Rant in E-Minor is the comedy equivalent of an Ingmar Bergman film. This posthumously released CD is so brutal, bitter, pessimistic, and honest that it is a very difficult task indeed to listen to it. Recorded most likely while he was going through chemotherapy for pancreatic cancer in 1993, Bill Hicks must have sensed the end was near for him. Like John Coltrane's wailing saxophone on "Interstellar Space," Rant in E-Minor seems to exorcise the burden of life from Hicks' body, while simultaneously reaching a level of passionate intensity rarely matched. That being said, Hicks spits out words like shards of glass, bound to lacerate anybody in his audience. While some may laugh, his bits about Jay Leno ("Artistic Roll Call"), Jesse Helms ("Deficit"), and Rush Limbaugh are sadistically cruel. His bleak notions include totalitarian world rule ("The Elite") and the loss of artistic integrity in American pop culture ("Fevered Egos"). Anybody who is anti-abortion, Catholic, or Republican is bound to be offended by this spitefully honest and slanted material. In listening to this disc, you will laugh as Hicks takes comedy to its most extreme boundaries, but you will also be saddened at the lack of optimism in his life at the time it was cut short. While listening to this man, who was so filled with bitterness, loneliness, and pessimism, one must realize that he was quite unlike any other comedian, because night after night he unleashed his convincing, but idealistic vision of the world on his audience. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem that he ever got to live in it.
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AllMusic Review by Brian Flota