He lived hard and died young, but little about Bill Hicks could be considered cliché. Relatively obscure in America during his lifetime, Hicks still, somehow, became one of the most influential stand-up comedians ever to seize the mic. Raised in the South, he made his name mercilessly lampooning the provincialism and cultural groupthink that informed his native climes. But Hicks would transcend the foul-mouthed "angry comic" shtick, articulating an oft-venomous smashing of sacred icons and institutions like sell-out musicians, religion and patriotism. As articulated in concert videos such as "Sane Man" (1988) and "Revelations" (1993) and posthumous albums <I>Rant in E Minor</I> and </I>Arizona Bay</I>, he saw people deluded into religious and consumerist tribalism by mass media and corporate sponsors. Largely shunned by network television for such ideas, Hicks did make 10 appearances on "Late Night with David Letterman" (NBC, 1982-1993) and found real celebrity in a less priggish U.K., but his relationship with Letterman would end badly, as the TV host, having jumped to CBS with "Late Show with David Letterman" (1993- ), infamously excised what would have been Hicks' last network appearance from the show. He died of cancer five months later at just 32 years old. After his passing, a chorus of artists and intellectuals hailed Hicks as once-in-a-generation talent, who pushed his art relentlessly against the envelope of America's sanitized commercial culture. His legacy grew as his struggles to be heard transformed him into a patron saint of iconoclasm and speaking truth to power.