“Biographies rarely capture the uniqueness and vitality of a performer as deftly as this hilarious and touching chronicle of the short life of maverick comedian Bill Hicks.”


Lenny Bruce, Richard Pryor, Andy Kaufman—add Bill Hicks to that list of brilliant, fearless comics. Just emerging from underground cult status when he died at age thirty-two, Bill Hicks spent most of his life making audiences roar—and censors cringe—with biting social satire about everything from former president George Bush to rock stars who hawk diet Coke. His nervy talent redefined the boundaries of comedy in the ’80s and won him a list of admirers that includes John Cleese, George Carlin, and Thom Yorke of Radiohead.

This posthumous biography reveals for the first time what made Bill Hicks tick—what made him laugh, what pissed him off, and what he saw as his ultimate mission: to release people from their prison of ignorance. From his first comedy gig at Bible camp to his infamous cancellation on The Late Show with David Letterman, Cynthia True portrays an artist whose outrage, drive, and compassion fueled a controversial body of work that still resonates today.

“Hicks was a cunning comedian, probably the best informed and most articulate one I’ve encountered in a quarter century of writing about entertainers. He made unacceptable ideas irresistible and reminded viewers that the best entertainers are the unelected legislators of their time.”

John Lahr, The New Yorker