segunda-feira, maio 09, 2011

Bill Hicks and his documentary "American: The Bill Hicks Story" (2009)


It’s funny to see how comedians may have an impact in our lives...
From plain, simple entertainment they can also reach an audience and turn their minds into deep and meaningful thoughts… Provoke a reflection so intense that can actually change someone’s life… or hell… someone else’s lives!

Some of those comedians, with their insightful and rebellious remarks, were often banished by "powers above", because they represented a threat to the standard ways of a society, not used to a whole lot of thinking on their own! And not so very often, someone like Bill Hicks would come up along and make his presence felt in a stage or TV screen, leading the audience to a possible intellectual riot. 

Instead of making funny observations of other people’s routines or even his own, he would raise some very good questions… he would bring to our attention some very interesting points, making the listeners be aware of certain topics, some of which could be very controversial, but necessary to give it some reflection!

It’s a gift to presence such acts of defiance from entertainers like Hicks, who are everything but ordinary.
His mission, more than create an easy going atmosphere filled in with laughter, was to instigate over people’s concerns and fears, flipping them upside down and making it OK to think about it and especially to act upon it! In some ways, his role as a comedian became more of an activist! 

“Dick jokes” (as he would call it) would quickly transform into a comic routine made of satirical remarks, dark humour and social criticism… evoking themes like drugs, religion, capitalism or philosophy!  

These sorts of comedians very easily gain my respect; however, I would think that, like in everything, you have to be good at what you do… George Carlin was very good, Richard Pryor was very good and also Bill Hicks was very good! Obviously, there are some others (old school and new school) that I appreciate a lot (and laugh non-stop). Comedians in the likes of Steve Martin, Eddie Murphy, Bill Murray, Herman Jose (top comedian in Portugal), Ricky Gervais and the whole Monty Python crew (just to name a few)…  But characters like Hicks or Carlin, they would just challenge everything! They had no limits or boundaries; there was no way of shutting them up! You would pay them to talk to you, which is something very well pointed out at the beginning of Bill Hicks documentary:

Who do you ever pay to talk? Maybe a preacher, maybe a lecturer, possibly a politician… but even those rarely! Comedians are the only ones you pay to hear them talk… “Talk to me, make me listen”.

And there we go! Exactly to what was intended when I started writing this post… To recommend those of you who though this was interesting enough, to take some of your time to get your hands on American: The Bills Hicks Story (2009)




This documentary explores Bill Hicks life, from his early years, to his rise to prominence in the comedy world, his growing addictions and his death. Through out this path, we hear from friends and family and we testify his genius on stage! Unquestionably a documentary worth seeing, about one of the biggest cultural references in the United States. A man that made his point of view standout, funny enough to make people burst into laugh, but serious enough to make people think and question their "surroundings"!




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