Updated: 2nd August 2019
Maybe you’ve heard of Bill Hicks? Perhaps you’ve even seen a quote from the Bill Hicks It’s Just a Ride sketch? If you haven’t, today’s post will introduce you to this sensational monologue.
It goes like this…
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.
The ride goes up and down, around and around, it has thrills and chills, and it’s very brightly colored, and it’s very loud, and it’s fun for a while.
Many people have been on the ride a long time, and they begin to wonder, “Hey, is this real, or is this just a ride?”
And other people have remembered, and they come back to us and say, “Hey, don’t worry; don’t be afraid, ever, because this is just a ride”.Bill Hicks Its Just a Ride – Revelations 1993
I remember watching Bill Hicks’ stand up show Revelations, from which this quote comes, when it was first televised in the UK around 1993.
It wasn’t the first time I’d seen him (never live, only ever on TV), as I was a big fan back then.
I loved how he raged against the politics of the day, his undisguised loathing of greed and the general hypocrisy he saw around him, and I found him both incredibly funny and shocking in equal measure.
It’s just a ride.
For many of us in the western world it’s very easy to lose perspective and forget that we are extremely lucky.
In some parts of the world, life is anything but a ride. In some places life is unimaginably awful, each day full of uncertainty, fear and real danger.
I say again… we are lucky.
Of course our world in the west is not perfect and I’m certainly not saying that life’s a breeze for all of us. We don’t need to look too far away from our own backyards to see poverty, marginalization and prejudice, even if we don’t suffer the effects of it directly ourselves.
But for many of us, life really is just a ride… but we forget that and oftentimes believe that things are worse for us than they actually are.
If we don’t have to worry about whether we are safe, where our next meal is coming from, and if the water we drink is going to make us ill, many of our modern anxieties are really just first world problems.
I’m not trying to put down people’s genuine anxieties… I suffer them too and I know for a fact that a good deal of my own are fears about things that never actually happen.
Can I afford my mobile phone bill? What if I’m not happy? What if people don’t like me on Twitter?
For many of us, what is the worst thing that would likely happen if our daily anxieties were actually to materialize?
Most of us won’t die as a result of our problems. Nor will we lose our homes. Most of us won’t be separated from our families or end up lost and alone.
It’s just a ride.
We are lucky that we have this ride that give us so much choice and opportunity… but it’s easy to forget sometimes and so we need people to say to us…
Hey, don’t worry; don’t be afraid, ever, because this is just a ride.Bill Hicks – Revelations 1993
… and that’s why I love this quote.
Now, I know that Bill Hicks has been criticised by some of today’s generation of comics and his outspoken approach can easily offend so I understand his comedic style is perhaps not currently in favour.
In today’s climate we are far more sensitive to the idea of offending people than we were 30+ years ago… and Bill Hicks was certainly offensive to say the least.
I also understand how the words of people in the public eye are lionized and automatically given more gravitas simply because we see them on TV, in the news or in movies.
Many people lionize Bill Hicks as some kind of outlaw prophet, cleansing the temple of fakes, hypocrites and (eek!) marketeers.
Personally I don’t see him as a prophet, but for me the words in this clip convey a genuine intelligence, warmth and compassion towards humanity… and they are worth remembering.
Bill Hicks seemed to me to have a genuine belief in the power of love and hope… and this clip of his words from his Revelations tour resonates with me personally as much today as it did back in 1993 when I saw it for the first time.
Bill Hicks It’s Just a Ride Video
This video is worth watching. It’s brilliantly done, highly moving and really frames the Hicks’ words perfectly. So without further ado, the following video uses the voice of Hicks overlaid with some great animation.
Bill Hicks It’s Just a Ride (December 16, 1961 – February 26, 1994)
I hope you’ve found this motivational. For more articles like this, visit our Motivation section.
That’s it for now. Thanks for reading!
Does this clip speak to you? Have you ever heard of Bill Hicks? Drop me a comment below and let me know what you think.