My Comedy Hero: Francesca Martinez on Bill Hicks
'He was fearless, original, thought-provoking and elevated stand-up comedy to an art'
Rather unoriginally for a comedian, I love Bill Hicks. He was fearless, original, thought-provoking and elevated stand-up comedy from entertainment to art. I’ve been greatly inspired by his total confidence in his material and the ability to communicate important and challenging ideas through the medium of comedy.
Like all great comics, there is a sense that he is expressing thoughts and ideas deeply personal to him, without trying to endear himself to an audience. Ironically, I think, the act of communicating honestly and free of worry about what people may think of you, is something very satisfying for an audience to encounter. In a world where so much output is controlled, edited or censored, the experience of listening to someone’s real opinions – whether you agree with them or not – is a rare and powerful one. Bill Hicks embodies, for me, a comedian who had the talent and confidence to entertain an audience while making them question the world around them.
I’m fascinated by the power that lies in comedy – to connect with strangers in a dark room and explore ideas that can impact the world outside. Ultimately, that’s why I love comedy so much. It may seem a light-hearted art form but, hidden inside the laughter, is the potential to share and explore universal questions with complete strangers. It’s such an intimate and personal way of communicating and one which, I believe, Bill Hicks really took to another level.
The Stand, Edinburgh, Wed 20 Mar; The Stand, Glasgow, Thu 21 Mar.