Flying Saucer Tour Volume 1 (Rykodisc)

Bill Hicks 

Flying Saucer Tour Volume 1 (Rykodisc)

Before his untimely death at age 32, comedian Bill Hicks pissed off just about everyone in sight, particularly his audiences. Fortunately, meager attendance allowed him to avoid serious bodily injury. Every show of Hicks' 1991 Flying Saucer tour was recorded for posterity, and Ryko has stepped up to reissue a number of them. But rather than showcasing Hicks on a good night, Ryko has sagely opted to open its series with one of the most dreadful, an evening in Pittsburgh. Standing before what he describes as "the worst fuckin' audience I've ever faced," Hicks toils relentlessly to get laughs that don't come easily. Not that he did much to help.

"I've been on the road doing comedy now for ten years, so bear with me while I plaster on a fake smile and plow through this shit one more time," Hicks deadpans by way of introduction. Often lumped with irate screamers such as Sam Kinison, Hicks proves to be more social critic than stand-up. He blasts his favorite targets (Republicans, the media, anti-smoking zealots) with scathing commentary suffused with facts and pearls of wisdom. But even his most fearless routines ("Drugs Have Done Good Things," "Mechanics of Pornography") have little impact on this night, and he tosses in the towel after a marathon effort. "I always do long shows when I'm in Pittsburgh," he says before departing, "because I know for a fact there's nothing else going on here." Thank you very much, goodnight.

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