I recently saw the documentary American: The Bill Hicks Story, and was pretty much blown away. It’s a story of singular focus and the will to succeed, with some big laughs along the way.
You’ve probably never heard of Bill Hicks before, and there’s a good reason for that. He’s a late stand-up comedian who delivered a message that was definitely not embraced by the media establishment. At a very young age Hicks realized that his purpose in life was to use his humorous talents to point out the truths and contradictions he saw around him. And as he honed his craft, he battled with the forces of apathy and resistance to his point of view. For many years Hicks toured through small town America, and too often a insightful joke was met was a face “like you’d get from your dog, after you just showed him a card trick”.
This is a doc worth seeing, and if you’d like a taste you can check out the trailer here, and a few of his best stand-up clips below.
In these two bits Hicks points out the media bias towards drugs, and then paints a picture of life as one wild ride that should be recognized for what it is.
In this clip Bill rips on marketing and advertising, and I don’t blame him since he lived to see the height of marketing’s manipulative powers. As a modern-day Marketer myself, I’m resistant to following Bill’s advice though (you’ll see what I mean). I wonder what he would have to say about content marketing (where value delivery is the goal) and social media (where the message is what the people say it is, not what the Brands say it is). Then again, maybe I don’t want to know.