Bill Hicks's Influence On Popular Culture

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Bill Hicks: The Most Influential Comedian of All Time
Several comedians have had an influence on the realm of comedy in their times, but no other comedian’s impact has been as vast as that of Bill Hicks. Hicks was born in Valdosta, Georgia on December 16th, 1961 and began his standup career at age sixteen while still in high school. During this time he performed at the Comedy Workshop in Houston, Texas. His standup comprised of jokes about American culture, politics, current events, sexuality, popular culture, drugs, religion, murder, and more. His style was to play on his audience’s emotions by addressing the audience in a casual, conversational manner. Many comedians helped influence Hicks’ career including: George Carlin, Lenny Bruce, and
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The controversy over Hicks’ material was so great that Letterman refused to air it on television. His style of dark humor crossed several lines that some people were not comfortable with. In his commentary, Hicks relates to the reading on Jewish comedy by Whitfield: “The Distinctiveness of Jewish Humor.” Hicks often jokes about religion and his intelligence is a main focal point of his routine. In this sense, Hicks is closely tied to the intellectual elitism aspect of Jewish comedy. The way in which Hicks exposed the flaws in our society through his standup routines makes his standup career the most influential by allowing him to inspire other comedians while still providing social value to his jokes. By delivering his commentary and outright disgust of American culture in a casual, personal manner to his audience, Bill Hicks is able to successfully insult his audience by making them consider their own hypocrisies. His ability to challenge society to see the flaws in their views on issues like religion and drugs and society’s overwhelming need to get involved in issues that are not theirs to be involved in…show more content…
This joke by Hicks ultimately sums up what he is trying to point out throughout his entire standup career. Hicks’ jokes make the audience laugh because they are forced to reflect on their own narrow and often hypocritical views. One popular joke that he tends to come back to in several routines is joke about Christianity. Strongly tied to the Jewish comedy tradition, his jokes about religion often show the absurdity of the audience to believe in the way that they do. Hicks is successful in doing this by not entirely dismissing the Christian religion, but instead poking fun at some of their core beliefs including the wearing of the cross. The main joke about crosses that Hicks returns to is that Jesus is not going to come back if people keep wearing the cross around their necks to commemorate his death. The joke revolves around the fact that Jesus would not want to be reminded of his death, and Christians are missing the point of his sacrifice. He then adds for comic relief that maybe he would come back if they start wearing Jesus fish. Another joke he makes on Christianity involves the Christian man being offended by his jokes and asking him simply to forgive him—a concept of Christianity that often is subject to ridicule. As insulted as many people are by Hicks’ jokes on religion, he is still successful. When you listen to his audiences there is a clear laughter and he is not subjected to as much
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