Gavin Webster brings provocatively-titled Bill Hicks Wasn't Very Good to Edinburgh Fringe

This article is from 2012

Gavin Webster: Taking a hit for slaughtering comedy’s sacred cow

Taking a hit for slaughtering comedy’s sacred cow

‘People are already misquoting me, telling me I’m doing a show called Bill Hicks Was Fucking Rubbish,’ Gavin Webster marvels. ‘Comics are posting Facebook updates, saying, “he can’t understand much about comedy if he thinks this.”’ The occasionally quirky but conversationally down-to-earth Geordie really should have seen this coming: his provocatively-titled show, Bill Hicks Wasn’t Very Good, is as close to heresy as stand-up gets. But that’s Webster’s point, that there are no comedy untouchables.

‘Maybe in the early 90s, Hicks was telling us things people didn’t know, but nowadays we’re immune to all that,’ he reflects. ‘We’re quite cynical and there’s a bit of Hicks in all of us now, we understand how advertising and public relations work.’

Notwithstanding some issues with the Texan’s ‘coffeehouse’ absolutism and his fortunate circumstance of being dead – ‘Joe Strummer, Mama Cass, Archduke Franz Ferdinand: they all benefited from it’ – Webster’s chief bugbear is his self-righteous fans. A veteran comic of more than two decades, like Hicks, he’s established as a comedian’s comedian, if not a critics’ darling. ‘Some will have decided they hate me already. Not because they like Hicks, but because they think I’m a mouthy, presumptuous little arsehole for suggesting I don’t.’

The Stand II, 558 7272, 3–26 Aug (not 13), 5.50pm, £8 (£7). Preview 2 Aug, 5pm, £7 (£6).

Gavin Webster: Bill Hicks Wasn't Very Good

  • 2 stars

A somewhat tongue-in-cheek (we hope) explanation as to why it's best to knock Bill Hicks from his comedy pedestal post-haste.

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