Bill Hicks, adman?

Comic 'would have made a commercial'

Bill Hicks, the comic idolised for his contempt of the marketing industry, once considered doing an advert.

The late American comic’s most famous rant urged everyone working in the advertising industry to kill themselves – but a new book reveals there was one product he would have endorsed commercially.

In Agent Of Evolution, Hicks’s long-time friend Kevin Booth reveals that the stand-up would have put his name to aloe vera gel – which he found genuinely soothed his skin after exposure to the searing Florida system.

Booth claims Hicks told him: ‘You know, I would do a commercial for aloe gel. I really like it. If people wanted to ask me about aloe gel, I would do something about it.’

Booth adds: ‘It’s not heresy, it actually happened. There’s your patron saint of anti-marketing.

‘I don’t want to make excuses for Bull. It’s just something he once said. He also turned down every endorsement opportunity he was ever offered.

‘It wasn’t so much whether you did a commercial, it was whether you were peddling some bullshit product just for a buck.’

Booth also defended himself from claims he was cashing in on his friendship with Hicks by writing the book, and by marketing his products under his Sacred Cow lable.

He said: ‘Put it this way. You spend 17 years working with someone and for the first 15 there’s hardly a dime in it.

‘Then the guy dies and people are coming out of the woodwork going, “Can I borrow a recording of such-and-such. I’m not in it for the money, I just want to spread the word of Bill.”

‘The truth of the matter is we – both Bill and I – were in it for the money right from the start. We are creative people and we like making things. But, shit, I wanted to make some money too.”


For full review of the book >>

Published: 5 Apr 2005

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