Sundays 8pm to 11pm on Radio 2

New Episodes at CBC Music

New Episodes at CBC Music

Need more Strombo Show? Head over to our page on CBC Music for new episodes, playlists and video extras.

CBC Music Past Shows



Alt News
5 Videos To Remember Game-Changing Comedian Bill Hicks, 20 Years On
February 26, 2014
submit to reddit

(Photo: Angela D./Flickr)

Bill Hicks is often remembered as a stand-up comic, but he was much more than that. He was a musician, a social critic, and a rabble-rouser of the highest order. His performances toed the line between straight-up comedy and biting social commentary, as Hicks pondered (and often pontificated) on a wide range of topics and ideas from corporate advertising to smoking to having children. 

Hicks started early in the comedy business, doing stand-up at 16 while still in high school in Texas. His career took a series of ups and downs as he battled with substance abuse, but by the late 1980s he was sober — save for his chain smoking — and at the top of his game. He recorded albums, opened for the band Tool and got into a public feud with Denis Leary about the origin of some of Leary's material. He performed often in the United Kingdom where he gained a dedicated cult following. 

Hicks died of pancreatic cancer in 1993, when he was only 32. 

On the anniversary of his death, we recommend reading this Guardian obituary by John Lahr, which first ran in 1994 and is reprinted in the paper today, or this one from The Independent's Rupert Edwards.

The best way to remember him, though, is through his own words. Below, you'll find a few of the best Bill Hicks moments:

His rant about marketing which holds up pretty well all these years later.

Hicks's famous summary of human existence: "It's just a ride."

In 1993, Hicks was a guest on Late Night with David Letterman. It would have been his 12th time on the show — but the performance was cut from the broadcast last minute. Hicks believed it was due to network censorship. Letterman insisted that wasn't the case. Finally, in 1999, Letterman played Hicks's never-aired performance and invited Hicks's mother on stage as a guest and apologized to her.

Bill Hicks on music.

Hicks on intellectualism in America.


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Submission Policy

Note: The CBC does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comments, you acknowledge that CBC has the right to reproduce, broadcast and publicize those comments or any part thereof in any manner whatsoever. Please note that comments are moderated and published according to our submission guidelines.