Bill Hicks Sane Man

This collection has tremendous historical relevance for fans of the late Bill Hicks but it's also a revelatory look at a comic genius coming into his own. Sane Man was filmed by Hicks's friends at a Houston comedy club in 1989 before he'd recorded his first album, Dangerous. As the first complete Hicks performance ever recorded, it was meant to serve as a primer to get the comedian an HBO special and more national exposure. It might consist of tangential art-film footage and low-budget production values (the extended version offered here sounds better and is less grainy than the original), but they don't hinder Hicks's remarkable, finely tuned material. A newly sober Hicks is a whirling dervish of pointed, comedic observations, stalking the stage and essentially whipping his audience with his prescient material. A hopeless, left-leaning optimist at heart, Hicks's sardonic take on America reveals the emotional, embittered psyche of a pissed off global citizen. Here he's still fine-tuning bits on the hypocrisy of Reagan's "War on Drugs" and the fact that people like John Lennon and Gandhi are murdered while George Michael and Debbie Gibson thrive. Michael comes up again during Hicks's rants about consumerism and mall culture, where he mocks the Wham! singer's Diet Coke commercials, arguing that real rock stars like Keith Moon and Jimi Hendrix would never sell their souls that way. This edition also includes previously unseen footage from Hicks's time as a "Houston Outlaw" (with Sam Kinison), which showcases the genesis of his style and act. Sane Man is a must-have for Hicks aficionados and fans of groundbreaking comedy. Plus: Outtakes, Story of Sane Man, biography, interactive discography, more. (Ryko)