From a Susan Sontag commencement speech: “Do stuff. Be clenched, curious. Not waiting for inspiration’s shove or society’s kiss on your forehead. Pay attention. It’s all about paying attention. Attention is vitality. It connects you with others. It makes you eager. Stay eager.”
And speaking of which, let’s get all this Bill Hicks revival bidness out of the way right now. Without a doubt, the man was great. But he’s been dead now for twelve years and I haven’t seen a single standup comic dare to speak the truth to the people. This whole sanctimonious business of “What would Bill Hicks do?” has reached a point where I want to throttle the sycophantic joke slingers who play it safe, who underestimate their audience’s intelligence, and who risk this fear of offending. If these comics do put upon an offensive stance, like Lisa Lampanelli or Bobby Slayton, it’s on the personal insult level, as opposed to comedy that reflects the cruel absurdities and the pernicious sociological factors around us. And don’t give me Margaret Cho or Chris Rock, both “brash” comic talents who, nevertheless, play it safe and who, as a result, stand forever in the long shadow of Bruce, early Carlin, Pryor and Hicks. Have we really reached the point where standup comedy can no longer present us with fresh insight? Have we really reached a point where we must look more than a decade backwards to find some fucking shred of truth hurled into the crowd?