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29 of 29 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Somewhat interesting
I was given this volume of writings and transcriptions of Bill Hicks by someone who was under the mistaken impression that I was a fan of Hicks. So I read it, and found it of greater interest than I had anticipated.

One thing that struck me was that comedy was really only a secondary feature of Hicks' work. Primarily, he was a social critic and something of a...
Published on 1 Jan 2010 by Guardian of the Scales

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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars What might have been
Bill Hicks was the most influencial and significant comedian of his generation. Virtually ignored in America during his lifetime his sudden demise to cancer was all the more tragic as he was on the cusp of the success he had long sought for. "Love all the people" has attempted to bring together all his material in one volume, providing a reference point for long time...
Published on 8 Mar 2004 by J. Smith


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29 of 29 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Somewhat interesting, 1 Jan 2010
This review is from: Love All the People (Paperback)
I was given this volume of writings and transcriptions of Bill Hicks by someone who was under the mistaken impression that I was a fan of Hicks. So I read it, and found it of greater interest than I had anticipated.

One thing that struck me was that comedy was really only a secondary feature of Hicks' work. Primarily, he was a social critic and something of a philosopher. He was a relentless critic of politicians, the media and of hypocrisy in all its guises. He had a complete, and possibly nave, faith in the essential goodness of humankind, blaming capitalism for the problems in American society. He also talked about God a lot, and referred often to the teachings of Jesus, often to point out the ways in which organized Christianity deviated from the teachings of their prophet. He saw his own task as being to force his audience to hear their own inner voice of reason, beneath the incessant hum of the agenda-driven and fear-mongering mass media. Another central theme for Hicks was drugs: he wanted them legalized, on the grounds that alcohol causes more destruction than any illegal substance. Hicks' politics did not help him win mainstream media coverage in the USA, and his fame in his own lifetime was greater in Britain.

This volume also contains the original treatment for Hicks' intended TV show for Channel 4, "The Counts of the Netherworld"; a bizarre affair, highly ambitious, quite pretentious, with little apparent humour. It features a manifesto in poetic form from Hicks, proclaiming himself to be "the Voice of Reason/ In a world gone mad, adrift on banal seas". Hicks was nothing if not earnest, bringing an evangelical zeal to his mission to "enlighten people to think for themselves". He was cynical about society, but he never extended this to people. He never really explained why, either, if people are so good, society is so, in his view, bad. He had, I think, a psychological need to believe in the goodness of people and the meaningfulness of life. This becomes even clearer in his last writings, when he knew he was not far from death. He becomes almost sentimental. He never seems to have stopped looking for his parents' approval, either, still trying to convert them to the music he liked on his death bed. The deadpan persona hid a sensitive, insecure individual who longed for acceptance and fellowship. But his foremost allegiance was to truth and in his pursuit of this he certainly showed himself to be a man of integrity, and integrity is the one thing we look for in our cultural icons these days. As to whether he was a genius, I'm not so sure, unless one can be said to have a genius for integrity. Many in Hicks' wake have faked this characteristic successfully enough, but Hicks was the real thing, one cannot deny him that.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Waiting for the world to catch up, 30 Mar 2005
By 
Mr. C. V. Giordano "mingilini" (poole, uk) - See all my reviews
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Bill Hicks was one of the last true comic geniuses we had. This may be a bit repetitive for old fans who already know most of the stand-up material in the first two thirds of the book, but this is supposed to be a collection of Bill's best routines, along with other philosophical thoughts, letters and creative writing. It is the thoughts and Bill's own writing on smoking, drugs, abortion, love, politics, conspiracies, evolution and enlightenment etc towards the end of the book which show the depth of his imagination. These thoughts are inspirational, open minded and much more positive than those shown throughout his so-called 'comedy of hate'. Really, as shown at the end of the book, Bill was a man who believed in love, but just didn't know how to show it in the conventional way. This free thinker will truly be missed - but at least he will have evolved to a better place.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A book that drove me to tears..., 17 Sep 2004
Needless to say, Bill Hicks was a genius who spoke with utter honesty that was unheard of in the 1980's and early 1990's, and with a clear message that is sorely missed in today's increasingly fearful world.
This book made me realise how much we need Bill today. What he had to say still seems relevant ten years after his untimely death. Though there is repetition in this book with some of the material, no two transcripts in this book are the same and you can sense Bill's passion for what he was saying and you can hear his voice saying it. This book is an extremely worthy item to add to the collection of Bill Hicks memorabilia. As well as transcripts of some of his best shows, there are also magazine articles, letters sent from Bill and Bill's own poetry and other writings. Some of these were so beautiful that they made me cry. Mainly because they were written so close to his death, but also because he creates such wonderfully perfect imagery. He often referred to himself as a 'dark poet', but he could be the opposite too.
This is a book that made me laugh and cry out loud. It also saved me at times of great boredom. There's only so many episodes of 'Keeping Up Appearances' you can watch with your Nan without wanting to take some kind of drastic action. Thank you Bill! A job well done by John Lahr.
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47 of 51 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars rebuttal, 12 Mar 2004
Ok, so this is a pretty good book. Its not supposed to be an edited text of Bills work. It does exactly what it says on the tin. It's a collection of his letters lyrics and routines. Including all his recorded material. If you have his CD's then you will also notice that he tends to repeat himself, albeit with slightly different takes and slants from gig to gig. This is what happens when you perform stand-up and is not a 'cynical attempt to pad out the book'. Its also interesting to fans like myself to pick up on subtle nuances and how stuff evolved. It's meant to be a book for the Bill freaks of which I am one. It's so we can have his words in written form to quote at our friends and nemeses to make ourselves look clever and look cool. It's also for those who want some extra Bill stuff never seen before. Like letters and scripts. So get off yer high horse Welsh bloke, American Scream was a Bio not a comprehensive collection of routines. How the hell does this capitalise on that? In the same way the CD's do I suppose..Love all the people is a welcome addition to the body of work on Hicks. The bloke was a genius comedian and a social commentator the likes of which could have a made a difference in todays paranoid, cartoon world had he not been cruelly taken. Anything which helps spread the word can only be a good thing.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Go to sleep, America! Shut up and watch this!, 27 Jun 2005
This review is from: Love All the People (Paperback)
As radical and as contraversial as Bill Hicks was during his comedic career, his humour still has much contemporary value, and it's great to see a book that not only condenses some of Hicks' more volatile moments, but also shows us a little of the man behind the mouth.
The book primarily serves up several word-by-word passages of Hicks' routines in certain places at certain times of his career. Admittedly, much of the material repeats in several chapters, and reading a stand-up comedian's comic routine on paper without getting all the infections, gestures, and energy does weaken the material, but even then, the strength of his convictions, the vitriol that he has to vent on the media, the US government, pro-lifers, non-smokers and parents is astoundingly astute, and surprisingly contemporary, even though it's been over 10 years since his death.
At times, I was shocked enough to laugh out loud when a new routine cropped up that just tickled me in the right way, but as he says in several interviews, his comedy was merely what he saw when he held the light of reason up to the world. He was a believer in a better world, and a despiser of anything that surpressed and restrained the human spirit. Influenced in equal parts by Woody Allen and Noam Chomsky, his observations still ring true today, and contemporary bookshop activists such as Michael Moore are still trying to catch up.
Read this, and see why Bill Hicks is posthumously remembered as a revolutionary comedy legend!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Without the Verbals, 27 Aug 2004
By 
Steven Moses - See all my reviews
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I stumbled across Hicks on C4 a few years ago performing at the Dominion Theatre (arguably his most seminal routine captured for tv) and became immediately hooked. He's the greatest stand-up that ever lived and this book is another example of the pure genius of his comedy. If, like me, you already own a number of his routines on DVD and cd you'll recognise an awful lot of this material that is quoted word for word here. However, why this book is an essential purchase for Hicksians is the format this book presents. Reading his words rather than listening to them gives you time to digest the meaning a little more slowly. It doesn't have the power of his delivery of course but you can still hear his voice in your mind anyway. Taking the time to think even more about the power of his humour in written form only enhances the pleasure. It's also quite handy if you want to skip immediately to a memorable quote rather than having to hunt for the DVD or cd. If you're new to Hicks try the above TV show on dvd or 'Relentless' on cd but this is a worthwhile addition to his canon regardless of whether someone is cashing in or not.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Where is he when we need him?, 23 April 2004
By 
Rowan Manahan (Ireland) - See all my reviews
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At last! some of Bill's off-stage writings, plus all of the familiar routines meticulously reproduced. The poems, song lyrics and articles are particularly poignant. Fascinating also to see the pitches for programme ideas. John Lahr's foreword is pithy and marvellous.
What's funny to me as a long-time fan (he deftly asnwered my heckle about Tiffany - "Ah, Satan's little secretary" - during his Tivoli gig in Dublin in 1992) is how 'reasonable' some of his material looks when it's written down, rather than delivered in Bill's unique style.
Fabulous book - couldn't recommend it more for the fans. If you're new to Bill, make sure you buy at least two of the CDs at the same time as getting the book ...
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars What might have been, 8 Mar 2004
By 
J. Smith "Jeremy Smith" (Oxford, England) - See all my reviews
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Bill Hicks was the most influencial and significant comedian of his generation. Virtually ignored in America during his lifetime his sudden demise to cancer was all the more tragic as he was on the cusp of the success he had long sought for. "Love all the people" has attempted to bring together all his material in one volume, providing a reference point for long time lovers of his work as well as a starting point for newly acquainted fans.
Unfortunately, it fails on both counts due to the repetitive nature of the material printed here. Bill Hicks left such a small body of recorded work that ideas which sound inspired and hilarious the first time you read them quickly become trite by the fourth or fifth time you see them in print. This is particularly true for Hicks admirers who have already bought the live albums as they are verbatim the same routines!
Through no fault of the comedian the stand-out moments are not the standup material but the letters and interviews which reveal Hicks as a imaginative thinker and deeply concerned person. It's interesting to see how he appeared to be nearing the end of his standup life and exploring new avenues (not all comic ones). In his lifetime however, Bill Hicks was first and foremost a comedian and although "Love all the people" gives a better sense of Hick's mission than Cynthia True's "American Scream" it is limited by its narrow approach (as well as by some downright sloppy editing) Those waiting for the definitive book on Bill Hicks will have to wait a little longer.
jeljms@yahoo.co.uk
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Laugh. You'll only cry otherwise, 17 Oct 2010
This review is from: Love All the People (Paperback)
Like almost all anti-establishment figures who died before their time, Bill's premature death served to seal his reputation as an almost godlike figure. Easy to be cynical about that of course, but also worth remembering that to be timeless you need a special something in the first place. Bill was no saint, no genius, and his arguments were not always as watertight as they might at first have appeared. But reading his material 16 years on - and reflecting on everything that's happened since - he seems, if not quite godlike, then at least the closest we got to a pre-millenial prophet. And a funny one at that. Much of his continued popularity lies in the simple fact that his material is still so painfully relevant; his vital injection of unhinged sanity more desperately required than ever.

Reading his denunciation of the first Gulf War and President Bush Sr, you can't help but reflect on the ample material he'd have had to work with during the Bush Jr era and the invasion of Iraq. Reading his take on the safe and soulless manufactured pop of the 80s and 90s, you long to hear him let rip on the proliferation of reality TV. Reading his caustic lampooning of reactionary Republicans, you wonder what he'd have had to say about the Tea Party movement. It's impossible not to ponder these things and wonder how the focus of his work might have changed had he remained with us. Was he all set to have become a lightning rod for reason? Or for spirituality? Was he destined to become a leading light of the late 90s anti-globalisation movement? Or a researcher of '9/11 truth'? It's possible to find seeds for all of these and more in the later routines covered in this collection.

Of course one of the most moving things about reading this book is knowing what lies ahead. Several 1993 performances feature Bill joking with the audience about how this would be his last show ever. He knew the real reason of course, but he didn't let on. Also included here is his 31 page letter to John Lahr revealing his devastation at being the first ever comedy act to be cut from the Letterman show. (Letterman would later take full responsibility for that decision and in 2009 finally air the routine in its entirety in the presence of Bill's mother as guest.) Another fascinating inclusion is the script for the pilot episode of a new Channel 4 talk show, Counts of the Netherworld. This would eventually be screened in 2004 on the tenth anniversary of his death.

Transcripts are always going to be an incomplete way to experience a performance, but thankfully the transcripts here are faithfully recounted down to each hesitation and word stumble (and for anyone familiar with Hicks's routines, it's really not hard to pull the missing flourishes and contortions from your head). Unsurprisingly this is a book with no shortage of laugh out loud material, but the additional letters and lyrics give the reader a fascinating insight into Bill Hicks the man. Original, challenging, and well-meaning, he wasn't perfect but he was mostly on the right track, and, to coin a phrase, one of life's good guys. If you identify with that feeling of being caught between both loving humanity and fast losing faith in it, read this book, smile, and take comfort in the fact that at least one man was feeling much the same way almost two decades ago.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Finally, Someone who spoke the truth, 5 Mar 2006
This review is from: Love All the People (Paperback)
This book will really change the way you think about everything political and beyond. You may not agree with what Hicks says but you have to have respect for a man who dare to get up on stage and say it.
He is a genius and I only wish he was here, still doing his routines. It would have been great to know what he thought of the world today. I found his ideas refreshing and I promise that you will find yourself laughing at the most awful things. His quotes are inspiring and his routines are truly his own.
This book has really got me thinking. I never understood the idea of reading a book that changed your life...until now.
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Love All the People
Love All the People by Bill Hicks (Paperback - 26 May 2005)
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