Bill Hicks – My American Idol

21 years and 2 weeks ago on the 16th of June, an extraordinary man was receiving really bad news from his doctor: “You are diagnosed with cancer.”

Unlike Walter White from “Breaking Bad,” this legend had already paid his dues and roamed the world criticizing every “broken” system we know today, and he was a game-changer in the history of America.

Very few people in America at that time knew who Bill Hicks was. His name was getting popular in other English-speaking countries like the UK and Australia.

He kept his illness to himself and his family without much fuss in the media, and he took his last breath on the 26th of February 1994.

The reason he had to leave us that early remained a mystery to me:

1) Maybe his body couldn’t take all that stress and traveling in his self-imposed exile anymore?
2) Maybe he got bored of this unbearable status humanity has reached?
3) Or maybe he was a true prophet, and it was time for him to leave.

He reminds us of the old success models of a young age that are very hard to exist in today’s world. It’s also at the age of 32 that Alexander the Great died, a year younger than Jesus Christ. For some he was a dangerous lunatic, but for me and many others I know, he became a hero.

What was his job? A standup comedian! That’s it… he just stood on stage and spoke his mind.

But he was not like any standup comedian of his time or comedians we know today. He didn’t time his jokes well to get some cheers and laughs. He actually didn’t care if the audience liked his material or not. He was a philosopher, a free soul, a visionary musician and, most importantly, a true rebel.

He is one of the few people who applied every firm belief he had in his life, and he was his own role model.

Someone with his abilities could have achieved far more fame and influence than he did, but he didn’t… another mystery that I cannot decipher.  Maybe it was because he was a typical white American from Houston, Texas. That’s not the place to criticize the society, government, religion or our way of life, and Bill simply fell a victim of stereotypes. Most of his shows ended up with him running out of clubs and the audience chasing him with anger.  Or maybe it was because he died suddenly at his prime and without raising any child to carry his banner.   Or maybe he came ahead of his time to warn us about the course we are all taking.

He was a true voice that supposedly got his chance to speak in the “land of the free”, but was instead rejected so harshly, censored from the mass media and pushed out of his own country.

I still remember the first time I heard of him in 2003 during the second Gulf War. This guy was speaking about the first Gulf War during George Bush Sr. years, and EVERYTHING he said and predicted was spot on, even today!

The more I listened to him, the more I realized it’s not just that, but far better. He is a teacher with vision on all our aspects of life! His famous sketch, “It’s just a ride” became my motto and way of life ever since. Bill is one of the few people who had a great influence on me and showed me the way in the darkest hours, despite the fact that we never met.

That’s the type of crazy people we tend to push outside society because they challenge the system, but they are also the type of we need the most.  Societies and governments like only those who conform. If you want to disagree, you better live silently on the outskirts. Bill did neither.

That’s not healthy in such a crazy world, but it is the opposite of crazy. It’s true wisdom that people may never take with ease.

I call on everybody to listen to what this man had to say. He left a message that is too important and urgent to ignore. In the days we are living in now, America gave us things like drones during civil weddings, fast food, capitalism, a hollow peace process, American Idol and a long list of things I’m not sure the world will be proud of 50 years from now.

But America also gave us Bill Hicks, my true American Idol, a man the whole world will come to know and remember hundreds of years to come.

About Ahmad Damen 5 Articles
Ahmad Damen is a musician, soundtrack composer and an award-winning film director from Ramallah, Palestine.

1 Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


The reCAPTCHA verification period has expired. Please reload the page.