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on 12 February 2004
i dont know about you but after listening to his work on cd, i have always wanted the material in a book and well here it is, its repetitive at times since it contains transcripts from indivdual gigs and if you have the albums then you will hear him as you read and miss his presence even more.
the book also has interviews and write ups of shows, as well as some lyrics and quotes, if you are new or familiar to his work, this is a must and the foreword is very touching too, his outlook is needed more than ever in the world we live in
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on 7 June 2006
If you already know of Bill Hicks, you already know what to expect. He was possibly the brightest, funniest, most insightful man ever allowed to speak publicly. Having said that, they tried to stop him. It's true the routine transcripts are essentially the same, but the joy is in seeing his ad libs and asides that differ with every show; it's partially those parts that allow you to fully understand how incredible he was. His background and story, his poetry and thoughts, his final notes and dreams and everything else included makes this an absolute treaure trove of all things Hicks. He wasn't misanthropic; he was a filthy, gentle, cigarette-smoking, genius, and everyone should be forcibly made to hear his philosophies on life, death and everything in between.
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on 3 March 2004
OK, so we all know Bill was the greatest standup of all time, so lets move on to the specifics of this book.
And I am sorry to say that i was disappointed. £12.99 is a lot for a paperback, and I feel the production values are low.
The paper is a bit cheap, the handful of B&W photos included look as if they've been photocopied from a thumbnail, and the material hasn't been edited with any intelligence.
By page 70 I had read a number of routines four times - no material is that good. It's either laziness or a cynical attempt to pad out the book.
Speaking of which, it also includes a number of reviews. This is also blatant space-filling as these reviews are aimed at bringing Hicks to the public notice, and so irrelevant to those of us reading his material.
Even the cover is annoyingly predictable, B&W Hicks smoking, similar to the cover of the (excellent) 'American Scream' on whose success I assume this book is meant capitalise.
And it doesn't appear to have been proof-read, eg principals & principles are not the same.
Slightly ironic that a comedian best-known for his anti-business line should have a book that's such a cash-in. And how did two people get reviews in here a fortnight before the book was published?
So 5-star material with a 3-star production job gives an overall 4-star.
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on 26 December 2004
A superb collection of live transcripts, interviews, letters and writings from the late great stand-up comedian and confrontational visionary extraordinaire. The spirit of Bill Hicks lives on. Over ten years after his death, some may feel that we need his vision, sanity and humour more than ever. This book is a great reminder of just how brilliant and hysterically funny he was. Several recordings of live performances are also available on c.d.
Relentlessly, Bill rips into the hypocrisy and ridiculousness of much of so-called civilization with astonishing wit and intelligence. "I am available for children's parties", quips Bill after another story involving topics such as pornography or drugs. Other targets include religion ("God, I pray the Christians get the message soon"), America ("There is freedom of speech to the highest bidder"), and global economics and poverty ("Take all that money that we spend on weapons and defence each year, and instead spend it feeding, clothing and educating the poor of the world").
But however political or controversial Bill gets, you sense that here is a loving but troubled soul with an open mind and an open heart. A man who desperately wanted to see more truth, laughter, love, compassion and understanding in the world. God bless the Spirit of Bill Hicks.
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on 7 September 2010
I cannot recommend this book highly enough. I have long been a minor fan of Bill Hicks as I can relate to his brash, cynical, and thoughtful (often political) humour but impulse buying this book has lead me to discover the real man and the depth of insight within his comedy.

Had I not read the introduction by John Lahr in the car the same day (not whilst driving) the book would probably have sat on my side for a good while but it was the closing lines `He made the show of freedom by turns terrifying, exhilarating, and hilarious. ... what only a great comedian can be for any age: an enemy of boundaries, a disturber of the peace, a bringer of insight and joy, a comic distillation of his own rampaging spirit' that made me realise I needed to get to know Bill's material more intimately. In the space of a month I have gone from being familiar with a couple of routines which I had seen previously, to owning and playing repeatedly most of his recordings. At points in this book I was deeply moved by the level of insight and intelligence which Bill brought to us, coupled with a genuine sense of loss that he was taken from us at such a young age and on the point of really being discovered. I consider myself well read in number of different genres but reading this work has still been a truly life-changing experience.

One thing I will say is that there is considerable repetition which is interesting in itself however; it can jar if read too quickly or in the wrong frame of mind. I read another book at the same time and simply dipped in and out reading a piece at a time.
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on 17 August 2010
In the early 1990's, I was aware of this angry, cool-looking American comedian appearing on Channel Four occasionally, but I don't remember taking any time to listen to him properly. I regret that now, because since he died I have begun to appreciate his stand-up performances as some of the most original and insightful comedy routines I have ever seen, and it is books like this that have made me realise too late what I missed back then.

Love All the People is a collection of routines, performed mostly during the early nineties, interspersed with letters, interviews and other Hicks material. Stand-up pieces aside, a real gem is the script for Counts of the Netherworld, a brilliant pilot filmed for Channel 4, which I think gives a glimpse of the direction Bill Hicks might have gone if he'd lived - into groundbreaking television comedy, which would have really got his message across to the people he wanted to hear it.

Some parts of the routines often overlap, but this in itself shows how Hicks honed his material and altered it subtly for a particular audience. But the routines never tire, and I can still dip into the book and find any given section funny, and more importantly still true. Furthermore, if read in sequence, the book works as a kind of biography, and you get a real insight into Bill Hicks the person mainly through his letters and interviews. You like him as a person, not just a comedian, and so knowing where the book is inevitably going creates a sense of tragedy and loss as you read.

That's finally why the title Love All the People is so apt. As described in the introduction, Bill Hicks was a man who loved humanity. He hated those who used the innate goodness of humanity for their own selfish ends; the politicians, the media, and huge exploitative corporations, but he loved people. If you've always had the feeling that they're lying to us, and you recognise the absurdity of it all, then read this book and find a kindred spirit.
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on 10 July 2008
It's always a pleasure to go back over Hicks' material, as it's always funny, intelligent and incisive. Although this book does bring together his greatest spoken word material, however, it fails to take into account that any standup, no matter how good, will inevitably repeat himself, and do so often.

Therefore a good quarter of this book is taken up by frequent reiterations of the same ideas. Hicks, in his all too short career, performed only a handful of documented routines, and those that were documented were often so similar to each other that it's hardly worth reading all of them.

I suppose in some way it does give one some sort of insight into the development of comic material, in the sense that reading a transcript of a new routine, and the reading a transcript of the same routine after a few months of careful honing, can give you an idea of what a challenge it is to make a joke work, but if anything it would have been nice to see Lahr bravely take a pair of scissors to the material and preserve only the best version of each idea. It would have made for a shorter book, for sure, but also a far more definitive read.

Nonetheless, I would recommend this book to any fan of satire and political comedy, since Hicks' material is still amongst the most hilariously trenchant currently available.
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on 29 March 2004
A rather disappointing book. There is little need to print transcripts of 9 Bill Hicks gigs from between 1990 and 1993. A couple would do. It just gets repetitive. A lot of the articles have also appeared on Kevin Booth's website or Dark Times, so no new shakes there either. What is really infuriating is the lack of context to the pieces (you should try Paul Outhwaite's One Consciousness for some depth to the philosophy behind Hicks' material). However, the last few chapters, which include Hicks' own writing and ideas, do make interesting reading. Almost worth it. Must try harder.
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on 27 August 2004
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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on 4 September 2010
Bill Hicks was one of the greatest stand up comedians of all time, who unfortunately passed away just as he was beginning to achieve fame in the United States. His style of humour is dark and he spends much of his time mocking humanity and the US government so be warned.
This book is a set of transcriptions of his stand up shows. There are from time to time other peoples thoughts on the man but most of it is a perfect transcript.
Several of Bills shows are available on CD and DVD, some of which are included within this book, although there are many, many more examples of his excellent comedic skills here. Because of the fact that this is a written version of his shows there are some occasions where he has used the same material and just played from the audiences reaction, this does on a few occasions lead to an odd feeling of deja vu.
Bill Hicks was a genius of standup comedy and (unfortunately) didn't receive the recognition he deserved during his lifetime. This book is an excellent compilation of his gigs and is definitely worth a read. I have yet to finish a page without laughing at least once!
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