Outlaw Comic: The Censoring of Bill Hicks

Ratings: 8.61/10 from 57 users.

Outlaw Comic: The Censoring of Bill HicksA biographical documentary on the late great comedian Bill Hicks and his career; in particular the censorship by Letterman that scarred it.

Hosted by Janeane Garofalo, this documentary tells the story of Bill's transition from a non-drinking, non-smoking, straight laced funny man, to a hard drinking, hard smoking, drug taking angry ranter, to the happy and finally, peaceful and insightful man of much wisdom.

A rare insight into the battle against censorship that the great Bill Hicks waged against corporate America and it's mainstream media for the better part of 15 years.

After 11 successful appearances on The Tonight Show with David Lettermen, the 'powers that be' axed Bill's final performance from the show. 4 months later, Bill would tragically die from pancreatic cancer at the age of 32.

72 Comments / User Reviews

  1. mini-super

    "uncensored comedy", really?
    What happened to all the swear words?
    Anyways, great story of a great man. A true inspiration.

  2. Ramus
  3. Ramus

    Comedy Uncensored? Umm its censored?? Weird.
    I never knew Bill was unsuccessful in America, he's a legend here in Britain.

  4. Achems Razor
  5. Achems Razor

    Very interesting and informative doc.

  6. Waldo
  7. Waldo

    @ Ramus

    Bil had a small but very dedicated following here in the US. His comedy did more than make alot of us laugh, it opened our eyes to a whole new way of thinking. Unfortunately his comedy was far too contreversial for most of the disconnected conservative types that control our networks and politics here. Bill Mayer is about as far left as the masses will go in the US, and he catches a lot of flack for his statements. Hicks was ahead of his time here in the US, we're getting there but not yet. In the mean time all us lefty liberals have our Bill hicks recordings to watch, Dangerous and Relentless was his best performance in my book.

    He was also closely tied to the band Tool, opened for them several times, and the album Ainema had several clips of his material embedded in the music. Hick's routine were he talked about Los Angeles falling into the pacific ocean inspired the title track for Ainema. The lead singer for Tool once said that Hicks and Tool both resonated the same message of questioning authority and thinking for yourself. He may not of had a huge following here, but those of us that loved him miss his comedy and philosphy very much.

  8. Sam
  9. Sam

    To be fair, there is a difference between censoring ideas and the word 'fu-ck'.

  10. Ramus
  11. Ramus

    The world is like a ride in an amusement park and when you choose to go on it you think its real, cos that's how powerful our minds are. The ride goes up and down and round and round, it has thrills and chills and it's very brightly coloured and it's very loud. And it's fun, for a while. Some people have been on the ride for a long time and they begin to question, is this real? Or is this just a ride? And other people have remembered and they come back to us and say "Hey! Don't worry, don't be afraid ever because - this is just a ride...."

    R.I.P. Bill

  12. esmuziq
  13. esmuziq


  14. Waldo
  15. Waldo

    To finish Ramus's qoute:

    "And other people have remembered and they come back to us and say “Hey! Don’t worry, don’t be afraid ever because – this is just a ride. And we shoot those people.... we always kill the good guys who try and tell us that, you ever notice that? And let the demons run amok ...but it doesn't matter, because it's just a ride. And we can change it any time we want. It's only a choice. No effort, no work, no job, no savings of money. Just a simple choice, right now, between fear and love. The eyes of fear want you to put bigger locks on your doors, buy guns, close yourself off. The eyes of love instead see all of us as one.

    Here's what we can do to change the world, right now, to a better ride. Take all that money we spend on weapons and defenses each year and instead spend it feeding and clothing and educating the poor of the world, which it would pay for many times over, not one human being excluded, and we could explore space, together, both inner and outer, forever, in peace."

    R.I.P. Bill indeed, you were loved and are missed dearly.

  16. .308
  17. .308

    Thank you Bill Hicks

  18. Doug
  19. Doug

    Love Bill Hicks, too bad they had to have a cunt narrate this documentary.

  20. Doug
  21. Doug

    Love Bill Hicks, but it is too bad they chose a real C U Next Tuesday to narrate the documentary. Can't wait to tell her RIP.

  22. Colin
  23. Colin

    Excellent documentary and intro to the life of Bill Hicks.

    I like the addition of the Radiohead song "Hunting Bears" in the sound track.

  24. Clarence Brisbane
  25. Clarence Brisbane

    Would have been great had it not been for jeanne garafola's intrusive voice-over. How many times did she have to say "Bill was dying."

  26. 011110011
  27. 011110011


  28. TheElusiveRyan
  29. TheElusiveRyan

    As others have pointed out Janeane Garofalo???
    Strange choice i have never seen anything funny from her before maybe she just wants to be part of real comedy for once
    Another good doc as always
    keep them coming

  30. Leonard
  31. Leonard

    Like Bill said, we live in a free country: free to do what we're told by government and multi-national corporations. The drug cartels (Big Pharma) owns big media, which is why he couldn't speak freely. Freedom of speech? Ha! How long has it been? We have a chance to get it back, and if and when we do it'll be like the Egyptians did it. Bill was a free spirit and a genius in his realm. May we all learn from and be inspired by him.

  32. InedibleHulk
  33. InedibleHulk

    I think Hicks would agree that his death was the best thing to happen to his career, excluding his actual work. Since 1994, the networks can freely publicize praise of him to capture that proverbial "anti-marketing market" without fear of appearing obliged to have him on one of their shows. Even now in 2011, a man like Hicks is "dangerous" to primetime CBS viewers, among other "key" demographics. Learning now that Carrot Top won an award at all is doubly disappointing considering the ironic timing.

  34. Mad
  35. Mad

    Bill Hicks was a very interesting character his comedy is a lot funnier than this documentary obviously, he destroys Rush limp-balls that was great. I share his frustration with "carrot top" that guy sucks and the ginger bastard didn't even deserve those AT&T commercials he got. He is definitely on the vulgar "dangerous" side for the FCC not to mention the fact he challenged the status quo. Shame he died so young, them damn cancer sticks! (I don't hate smoking, I hate people who have a problem with smokers and lawmakers who try to pass laws to make it illegal to smoke in bars)

  36. Spaghetti and Meatballs
  37. Spaghetti and Meatballs

    Well, the truth is that if freemasons actually had a sense of humour Bill would have enjoyed a much more productive career,. but alas they do not, and never will have a sense of the finer arts !

  38. Ron
  39. Ron

    Very unfortunate that americans cannot laugh at themselves like other cultures...western cultures. There is a lot to be said for understanding who you really are and then having a laugh about it from time to time.

    I also agree there is something different from sensoring ideas rather than profane words. But in the end network television is about selling Big Macs. Then you end up with the alternative...FOX????

  40. aaangie
  41. aaangie


  42. RogerR
  43. RogerR

    Good doco, although the actual production on the whole did not do him justice.

    RIP Billy

  44. Maynard K
  45. Maynard K

    Sad really ... we lose Bill Hicks & George Carlin however Larry the Cable Guy & Carrot Top still roam!

  46. John D
  47. John D

    Vlatko you sir are the man.. Thanks, I love Bill Hicks

  48. Zatarra
  49. Zatarra

    Bill Hicks was a master of picking out the funny facts in life and he died just before all the best material is coming to pass. Just think what 8 more years of bush would have given him. Where is the bill hicks for the 21st century?

  50. Bill Hicks Sucked
  51. Bill Hicks Sucked

    He is, hands down, the most overrated comedian of all time.

  52. azilda
  53. azilda

    I once married a Californian, the first day i met his family was at a Thanksgiving diner. We are all sitting at the table and the conversation turned toward "bad talking and swearing", being French i said: in Quebec people swear with religious words and it make no sense at all to anybody else, we add tabarnak to any comment and that is considered offensive, well i must say when you guys say Fu-ck...it makes no sense at all to us.

    They hated me from that day on for daring to pronounce the work Fu-ck at the Thanksgiving table and were happy to see me divorced and replaced by a young Japanese woman. I just didn't know at the time to say The F word...a habit in the english language to say the S word for shit or the C word or the B word or the N word...as if no one is saying the word in their mind as they hear that. I have always thought the "majority" of English (Canadian or American) people to be really stuck up about sexual humor.

    And about Hicks: Why would he go back three times in a row to the David Letterman show, knowing his jokes had to be censored to the point of not making sense? Did he need money that much? drugs and booze can be expensive.

  54. ronsfi
  55. ronsfi

    Well, he was funny at first, but his last performance...not funny. Meh. So much for the hagiography.

  56. Third Thumb
  57. Third Thumb

    If Bill never dropped the F or N or GOD bomb, maybe The Censorship Guys would have aloud the public listen. Sam your right... censoring naughty language is vital to free-speech. Having ideas is only possible if you never curse. Thanks for proving that banning words leads to freedom.

  58. Richard
  59. Richard

    does anyone else think Bill should have picked a slightly different line of work? I love the guy, but I hate stand-up in general... he should have been fronting a punk band, or something. I'll probably cop a lot of flak, but I just think he had a lot more in common with Jello Biafra than Jerry Seinfeld - and a lot of what he had the guts to say was wasted at the local comedy corner. Just the wrong audience.

  60. azilda
  61. azilda

    Since my comment is awaiting moderation i thought i'd rewrite it with my own moderation:
    I once married a Californian, the first day i met his family was at a Thanksgiving diner. We are all sitting at the table and the conversation turned toward “bad talking and swearing”, being French i said: in Quebec people swear with religious words and it make no sense at all to anybody else, we add tabarnak to any comment and that is considered offensive, well i must say when you guys say F**k… which would translate as fourré and would make no sense at all in a phrase. They hated me from that day on for daring to pronounce the work F**k at the Thanksgiving table and were happy to see me divorced and replaced by a young japenese woman. I just didn’t know at the time to say The F word, again a habit that only works in the english language where people say the S word for pou pou or the C word the female part or the B word for a female dog or the N word for a beautiful human being, as if no one is saying the word in their mind as they hear that. I have always thought the “majority” of English (canadian or american) people to be really stuck up about sexual humour.
    And about Hicks: Why would he go back three times in a row to the David Letterman show, knowing his jokes had to be censored to the point of not making sense? Did he need money that much? drugs and booze can be expensive.

  62. Brian
  63. Brian

    lol "there is a difference between censorship and saying f-uck." That's only bad because people are told that it is some bad terrible word. I think part of that was Bill's point, I don't want to pretend I knew him, but the idea of thinking for yourself and questioning social norms is still a good idea. I just ran into Bill's comedy like 2 years ago and I think hes great, not only for the comedy but for the scene and the hostility he received for it. Most people settle for mediocrity and consumerism,exactly what society tells you is good, so you try to satisfy your needs for 'goodness' by finding more people to argue with over pointless and petty issues.

  64. john
  65. john

    bill hicks..rip murdered by the us govt.

  66. toddy
  67. toddy

    Bill must've been turning over after carrot top won the award. In a land that prides itself on "freedom of speech" , yet you say anything that upsets anyone your censored. Question everything and think for yourself. One last thing Fornication Under Consent of the King.

  68. kretik77
  69. kretik77

    RIP Bill
    Thanks for posting this documentary

  70. peppe baeng
  71. peppe baeng

    One of my heros.Very good doc. Much respect to mr Bill Hicks.

  72. Vlatko
  73. Vlatko

    Well @.308, how do you expect your link to pass:

    1. It is pointing to a bloody feed.
    2. You don't use a valid email.
    3. Your nickname is a number with a dot on front.

  74. .308
  75. .308

    so... what's you point Vlat??

    You don't like Mike Rivero podcast? If so just say so, and stop making useless excuses to not post my message that was directed to Zatarra, asking ''... Where is the bill hicks for the 21st century?'', to wich I replied '' well might not be a Bill Hicks, but I find Mike Rivero Pertinent and Funny'' fallowed by the link to his podcast.


  76. Wayne
  77. Wayne

    Come on. Everyone knows late night talk shows are supposed to be little more than mindless fluff.
    Showtime and HBO were the real purveyers of cutting edge comedy.
    Bill should have stuck to them instead of persuing the network idiot boxes.
    Still, his approach at first was really too aggressive. You never attack the audience. Too bad he learned how to draw in the people too late in life. He would still be a star of comedy today if he had lived.

  78. Max Dennis
  79. Max Dennis

    ironic that the swearing was censored???


    A shame internet wasn't like it is today back then,this gut would become a legend.
    Im from Portugal,never heard of this guy before today and though it was a long time ago,is intellectual jokes still make sence today,anyone knows of a similar comedian these days????

    Thanks Vlatko

  82. abraxes
  83. abraxes


  84. abraxes
  85. abraxes

    amazing. Hicks was a prophet

  86. Ms.
  87. Ms.

    I'd like to see an autopsy performed. .05 percent get pancreatic cancer at 32 I don't care how many drugs you use.

  88. VigilanteMan
  89. VigilanteMan

    Did anyone else notice that after all this they censored the song at the end?

  90. BrotherFromAnotherMother
  91. BrotherFromAnotherMother

    Did you only watch the ending?
    The whole thing was censored, i did'nt hear one curse word.
    Funny it only bothered you at the end.

  92. Brad
  93. Brad

    Words cannot possibly convey how badly I want to be inside Janeane Garofalo

  94. Michael Symboluk
  95. Michael Symboluk

    Doug Stanhope

  96. Bobby Mitzel
  97. Bobby Mitzel

    He would've loved that analogy I'm sure

  98. Emma Korn
  99. Emma Korn

    i see your point but bill hicks is like what jello would have been if he was funny. and what henry rollins would have been if he was more intelligent and and also funny. it takes more skill to make an audience laugh at the same time as offering alternative political opinions than it does to make punk music. and he was aiming at a wider audience, as jello said himself punk is just another stale cartoon ...

  100. Vegan Veganvegan
  101. Vegan Veganvegan

    yep, Eddie Izzard. Izzard is the best alive today, imo.

  102. Vegan Vegan
  103. Vegan Vegan

    Hicks is hilarious. He must have hit a nerve in you. You have to be able to take a poke and laught at yourself. We can't just laugh at other people all the time, we have to laugh at ourselves too. Hicks Rules!

  104. Vegan Vegan
  105. Vegan Vegan

    Thank you so much for turning me onto Dough Stanhope. I just watched 'No Returns' instantly on Netflix and it rocked! He just took #1 spot in my comdedian line up. Eddie Izzard is now #2. Thanks!

  106. bigtime23
  107. bigtime23

    would have been better without garofalo's dumbass all over it. she reminds me of someone who found a trend and a group of people she felt more comfortable with rather than sitting down and pondering all of these views she stammers about on tv. have you ever seen her in a debate? f--king horrible. i am extremely liberal but hey man its about the subject matter! not about what you wear(che guevara t-shirts), what you smoke, where and who you hang with. hmmm...it was also kinna f--ked up they censored the entire doc haha.

  108. GoughLewis
  109. GoughLewis

    Liked it. All Bill Hicks docs are cool.

  110. knowledgeizpower
  111. knowledgeizpower

    Yeah I enjoyed watching this one. Hicks was one of the truth talkers up there in the likes of George Carlin, umm sad that he died too young. I don't know I believe his death is really suspicious if you ask me. "They" always want to quiet those that speak the truth especially exposing the government

  112. mixtrix
  113. mixtrix

    A censored "uncensored" documentary?????
    "appearances on The Tonight Show with David Lettermen"?
    I've got news for ya, Letterman NEVER hosted the Tonight Show!
    You i***** insult this man's work.

  114. mixtrix
  115. mixtrix

    Wow! They just censored ME here.

  116. mixtrix
  117. mixtrix

    Are you kidding? Or too stoned?

  118. Angela Velazquez
  119. Angela Velazquez

    loved it.very funny yet sad, died too young.......

  120. Ilya Biryukov
  121. Ilya Biryukov

    An uncensored documentary with the word 'f***' beeped out?
    As Bill would have said: "Well done, America".

  122. Darknightwatchman
  123. Darknightwatchman

    "Another dead hero"

  124. englishjo
  125. englishjo

    Would've had his babies. Sob.

  126. kompikos
  127. kompikos

    Flash of genius. One of the greatest American comedians of all times if you ask me.

  128. Guest
  129. Guest

    There isn't any question about that, friend. Funniest SOB alive or dead, imo.

  130. kitten
  131. kitten

    Wow...what did she ever do to you? I find Dennis Leary offensive since he has ripped Bill off.

  132. kitten
  133. kitten

    Putting others down don't lift them up.

  134. Derek Seymour
  135. Derek Seymour


  136. Derek Seymour
  137. Derek Seymour

    this *is* a joke. Doco from a network about the censoring of Hicks, with the swearwords cut out.

  138. Derek Seymour
  139. Derek Seymour

    good doco. but trio (uncensored comedy) need to check out the word irony

  140. Derek Seymour
  141. Derek Seymour

    k...nice to know. Get a thesaurus

  142. Derek Seymour
  143. Derek Seymour

    Seinfeld? cmon. please. Virtually nothing in common, except....hmmm, nope, seinfeld's standup sucks. If you'd have said Larry David, that's closer...i can live with that

Leave a comment / review: