A lot of people on the club scene have been high on Bill Hicks for years. A cult figure in London, he was the subject of a recent New Yorker magazine profile not long after he was bumped off the David Letterman show reportedly for being too controversial (which says something about Letterman's putative iconoclasm). He's just concluded a brief Southland run--Tuesday night at the Brea Improv and Wednesday at Igby's.
No comedian likes to dance alone. The Brea club, though functional and capacious, is as sterile as a medical clinic. But the wary inertia Hicks worked against was partly his own creation. At one point the 31-year-old Texan mentioned that stand-up was all he ever wanted to do since he was 15 because it was a venue for truth-telling. You can see how talking out loud is for him a way of working through dilemmas or pointing out the preposterous that the rest of us conveniently overlook.
Consider, he says, watching "Cops" on TV and seeing the same battered wives in the same trailer parks hanging on to loutish husbands and breeding litters of kids destined for dead-end lives ("What is their family tree? A stump?"). There are a lot of religious references (as in "Where does the chocolate Easter bunny show up in the Bible?") and he's not coy about his politics ("Old Clinton turned out to be just what I thought: A whore").