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With: Bill Hicks
Written by: Bill Hicks
Directed by: Kevin Booth, David Johndrow
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 60
Date: 01/01/1989

Bill Hicks: Sane Man (2005)

3 1/2 Stars (out of 4)


By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Bill Hicks (1961-1994) was the original punk stand-up comic. Other comics were poets or performance artists -- or, in the case of Hicks' pal Sam Kinison, heavy metal rock stars -- but Hicks took the stage with a pointed wrath that made him unique and worth remembering. Infuriated by pop culture, politics and the industrial age in particular, as well as people's indifference to same, Hicks raged with a brutally potent humor. His routine about Jimi Hendrix and Debbie Gibson could easily be updated to Britney Spears or the "American Idol" crew, and his beef with President Bush I (1988-1992) could easily be applied to Bush II. Even a story about taking drugs turns into a discourse about legalization. Unfortunately, Hicks' career never rose much above a small cult following and he died of cancer in his prime. But like James Dean and Sid Vicious, he continues to fascinate fans, and his star continues to rise. Maybe someday, people will listen.

DVD Details: The new DVD Bill Hicks: Sane Man, from Rykodisc, was filmed on the same tour that yielded his first comedy album "Dangerous" (1990). The DVD comes with two options, to watch the 60-minute version, or the "extended" version, which feels simply padded. The performance is adequately filmed, but a few weird "effects" shots get in the way from time to time. The disc's many extras include more footage of Hicks onstage, a biography/discography and more.

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