I was recommending some comedians to a friend the other day. As well as being entertaining, comedians are natural perspective-shifters – they show us funny ways to look at the world. I’m particularly drawn to those comedians, often self-deprecating, that poke fun at the less glamorous or darker aspects of human existence, so recommended George Carlin, Marc Maron, Louis CK.
It was then I remembered Bill Hicks. A friend introduced me to Bill Hicks the best part of 20 years ago and I’d not watched any of his material for a long time. This prompted me to jump on YouTube and watch Revelations again. His seminal performance at the Dominion Theatre in London 1993. Who can forget “Goat Boy”?
I watched it for pure entertainment value.
And then, as he dons his dark coat and hat to close the show he asks:
“Is there a point to my act? I would say there is. I have to.”
His answer is his famous “It’s just a ride” monologue – full transcript below – but don’t just read it, hear it from the man himself – it’s beautifully Zoom-Out-esque. See how many Zoom-Out Principles you recognise. Bill Hicks is a honourary Zoomologist for sure.
Full transcript – Bill Hicks “It’s just a ride”
You’ve been fantastic, and I hope you enjoyed it. There is a point. Is there a point to all of this? Let’s find a point.
Is there a point to my act? I would say there is. I have to.
The world is like a ride, in an amusement park. And when you choose to go on it, you think it’s real, because that’s how powerful our minds are. And the ride goes up and down, and round and round. It has thrills and chills, and it’s very brightly coloured, and it’s very loud and it’s fun. For a while.
Some people have been on the ride for a long time, and they begin to question: “Is this real, or is this just a ride?”
And other people have remembered, and they come back to us, and they say, “Hey, don’t worry. Don’t be afraid, ever. Because this is just a ride.”
And we . . . kill those people. Ha-ha!
“Shut him up! We have a lot invested in this ride! Shut him up! Look at my furrows of worry. Look at my big bank account, and my family. This has to be real.”
It’s just a ride. But we always kill those good guys who try and tell us that, you ever notice that? And we let the demons run amok.
But it doesn’t matter, because it’s just a ride, and we can change it any time we want. It’s only a choice. No effort. No worry. No job. No savings and money.
[It’s] a choice, right now, between fear and love. The eyes of fear want you to put bigger locks on your door, buy guns, close yourself off. The eyes of love, instead, see all of us as one.
Here’s what we can do to change the world, right now, into a better ride: Take all that money that we spend on weapons and defense each year and, instead, spend it feeding, clothing, and educating the poor of the world – which it would do many times over, not one human being excluded. And we can explore space together, both inner and outer, forever. In peace.
Thank you very much, you’ve been great. I’ve hoped you enjoyed it. You’re fantastic! Thank you! Thank you very much.