Comedian Bill Hicks was one of the greatest stand-up comedians and … dare I say it … modern philosophers. Hicks was very controversial due to his language and “take no prisoners” attitude. But Hicks was not a shock comic, like Andrew Dice Clay. Hicks had some very profound things to say about how we as a culture choose to close our minds and hearts, allowing “the demons run amok.” He constantly urged everyone to “squeegee (our) Third Eye,” wake up, and open our hearts and minds again.
On June 16, 1993, Hicks was diagnosed with liver and pancreatic cancer. He let very few people know of his condition and worked nonstop even while receiving chemotherapy.
On October 1, 1993, Hicks made his 12th appearance on David Letterman’s late night show, but his entire performance was cut from the final show due to Letterman and his producer being nervous about a religious joke that Hicks had made. Hicks succumbed to cancer on February 7, 1994. He was 32 years old.
Letterman expressed regret for his decision to cut Hicks’s performance and on January 30, 2009, Letterman broadcast Hicks’s entire routine uncut, had Hicks’s mother Mary on as a guest, and publicly apologized to Mary for the way he treated Hicks. A very classy thing to do.
The clip above features Hicks’s entire cut performance as well as Letterman’s interview and apology to Mary. The clip below is Hicks’ most profound statement about life. It’s a routine called “It’s Just a Ride” …
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, and it has thrills and chills and is 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’ve begun to question, ‘Is this real, or is this just a ride?’, and other people have remembered, and they’ve 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.
“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 just has to be real.”
It’s just a ride.
But we always kill those good guys who try and tell us that. You ever noticed that? And let the demons run amok. But it doesn’t matter, because … It’s just a ride.
And we can change it anytime we want. It’s only a choice. No effort, no work, no job, no savings of money. A choice, right now, between fear and love. The eyes of fear wants 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, to a better ride: take all that money we spent on weapons and defense each year and instead spend it feeding, clothing, and educating the poor of the world, which it would many times over, not one human being excluded, and WE CAN EXPLORE SPACE, TOGETHER, BOTH INNER AND OUTER, forever … in peace.