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Bill Hicks: Relentless

Legendary Houston stand-up comedian the late Bill Hicks gets some time on the big screen when his 1992 concert film Relentless gets a one-night stand at theaters. Shot before a crowd of hundreds at the Dominion Theatre, Relentless finds the antiestablishment funny man in fine form.

Hicks jokes about a wide variety of topics, including smoking (“If you’re smoking out of a hole in your fucking neck…you might want to think about quitting.”) and conservative audiences (“They said, ‘Mr. Funnyman, we’re Christians; we don’t like what you said.’ I said, ‘Then forgive me.’”). His best, and still exceedingly relevant, jokes are about the Gulf War. At the time, Hicks was “for the war but against the troops.” He contends that there was never an actual war because a war requires that two armies be fighting (“Think about that for a minute.”) And he wonders if the technology used in the war effort might not be better used elsewhere (“They can fly a missile down an air shaft. Don’t you think they could use that technology to deliver food to hungry people?”).

Hicks continues to find new audiences today, a testament to his unique gifts, says stand-up comic and friend Andy Huggins. “Bill was honest and passionate, in addition to being funny. There’s a lot of funny comics, but Bill was passionate.”

Since Hicks passed away from pancreatic cancer in 1994, his stature as a world-class performer has only grown. His extensive catalog of recorded material is poised for re-releases later this year. A documentary titled American: The Bill Hicks Story was released to favorable reviews a few years ago, and a biopic to be directed by Russell Crowe is set to film next year.

8 p.m. Various theaters including Houston Marq*E Stadium 23 plus IMAX, 7620 Katy Freeway. For information, visit fathomevents.com. $12.50.
Mon., April 27, 8 p.m., 2015

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