In October of 1993, Bill Hicks made his last appearance on Late Night with David Letterman…sort of. In October of 2010, Hicks is funnier than ever.
Hicks was a favorite comedian on Letterman’s old Late Night show and the television venue was Hicks’ most consistent national audience. After a routine taping, Hicks left New York expecting to see himself on television that night. He didn’t. Letterman decided to censor Hicks, pulling the performance. The decision was made all the more tragic by Hicks’ untimely death in February, 1994.
In 2009, Letterman showed a lot of class by inviting Hicks’ mother to his new show, taking responsibility for the censorship and apologizing to her and his audience for his decision. He then aired Hicks’ censored performance for the first time.
Hicks has said that the performance had been pulled because he made fun of Pro-Life groups who supported the show. Letterman doesn’t get specific, but what is amazing about the content is that – despite the dated references – the power of the man’s imagery and delivery remains undiminished more than a decade later.
Here is the entire Letterman apology episode brought to you by our YouTube Channel.
Visit Joe Nolan’s Insomnia to watch one of Hicks’ last television appearances on Austin Public Access television.