Bill Hicks’ 50th birthday would have been December 16, 2011. The comedian has been gone for nearly 18 years but his legacy can be seen in acts from comedians such as Denis Leary and Doug Stanhope. Stand-ups like Hicks, who delivered edgy material about religion, philosophy and politics, influenced many modern day comedians, especially Leary.
Leary has been accused by various comedians of stealing Hicks’ act almost word for word and recording it for a special. This accusation resulted in the abrupt end to their friendship. Hicks was so upset that in an interview when asked why he quit smoking, the controversial comedian replied, “I wanted to see if Denis would quit too.”
The death of Hicks has not been forgotten. His stand-up is immortalized in recordings that are still relevant today. Hicks, of course, is not the first stand-up comedian to go before his time. Other notable comics who left us early were Sam Kinison, Lenny Bruce and Andy Kaufman.
Recently, a group of promising comedians has left lasting impressions on the world when their deaths surprised the world. Mitch Hedberg, Greg Giraldo, Bernie Mac, Greg Schimmel, Mike DeStefano and Patrice O’Neal all lost their lives prematurely.
This December 16, 2011, let’s not only celebrate the life of the great Bill Hicks, but also of those who left this world too soon. I’m pretty sure Bill would not mind sharing this day with his friends.
If you were, or still are, a fan of any of these great comedians, please share on Facebook and reTweet this story.