American Scream: The Bill Hicks Story by Cynthia True
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I’ve been playing around with stand-up comedy for a VERY short period of time, and one of the first things I ran into is this — if I did a bit on religion or politics or advertising, I’d be told, “Bill Hicks did something similar, cut it.”
And, yes, Bill Hicks has done just about everything. If you want to learn about the origins of political satire here in America, it all goes back, almost in a straight line, to Bill Hicks (and then to Lenny Bruce).
This book traces Hicks from his childhood through the straight-edge days of his early comedy, through the psilocybin days, all the way through the last days of him alive, with cancer. It’s an amazingly detailed book, very moving, and — as with the life of any great stand-up comic — it has a great punchline.
I highly recommend going through all of hick’s audio and video pieces as well, but this book will give you a sense of the overall story and where Hicks developed his material from.
For a comedian, or anyone interested in American political satire (especially on the RAUNCHY side — Hicks NEVER stops cursing or pushing taboo boundaries) — this is a must.