The Genius of Bill Hicks


9 months ago



Sam Morril

1 appearance

Sam Morril is a stand-up comic, writer, actor, and co-host of "Games with Names": a sports podcast with former NFL wide receiver Julian Edelman. Check out his new comedy special, "Same Time Tomorrow," now streaming on Netflix.


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#1868 - Sam Morril


9 months ago


The other thing I like about this place is that we were talking about before that it's a blue city surrounded by a red state. I love that. It keeps it in check. Sure. You know, there's something about that. And it's just this whole town, it's like Texas itself is a very rebellious place. And this is where kinnison started. And this is where Bill Hicks started. Sure. And there's something about that that's baked into their appreciation for comedy. I mean, those guys put Texas on the map as far as comedy because people thought about comedy. They thought of New York, thought of L.A., maybe San Francisco, maybe Chicago, Boston for sure. But they didn't think of Houston. And two of the best of all time came out of Houston, Texas. Houston's a great comedy city. Great comedy city. You look at the, you can tell they're Texas comics because religion is such a big part of both their acts. And you feel that. That's like the Texan in them. I mean, Bill Hicks is, he's like the biggie smalls of comedy because the amount of work he did, it's gold. And he died so fucking young. He had like five albums, dude. I think he died like 34 or something. Something like that. Pancreatic cancer. And you really listen to those albums, dude. Those albums, whenever comics call Bill Hicks overrated, I'm like, you're a fucking idiot. Bill Hicks is great. And you know what's great about Bill Hicks? So many comics now with his ideology would only perform in like SF and Portland and Burlington, Vermont. That dude's taking that act to Alabama. That's fucking cool. That's why he's bombing. So he did The Road constantly. Oh, dude, The Flying Saucer Tour? When you're like, those albums, I'm dying laughing, dude. You're listening to one of the greatest comics of all time, Bombing, and he released this for us. He's fucking bombing. He's calling the crowd dumb. And it's not like just some comic. It's a great comic calling crowds dumb. There's something beautiful about that. He's so fucking angry on stage, but it was like beautiful anger. It was earned anger. Well, everything was interesting. Even if he was bombing, what he was saying was interesting. Brilliant. Yeah, it was just in that was like one of his tenants of comedy is even if you're not going to be funny, it'd be interesting. He was Lenny Bruce for us. I listened to Lenny Bruce and I'm like, it's a little, it doesn't resonate for me. I understand that he's brilliant. I understand that we need him, but like Bill Hicks was like that for guys like us who were like, he made it cool. He made you feel like a hack. Like you were just telling jokes and he was up there talking about young man on acid thought he could fly. It's a great bit. What about positive drug stories? Yeah. That's a brilliant bit. It's a brilliant bit. It was a pro drug bit from a guy who was clean and sober at the time. He was talking about the great times that he had when he was doing drugs. Everything was so well worded. It was so smart. It was just a completely interesting kind of comedy and it changed so many people's way of comedy to the point where the punch line in Atlanta when you had performed there in the green room, somebody wrote in the green room, quit trying to be Hicks. Yeah. Yeah. He had his rules of comedy. So some of them I'm like, all right. He was like, never ask the crowd how they're doing. I'm like, that one's art. We can do that. That's fine. But so many people imitated him was what the point of quit trying to be Hicks was. Of course. They were all trying to do that. They were all trying to be him and they would go on stage with some fucking half baked point about the government or taxes or something. It's like so often with great comics, you miss what the beauty of them was, is that Hicks at his core was silly and funny. When he got self righteous, that's kind of when he lost me sometimes when he was like kind of condescending the crowd. I was kind of like, I don't love this as much as when you're just doing great jokes. Like I love the bit he does. I love, you know, it's in his half hour on HBO and he's like, I hate when I love watching people in Aspen smoke cigarettes, not knowing they're done inhaling and he does the act out and he just keeps blowing because of the smoke. And it's like, that's a great fucking bit. That's a silly observational joke. And you're like, oh, that dude was great at political stuff, social commentary, religious stuff, but then he could just do a fucking observational bit. He's one of the all time greats. So when people write him off as being overrated, I. It's all in the context of time. You have to think about it that way. If you go and listen to Lenny Bruce, it doesn't make any sense to us because everything has already been understood and covered. Like all the things that he's talking about that are groundbreaking. Back then they were people were like, what is, oh my God, what is happening? Like this guy's breaking down society. No one can do this. No one had done that before, but now everybody does it. So when you hear him do it and then the things he's saying, the world has moved on so much from 1963 to today that it's impossible to like, it's impossible to, he still had some jokes that work today. He had one joke. He goes, you know, it's against the law to be homosexual. So what do they do? They put you in jail with a bunch of men who want to have sex with you. It's a great bit. It's a great bit. And that's a bit from like what, 65 or something? That's the thing. It's like, it's like watching basketball in the sixties and you're like seeing Chamberlain and you're like, well, there's no Jordan without this shit. Exactly. And you know, who's Jordan? Carlin Pryor, right? Yeah. So you got to take Pryor. Also, I love that he was like a cool Jew. Like so often like Jews are like, oh boy, I'm fucking nerd. I love when, how often did cool Jews pop up in show? He's one of the coolest. One of the coolest. Elliot Gould. I was like grateful for Elliot Gould. I'm like, guys like that. And I'm like, well, you're not just doing the, oh shucks, my fucking, I'm so nervous and I have allergies. I'm like, no, be fucking, be like, be yourself. Be cool. Is Jeff Goldblum Jewish? I don't know. His name is Jewish as fuck. It's a Jewish name. He's a cool guy. He's a very cool guy. That's what I was going to get to. Great fucking actor. He's a smart science guy. I've been rewatching Larry Sanders and he's so fucking funny on it. He's great in everything. That's a great show. He's great as the scientist in Jurassic Park. Yes, he's Jewish. There you go. Cool Jewish guy. Cool Jew. Thank God. But Lenny Bruce was like, he was a real pioneer. There was no other, I mean, there was Mortzahl who was doing political. But he doesn't get his shine. No. He just passed away. Mortzahl. Yeah, yeah. Mortzahl didn't get his shine. Because he was so of his time, like the guy holding the newspaper. And like Lenny Bruce broke through was Mortzahl, I guess, you know what the problem is, sometimes you live too long. You ain't Che Guevara if you live till fucking 78. You're Che Guevara when you die in your prime and your young picture is shown everywhere. But when you live too long sometimes, it ain't as cool. Yeah, it sounds cool. So a guy like Lenny Bruce died in the most romantic way possible, heroin overdose on the bathroom floor. That's what you want from that kind of hair. You want to go out like Hendrix or Janis Joplin. That's when you become fucking this shit. I mean, Bill Hicks too, like who knows, maybe he would have had a shitty podcast. Maybe he would have been great. He fucking knows how people age, right? I think he would have been great. He would have been great. He was never not. I don't think, I mean, I think- I imagine if he had like a HBO show where he just did like, almost like Bill Maher style where he just did that. You're like, whoa, that'd be fucking cool, huh? Do you know who had a great story about him? Carrot Top. Really? Because Bill used to make fun of him in Carrot Top's act or in Bill Hicks' act, he'd make fun of Carrot Top, brother. And he had this bit about, he goes, yeah, Carrot Top is for people who think, he goes, you're just too heady. It was just a prop joke. And Scott Carrot Top is the fucking sweetheart of a guy. I heard he's the man. He's so cool. And I always felt like he got fucked with for no reason. Like his act is funny. It's funny shit. But he was always like a punchline to comedians. Like that he was not one of us, not a real comic, fuck him. And it was always like, people would shit all over Carrot Top. I don't think Norm did him any favors in that interview when he just kept trashing him. Because Norm was so cool that I think when you see a guy as cool as Norm doing that shit, I think it hurts. Well, it hurts if you're sensitive, right? Like if you're a comic and someone's trashing you, it should be funny. There should be some humor to it. You know what I mean? But sometimes guys get isolated and Scott's very isolated. He's out there in the world on his own, not really connected to comics in the same way. So Hicks, before he died, was really sick. And he came to one of Scott's shows. So Carrot Top's doing a show. And Hicks came to the show and hung... He wanted those last few months to last forever. He said, I thought you hated me. He goes, no, man, I don't fucking hate you. Just jokes. I'm sorry.