Bill HIcks Sane Man
Standard version 60 minutes
Extended version 81 minutes
Some 40 minutes of extras.
Ryko 2006
Distributed by EMI Music Canada

The late and great Bill Hicks solidifies his reputation as the Tupac of the stand-up comedy world with the post-mortem release of Sane Man, the first complete Bill Hicks stand-up comedy show ever filmed. That Hicks himself would see a conspiracy theory in his beyond the grave fame and fortune is just something else to think about while watching Sane Man.

This is, if you watch the extended version and not the original version, a must have stand-up comedy DVD of a very thought provoking, edgy comic in excellent form. Sane Man is also a must for anyone who has ever wondered why Bill Hicks is still talked about as one of the greats.

The story behind Sane Man, the 60 minute version, is it was planned as a demo to get an HBO special. That did not come through but the tape made its way through the usual fanatic chain to cult status. For some reason, the extended version of Sane Man, which is the exact same show without some cuts, is far superior in terms of video and audio quality.

While the short Sane Man looks like somebody’s old VHS tape, the long version looks and sounds just as good as a new independent release stand-up comedy DVD,

Recorded at the Laff Stop in Houston, Texas in 1989, Sane Man features Bill Hicks at the top of his game. This dark and thought provoking stand-up comic delivers a tight but loose looking set (never let them see you sweat, you know) that features all of Hicks’ standard topics save the Kennedy conspiracy.

Bill Hicks fanatics will find slightly different versions of favorite routines like the UFO Tour, Waffle House, War On Drugs but also lesser known (well, to me anyways) bits like Dick Clark Antichrist, topical political material on Reagan, George the First, and Dan Quayle.

Some of the material on Sane Man is a bit dated so you might want your older woman lover to tell you who the hell Debbie Gibson, John Davidson, and George Michaels were.

I think Hicks would be very pleased to see these three have finally faded from public consciousness and disturbed to learn people watching this stand-up comedy DVD will probably search for them on the net and so perpetuate their foul fame.

A personal favorite on Sane Man is Third Mall From The Sun, a brilliant bit on our consumer society. However, the very best bit on this stand-up comedy DVD, and one I had not heard until now, can best be titled Dead Rock Stars Swimming Pool, Hicks’ imagination gone wild from the starting point of Jimi Hendrix drowning in a pool of his own vomit. Elvis fans will probably gag at Hicks’ take on the king but people will definitely enjoy it.

Extra features are plenty and generous on Sane Man from Ryko (who also released the excellent Bill Hicks Live DVD) though one, Benefit For Arthur, is not really watchable -they do warn you at the beginning of this particular bonus feature.

A really cool idea was to include sample audio tracks from each of the Bill Hicks comedy CDs to give those discovering this brilliant comedian a taste.

Bill Hicks Sane Man is a must.

Track list (Extended version)

UFO Tour
Waffle House, Tennessee
Drinking, Drunk Drivers
Chevette, Drugs
War On Drugs, Keith Richards
Truth And George Michaels, Hawking Celebrities, Third Mall From The Sun, Dead Rock Star Swimming Pool
Elvis and Tracheotomy Elvis
Mr. Surveyor, Going Longer: Demographics, Boss, Childbrith, Shoe Salesman
Do Not Disturb, Hotel Movie Adult Feature, Models
Reagan, Bush, Quayle, Flag Burning
Dick Clark Antichrist, John Davidson

Extra Features:

Outlaws Get Religion, Houston 1987
Benefit For Arthur
Odds & Ends: Third Mall early show
About Sane Man


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