Bill Hicks, the acerbic stand-up comic whose pointed barbs toward all which he deemed hypocritical, will be introduced to a new generation next month thanks to Comedy Dynamics. Hicks, who continued to amass a cult-like following, even after his death at the age of 32, will finally make it to the 21st century. Comedy Dynamics, the comedy production off shoot of New Wave Entertainment, has struck a deal with the Hicks estate to digitize Hicks’ entire stand-up catalog and will usher Hicks’ comedy special Relentless to the big screen, according to Peter Gerstenzang at Esquire.
Comedy Dynamics president Brian Volk-Weiss was quoted about the excitement surrounding the announcement.
“We got lucky and were able to strike a deal with his estate. Never before, under one roof, has so much Hicks product been available. With the okay from Bill’s family, his comedy specials will be streaming, his CDs will be available, and there will be a one-of-a-kind boxset of Bill’s work. With luck, people will see a guy who wasn’t just funny, but helped to change the course of comedy.”
The Georgia-born Hicks was raised in a typically Southern Baptist conservative household that eventually settled in Houston, Texas, when Hicks was a child. It was there that Hicks would begin his comedy career as one of the Texas Outlaw Comics of the ’80s alongside friend — and later turned rival — Sam Kinison, whom Hicks would cite as an influence. Hicks became a hero of the counter-culture movement with material that often exposed illogic in the government, and encouraged critical thinking and making up one’s own mind. At the 1991 Just For Laughs comedy festival in Montreal, Hicks recorded his second album, Relentless, which was recorded separately as a concert video and album.
Hicks contemporary and close friend, comedian Marc Maron, who has enjoyed a career rejuvenation of his own in recent years with the success of his podcast, WTF with Marc Maron and subsequent eponymous IFC television series, spoke to Esquire about what made Hicks such an enduring comic.
“Bill was really a wordsmith and lyrical writer. His descriptions, and his phrasing, were very unique. Bill put a lot of thought and effort into his turning a phrase. He also had great, elongated periods of silence that built momentum.
“If I could say anything about Hicks, it’s that he was doing his best to destroy anything he perceived as hypocrisy. While also revealing stuff that was overly embraced by moralizers. He was a misanthropic moralist, who did his best to get to the bottom of religious hypocrisy, moral hypocrisy, and societal hypocrisy. But he also made you laugh when he did it. That’s a tough trick. But it’s what Bill did.”
Relentless will see theatrical release to 500 theaters on April 27.