Hicks unheard

1992 interview released

A previously unheard interview with Bill Hicks, recorded just over year before his death, has been released online today.

The recording features British stand-up Nick Doody – then a 19-year-old student just embarking on his comedy career – interviewing his comedy hero.

During the 1992 interview, Hicks also invites Doody to join him on stage at the Oxford Apollo, despite his inexperience.

Doody said: ‘I’ve had this interview on an old C-90 cassette tape since 1992, and, with a few exceptions, have been too excruciated at hearing myself aged 19, talking to what I suppose I’d have thought of then as a “proper comedian”, to play it to anyone else.

‘One of the parts that makes me cringe is my managing to give Bill the impression that I'm a stand-up comic with two years’ experience, which may have been true in a technical sense but is incredibly misleading. At the time I’d done perhaps 12 gigs, all to my student peers, and I don’t think it had yet properly dawned on me that this was what I wanted to do as a career.

‘I still find listening back to it toe-gnawingly embarrassing, but that seems too selfish a reason not to make a substantial interview with such a comedy legend available in the public domain. And the interview ends up having a bit of a plot; it goes somewhere I certainly never imagined.’

In the interview, Hicks talks about his obsession with UFOs, the ‘Dylan approach’ to comedy, and gives tips on giving up smoking.

He says he’s a long way from the ‘stratosphere of superstardom’ because he riffed around his material each night, rather than delivering the same polished routine, which made him difficult to market.

He admits that when he started influenced by Woody Allen, almost copying his style, and later took in aspects of Richard Pryor’s comedy and the ‘myth’ of Lenny Bruce. And he expresses some dissatisfaction with the stress of being constantly on the road, never able to hold down a relationship.

Hicks died of pancreatic cancer on February 26, 1994, aged 32.

Doody released the footage in his free Doubling Up podcast, which he co-hosts with fellow stand-up Rob Heeney. Listen in at DoublingUp.info.

Published: 29 Mar 2010

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