugs after (he claimed) a UFO abducted him.

One thing Hicks had that all comedians before and since have lacked is a cohesive view of humanity that came warts and all. It’s too easy to dismiss him as a misanthrope. Rather, Hicks saw mankind facing crucial questions of perhaps cosmic significance. He never viewed as incapable of overcoming them. Rather, he was realistic about the dual and contradictory nature of humanity. It’s his brutal honesty mixed with love that makes him so attractive. Both poles of attraction easily resonate with anyone who has a three-digit IQ and the contradiction is not easily resolved.

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5 Controversial Banned TV Episodes Sat, 30 Apr 2011 01:27:48 +0000 Jame Gumb Though out the years, there have been numerous episodes of popular shows that, for one reason or another, have been yanked from the air. Here are five examples.

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In light of the recent storms that have killed hundreds throughout the South, Fox has decided not to air its hurricane-themed cross over episodes of “Family Guy,” “American Dad” and “The “Cleveland Show.” Granted, these shows were conceived months in advance, and the writers were obviously not intending to make light of the current situation. Even so, Fox felt running the episodes now would be in poor taste. However, to the network’s credit, the episodes will air next season, weather permitting.

Through out the years, there have been numerous episodes of popular shows that, for one reason or another, have been yanked from the air. Here are five examples.

The Puerto Rican Day – “Seinfeld” (May 7, 1998)

This last regular episode of “Seinfeld” was surrounded in controversy, thanks to a comical scene in which Kramer accidentally burns the Puerto Rican flag. Even though the episode was clearly not intending to mock Puerto Ricans in any way, some civil rights groups were outraged, or at least pretended to be in order to get on TV. The episode was banned from syndication for years, and some broadcasters, including TBS, still refuse to show it. Somehow, they feel crap like “Are We There Yet” is less insulting.

The City of New York vs. Homer Simpson – “The Simpsons” (Sept. 21, 1997)

In this notable episode of “The Simpson’s,” Homer must travel to New York City to retrieve his car. When it aired in 1997, no one thought anything of the fact that the car was left at the World Trade Center. But four years later, after a bunch of assholes flew planes into the famous landmark, Fox pulled it from syndication. In recent years, someone must have figured out that keeping the episode off the air served absolutely no purpose, and it has been gradually reworked into reruns.

When You Wish Upon a Weinstein – “Family Guy” (Nov. 9, 2003)

This episode of “Family Guy” should have aired in 2000. Unfortunately, Fox decided the content would be too offensive. The plot involved Peter converting to Judaism in order to become more financially successful, and contains the classic “Family Guy” song, “I need a Jew.” The episode was included on the 3rd season DVD set, and eventually aired on Cartoon Network three years later. Eventually, Fox broke down and aired the episode as well.

Bill Hick’s Stand-up – “The Late Show With David Letterman (October 1, 1993)

This entry doesn’t involve an entire episode, but rather a segment of the show. Even so, close to 20 years later, people are still talking about it. Bill Hicks, who is considered a legend in the world of stand-up comedy, performed on “The Late Show with David Letterman,” only to have his entire set edited out. One joke in particular (“if Jesus came back he might not want to see so many crosses”) scared both Letterman and the network enough to pull the plug. In January of 2009, Letterman had Hick’s mom on the show, and apologized for the way the situation was handled. Hick’s himself could not be there to accept, since he died of cancer in 1994)

Home – “The X Files” (Oct. 11, 1996)

This famous episode of “The X Files” featured dead babies, incest, deformities and murder. What’s not to like? Oh, right: the dead babies, incest, deformities and murder. Although the show was well received by critics and fans alike, it was banned from reruns by the network.

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