Twenty years ago today, brilliant comedian Bill Hicks died of cancer, at the age of 32. Hicks's comedy has been an inspiration to me and millions of others. Hicks has been voted the fourth greatest stand-up comedian of all time. (If Hicks were alive to hear that, he would complain bitterly about losing out to Gandhi, Einstein and Stalin.) In honor of Bill Hicks, we yield this platform to him. This is how Hicks ended his performances:
[To the audience:] You've been fantastic, and I hope you enjoyed it. There is a point [to my act]. Is there a point to all of this? Let's find a point.
Is there a point to my act? I would say there is. I have to.
The world is like a ride, in an amusement park. And when you choose to go on it, you think it's real, because that's how powerful our minds are. And the ride goes up and down, and round and round. It has thrills and chills, and it's very brightly colored, and it's very loud and it's fun. For a while.
Some people have been on the ride for a long time, and they begin to question: "Is this real, or is this just a ride?"
And other people have remembered, and they come back to us, and they say, "Hey, don't worry. Don't be afraid, ever. Because this is just a ride."
And we . . . kill those people. Ha-ha!
"Shut him up! We have a lot invested in this ride! Shut him up! Look at my furrows of worry. Look at my big bank account, and my family. This has to be real."
It's just a ride. But we always kill those good guys who try and tell us that, you ever notice that? And we let the demons run amok.
But it doesn't matter, because it's just a ride, and we can change it any time we want. It's only a choice. No effort. No worry. No job. No savings and money.
[It's] a choice, right now, between fear and love. The eyes of fear want you to put bigger locks on your door, buy guns, close yourself off. The eyes of love, instead, see all of us as one.
Here's what we can do to change the world, right now, into a better ride: Take all that money that we spend on weapons and defense each year and, instead, spend it feeding, clothing, and educating the poor of the world – which it would do many times over, not one human being excluded. And we can explore space together, both inner and outer, forever. In peace.
Thank you very much, you've been great. I've hoped you enjoyed it. You're fantastic! Thank you! Thank you very much. [Hicks then falls to the ground, as if he were dead.]
Bill Hicks, R.I.P.
"I left in love, in laughter, and in truth. And wherever truth, love and laughter abide, I am there in spirit." - Bill Hicks's eulogy for himself.