Saturday, January 31, 2009

Video: Bill Hicks Remembered On Letterman & Cut Routine Finally Shown

Below is the notorious Bill Hicks routine controversially dropped from the David Letterman show that finally aired on the programme 15 years after the legendary comedians death.

Mary Hicks, Bill's mother appeared on David Letterman’s show to mark the 15th anniversary of her son’s death, in a segment included Bill's Mother introducing the footage of the dropped performance. The original master recordings were believed to be destroyed, but a copy was sent to Mary Hicks, which has never been broadcast or shown before.

Letterman apologised to Bill's mother for dropping the performance.

Hicks was left aggrieved and outraged till the end, at what he saw as Letterman’s betrayal in dropping the routine from his show.

In what would have been his 12th appearance on the show, Hicks tackled Christianity, politics and the anti-abortion movement, including the line: ‘If you’re so pro-life, do me a favour: don’t lock arms and block medical clinics. If you’re so pro-life, lock arms and block cemeteries.’

At the end of the show Letterman acknowledged the controversial nature of the routine, saying: ‘Bill, enjoy answering your mail for the next few weeks.’

Producers later told Hicks that the segment would be dropped from that night’s broadcast, saying that the network’s broadcasting standards watchdogs felt it was unsuitable for their viewers. However, it later transpired it had been the Letterman producers – not CBS – who insisted on the cut. And among the adverts aired during the show following the one in which Hicks had been due to appear was one for a pro-life moment.

Hicks expressed his feelings of betrayal in a handwritten, 39-page letter to John Lahr of The New York, in which he added that he his requests for a tape of his performance had been ignored.

Less than five months later, Hicks was died at the age of 32 from pancreatic cancer.

David Letterman speaks to Mary Hicks