When 32-year old Bill Hicks died, he had been taking Britain by storm and was on the brink of fame in his own country, 'the United States of Advertising'. Cynthia True has produced a sensitive and compelling biography of the man who brought radical philosophy and rock 'n' roll to the comedy stage. Angry with the establishment, Hicks was a passionate advocate for individual freedom. He was also a man seeking enlightenment, one who believed that life is 'just a ride'. Formerly a vegetarian yoga devotee, Hicks developed a heavy smoking habit and acted as a drugs evangelist as his gigs got more popular and more dangerous. He cleaned up only months before he died from the pancreatic cancer that he had, with unsettling prescience, for years been imagining as an alien sensation in his left side. Petty censorship incensed him; never more so than when he was famously axed from the Letterman show following a tirade of pro-life and Pope digs. Hicks's response was typical: 'Why are people so afraid of jokes?'
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Cynthia True is the former comedy correspondent for Time Out New York. She has also written for Glamour, Rolling Stone and Harper's Bazaar.
American Scream by Cynthia True
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