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4.1 out of 5 stars
Bill Hicks Live: Relentless [DVD] [2006]
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32 of 33 people found the following review helpful
on 23 June 2006
Bill Hicks was a hilariously funny man and if you haven't come across his stuff before then this will blow your socks off. From UFOs to the debate between drugs and alcohol to the Kennedy assassination and the first Gulf War, nobody is safe from Hicks anger and wit. If you're already a Hicks fan then ignore this DVD and go out and find yourself the VHS version of this show.

Its not the recording quality that annoyed me although it is bad. The producers have put a disclaimer on the start of it explaining that a copy of this performance was hard to find and the quality of one chapter in particular is poor. I don't care if it looks fuzzy, an overweight bespectacled Hicks prowling a dark stage with a microphone is not visually stimulating even in the best definition. You buy it for his material and delivery, not his choice of turtleneck.

What does spoil this DVD is that its a different and poorer performance of the same show released in the 1990s on VHS. Both were recorded at the same comedy festival but clearly on seperate nights. The material is similar but lacks some of the punch, some jokes are toned down or missed out, Hicks is not on the top of his game. Why the producers could not remaster the VHS version I don't know. Enough people seem to own one. If they're really stuck they can borrow mine. But I'd like it back afterwards so I can enjoy a master at work
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 12 November 2009
As I sadly never managed to obtain a VHS copy of "Relentless" I gladly snapped this up on DVD upon it's release. Often cited as "the comic's comic", a title that very few fans of truely great comedy would deny him. This was seen by many as Hicks' breakthrough show and it's easy to see why it still remains such a great show to watch 15 years on from his death.
Although the show is now close to being two decades old the material can still be related to as relevant with many of today's current issues both musically and politically. The New Kids On The Block that he happily tore apart with the line "since when did benality and medicrity become a good influence on your kids" can easily be compared with many supposed "artists" from the current crop of generic, manufactured mass marketed talentless rubbish hurled at our sensitive ears by television and radio today.
The First Gulf War in which Bush Sr was behind succumbs to Hicks' fierce rantings and can be compared to his idiotic son's involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan during this decade.
A man not afraid to point out the positive effects of drugs on society rather than just gloom and negativity and the Governments insistance that only "those non-taxed drugs" are bad for you.
To sum it all up the man was indeed a comic genius and many times I have wondered what he would have made of the world today and how he would have dealt with it through his inspirational rantings.
Rest in peace Bill. You may be gone but will never be forgotten.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 29 July 2000
This is a fantastic video and Hicks was a fantastic comedian. What he sets out to do with his comedy is to highlight and disrupt the hypocritical and bigotted views that much of the world holds as...TRUE. He skips from war to drugs to sex and to music with a dry wrath cutting away at the weeds of falsehood that have grown up around the reality...'The Elite Republican Guard.' 'Non smokers die every day.' and 'Drugs have done good things for us' are just a few of the gems that await anyone watching Relentless. Bill was a comedy genius while he lived, now he is another dead hero...making us laugh and, as equally important, making us think...Buy this video and learn like a blind man to see again...
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on 2 January 2004
This, for me, is the definitive Bill Hicks performance. I will not waste your time (or mine) eulogising the late, great Mr Hicks. It has been done before by more gifted and authoritative writers than myself. Suffice to say that I have been a fan of Bill Hick's ever since the time of his 'One Night Stand' show. I was lucky enough to see him live once in the UK and have devoured any and all material of his I have come across. For me this performance is Bill at the peak of his powers, firing on all cylinders, hitting every target right in the bullseye.
Great though his audio CDs are, in order to experience the full Hicks effect, and in order to appreciate his complete mastery of the stand-up form, you have to *see* the performance. You have to witness him pace the stage during the lulls in his act, as he marshals his forces for another onslaught. Wait with the audience, breath held, for whatever happens next. Witness the passion, the power, the theatrics, the master at work.
Seeing a Bill Hicks performance is a lot like seeing a rock concert, and not just in the obvious ways. Yes there is noise, and sweat, and swearing, and sex, but more than that you will see him play many of the same tunes. The old material is at least as satisfying as the new because each time he plays it it's different. There's a new twist, new timing, new language, new emphasis. Sometimes it's better than last time you heard him play it and sometimes it's not as good, but it is always compelling to watch.
This recording is Bill at his best. A man who's time had come, a master of his craft performing that craft in front of an appreciative audience at the greatest comedy festival in the world, and loving it.
Wherever you are Bill this is how you will be remembered! Oh, and tell Yul Bryner I said 'Hi'!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 22 July 2000
Bill Hicks takes you through his thoughts on drugs, music, and the way people behave. His views on some of these matters may offend the prudish amongst us but for the rest of us it is damn funny. You may notice a lot of gags in here that have been "borrowed" by certain US comics of the 90's 'huh-hmm' but remeber Bill was the first to grab these American ideals by the throat and give them a shake. Bill has now departed this earth but is still one of the funniest stand up's I've ever seen. A must buy it!
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on 8 April 2006
True to say that this is a great and iconic performance that had me watching open mouthed when it was first broadcast (my first experience of Hicks) but, that said, this is indeed a disappointment.
Not only is the quality of the image in part of the show ghastly (as noted by a previous reviewer and only acknowledged by the makers of the DVD once you put the disc on) but it is quite heavily and clumsily edited - 60 minutes as opposed to the 75 quoted on the sleeve. The VHS version is superior if you can still find it.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Widely regarded as one of the greatest stand-up comedians ever, Bill Hicks remains somewhat scarce as far as releases. His career, which lasted for a good 15 years, consisted of more touring than recording - and, indeed, such little success in his homeland - that there are only four DVDs of his material. Relentless, an abridged version of his set from Montreal's Just For Laughs in 1991, is the weakest of those four.

Bill Hicks wasn't so much a comedian with sets, but had a constantly warping and changing routine that evolved over time. As such, for the same reason as Love All The People as a book is repetitive, a lot of the material on Relentless was previously in the superior Sane Man. What is new is, obviously, extremely funny - the material on the Iraq war is dynamite, and what Hicks himself refers to as the 'suck your own c***' bit, and his messages remain strong as always ("when did mediocrity and banality become a good example for your children?").

The DVD suffers from further problems as far as both length and fidelity. The DVD is noticeably edited (I believe around 15 minutes is missing compared to the VHS version) and the DVD helpfully tells you (once you put it on, not on the box) that the last quarter hour or so of the set no longer exists in its master format and as such, is in pretty poor sound and picture quality.

Luckily, Hicks is funny enough - even if you're heard it before - that this DVD is just about worth buying, but it is by some distance fourth on your buyers' list.
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20 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on 14 March 2006
I'm as massive Bill Hicks fan - and I have this on a 10 year old VHS video. I've been waiting for the DVD for a long while...
Can the idiot who audio mastered this please go away and re-do it??? There's distortion all the way through. Bill's voice is distorted and clipped - this DVD sounds AWFUL in comparison with the original. Chapter 9 is also really blurred. What happened here???
I'm so disappointed. HOW COULD YOU DO THIS to such important material. This is Bill's BEST live performance. So, so disappointed.
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19 of 24 people found the following review helpful
In a perfect world there wouldn't be a need for someone like me to urge other people like me to buy "Relentless" But then if the world was perfect there wouldn't really be a need for Bill Hicks which in turn would make the world less than perfect. Mind you even in a world without stupidity, avarice and hypocrisy Hicks would still be funnier than any one else.
Virtually everything Hicks railed against before his tragically premature death from pancreatic cancer in 1994 still holds true today. Wars based on greed, ignorance and lies, religious bigotry and duplicity, Female hypocrisy -Hicks was real good on hypocrisy -censorship, freedom but mainly just the sheer bowel shrivelling idiocy of the human race.
"Relentless "was recorded at the Montreal Comedy Festival in1991. Anything by Hicks is worth your time and money but "Relentless is especially superb. It was coruscating and funny on CD but actually watching Hicks execute his incendiary material is a joy in itself. The guy didn't just have incredible material he could perform as well in his prowling soothsayer for liberty and truth type way.
The comedy in "Relentless" isn't as dark and cruel as some of the stuff he performed later when he realised he might be dying. ( Hicks cancer went into semi- remission at one point but returned more voracious ) and is all the more effective for it's slightly and I mean slightly lighter touch which is bit like saying one black hole is blacker than another but there you go.
Here are some highlights .Bill Hicks always managed to get the last word and I'm not standing in the great mans way : " I'm Bill Hicks and I'm dead now because I smoked cigarettes .Cigarettes didn't kill me-a bunch of non smokers kicked the crap out of me one night- I tried to run, they had more energy than I had. I tried to hide-They heard me wheezing. "
"Did you know that if you play New Kids on the Block records backwards they sound better?.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 12 September 2000
the funniest man to have lived the second half of the 20th century. Is there anything funnier than the JFK sketch? A tragic loss.
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