Bill Hicks: Love All The People
Author: Bill Hicks
Publisher: Constable & Robinson
Release Date: 2004
Okay, now I get it. I'll start with a small confession before I go too far into my review of "Bill Hicks: Love All The People". Truthfully, before I started reading "Love All The People", I knew very little of Bill Hicks. He had become something of a mythical creature to me because I could never seem to find any recordings of his at the local record store. His name, while often mentioned as being a "Legend" in the comedy world, is rarely highlighted to the same extent of say a Carlin, Pryor or even Bruce. All I really knew about him was that he was considered a "Legend" and that he had a no-nonsense approach to comedy and getting his message across.
"Love All The People" opens with a brief foreword/biography of Hicks life that is incredibly beautiful and moving. Although I had just started learning about the man, by the time I had reached the description of his death there was a tear in my eye. I realized at that moment this book was going to do more than just make me laugh. "Love All The People" is essentially a collection of transcripts highlighting some of the more memorable performances of Bill Hicks career. As someone who was diving head first into my first exploration of Hicks style of comedy I found it to be incredibly satisfying. Although you do miss out on his timing and delivery the words themselves force you to understand where this man was coming from.
"Love All The People" has only one major flaw and that is it can be repetitive. Often times two shows that are transcribed as back-to-back chapters may contain only a single "joke" that appears to be different or that the order of the material is now being used differently. While the idea of being able to see how a comedian(especially someone of Hicks status) evolves his material and performance was fascinating for myself as a comic I'm not sure how much the average reader would enjoy this.
"Love All The People" truly shines when Hicks is responding to questions from fans or interviewers, it is at these moments where he is speaking from the heart and with passion that you get the sense that this man was not operating on the same level as the rest of us. He had a vision for the world and all it's surroundings that speaks to your inner voice as being sound and reasonable requests from humanity. You may not agree with everything he said or the manner in which he chose to say it but you cannot disagree with the overall theme of his comedy, his writing or his life: Love All The People.