Movie News

It's Lock N Load For The Infamous Billy The Kidd In Candidly Talking With Denis Leary About THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN, Controversial Comedy And MTV Unplugged!!

Published at: June 29, 2012, 1:52 p.m. CST by The Kidd

 

There's quite a lot to talk about when discussing the career of Denis Leary. He's been a stand-up comedian, a musician, a writer, a director, an actor and a philathropist. Whether it was listening to his early comedy albums "No Cure For Cancer" (which featured the comedy song classic "Asshole") or "Lock N Load," or catching him on MTV, most famously ranting about R.E.M. or another pop culture target that happened to wander into his cross hairs, you've got accustomed fairly quickly to his angry, fast-paced stylings. 

Leary quickly made the transformation from stage comic to big screen actor, starting with the against-type role of Scott's stepfather Bill in THE SANDLOT before easing into roles that were more in line with his on-stage persona such as in DEMOLITION MAN, JUDGMENT NIGHT and THE REF. What followed has been a string of films including NATURAL BORN KILLERS, OPERATION DUMBO DROP, TWO IF BY SEA, WAG THE DOG, SUICIDE KINGS, SMALL SOLDIERS, A BUG'S LIFE, THE THOMAS CROWN AFFAIR and the ICE AGE.

He starred in the ABC series THE JOB before it was cancelled after 19 episodes, and later returned to TV for the widely acclaimed FX series RESCUE ME as Senior Firefighter Tommy Gavin of the New York Fire Department, a role for which he received Emmy nominations for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series twice.

Leary is at the head of two different charitable foundations. The first being the Leary Firefighters Foundation, which has distributed money to fire departments in the Worcester, Boston and New York City areas for equipment, training materials, new vehicles, and new facilities. The second is the Fund for New York's Bravest, which provided money to the families of firefighters killed on 9/11, plus provided funding for necessities such as a new mobile command center, first responder training, and a high-rise simulator for the New York City Fire Department's training campus.

This summer you've got a double dose of Leary coming to you, with the fourth ICE AGE film, CONTINENTAL DRIFT hitting theatres in a few weeks, but his role as Capt. George Stacy in Sony's reboot of the Spider-Man franchise, THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN, takes center stage.

I had the chance to talk to Denis Leary a few weeks ago (which explains the Stanley Cup Playoffs talk and less than rosy baseball standings) to talk about his role in THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN as well as his MTV Unplugged special, his perspective of the current world of comedy and his charity work. Denis is, as expected, a pretty straight shooter, so enjoy this candid talk. 

    

The Infamous Billy The Kidd - Alright. It’s nice to have a civil conversation with a Red Sox fan.

Denis Leary - Oh yeah?

The Kidd - I’m a Yankees fan.

Denis Leary - Are you really?

The Kidd - I am.

Denis Leary - We both suck this year, which really sucks.

The Kidd - Teams get older.

Denis Leary - I know, it sucks, man. Baseball’s not baseball without those two teams competing against each other.

The Kidd - I know. Without the rivalry... And even still, there’s just the respect...


Denis Leary - I know. Meanwhile, Jeter’s had an amazing year, you know. But, you know, we’ll see. It’s early. That’s the thing about baseball. When you talk about baseball like at this time of year...

The Kidd - It’s a marathon.

Denis Leary - Anything can happen. Like last year, with the Red Sox, you know? They play the whole season.

The Kidd - Have you been keeping up with hockey, too? Because I know you’re a huge fan.

Denis Leary - Yeah, I’m a huge fan, so... Not a big fan of the Devils, and they’ve got three Cups already, so I’m rooting for L.A. So last night I stayed up and watched that game because I wanted L.A. to win in L.A., so whatever. It’s just I’ve got a lot of friends out in L.A. who are big Kings fans, so...

The Kidd - My one question before we get into SPIDER-MAN is, how come we never got the "Denis Leary Unplugged" album? Because I remember watching that special back when I was a kid and that was really the first comedy take that MTV did on that. I think there’s literally like four albums that were released from that season and I was like, “How come we never got that?”

Denis Leary - Because, at the time, my record company was A&M, and the "No Cure For Cancer" album had already come out, and was a big thing for them, so they didn’t want it competing with that, and by the time we wanted to release that special they wanted the second special and the second album. So it was caught up in all that. But we actually released a couple of songs... "Life’s Gonna Suck" and something we snuck into something else...

The Kidd - The "Lock N Load" album had a couple of them.

Denis Leary - Yeah. And now there’s a new... some kind of a package deal coming out next year, I think, that has several of the things from that special in it that were never released. It was all contracts at the time. Listen, man... the biggest thing for me that night was when we were taping that special, Rod Stewart and Ron Wood did an Unplugged right before us, and Neil Young was the night before us, so we got to see... I mean, literally it was just a big mistake because we watched those guys and we were like, "What the fuck are we doing?" And these are like rock legends and then we’re gonna do one? So it was... it was still fun.

The Kidd - When did Denis Leary become less of an outlaw? Earlier in your career you were doing these... Not smart-ass characters, but a lot of criminal element, between THE REF and JUDGMENT NIGHT, and now you’ve kind of become "The Man." You’re the establishment between RESCUE ME, which still has some edgier material but you’re playing kind of a real life hero, and now with Captain Stacy, where you’re a cop. So when did that shift go...

Denis Leary - I think it was during RESCUE ME. Because when Marc [Webb] called me, I was like "Listen, man... why are you calling me about this?" Part of it was because I look like the guy from the comic books, and the other part was like, "Well, you know, on RESCUE ME, this and that." Because of the dramatic side to RESCUE ME, the heroic side of what those guys do for a living... I mean, I didn’t look at it that way because I thought I was writing a story about an alcoholic adrenaline junkie. In terms of how it was viewed, I think there’s a level of respect for what those guys do that... We certainly took into account, but it wasn’t what we were really investigating with that guy, so that’s caused some kind of a sea change in how I was perceived. Because this... normally I’m not on this side of the law, you know? And I like the other side of the law... I’m much more attracted... Like I love... I’m a big Batman fan, and I’m always... inside me, because I love the Bat... the current Batman movies, I’m always like, "I’d love to be a bad guy in one of the Batman"... I like the dark side so this is unusual.

The Kidd - Well I’m sure it’s more interesting to play, too. You can have more fun with it.

Denis Leary - Yeah. I think it is. It’s more fun to write that stuff, to me, and it’s more fun to play. This was fun, man. I gotta say, this turned out to be fun. But, I still would prefer to be on the other side. I really would.

The Kidd - There’s a bit of variation on Captain Stacy from the comics. In the comics he’s much more of a supporter, outright, of Spider-Man, whereas here it’s kind of that masked menace, vigilante kind of... It’s almost like they brought the J. Jonah Jameson character also into it. So, I mean, in terms of the character, what kind of balance do you have to walk? Because there really is this fine line between what Spider-Man is, between a vigilante and a superhero, because they’re still acting outside of the law. So can you just talk a little bit about how the character has to be percieved to make it where they don’t become an enemy, so to speak, of the hero?

Denis Leary - I think that was mostly Marc’s take, which he’d been working on with the writers before I’d ever got involved. I really liked working with Marc, because he’s a real actor’s director. So he knew how he wanted to tell the story and he knew where the balances were, so whenever I had questions about any of that stuff he had the answers at hand how he wanted it portrayed. He really had this whole thing... The vision on this thing... In his head. And he was willing to improvise around certain aspects of it, but there was a certain way he wanted the story to flow. It'd be up to the audience whether or not that works, but I thought in terms of reinventing something that people have already been familiar with, there are edges that either need to be made more pointed or smoothed out, depending on what your take is, and he was going darker. I think he felt like he knew Captain Stacy had to have this relationship with Spider-Man and he felt that was going to play the best, so that’s what we chased. We played around with it, we did some stuff... Especially the dinner scene in the beginning because we shot that early in the movie. We played around with how pointed and edgy and suspicious and all those things Captain Stacy would be with Peter. And in particular with the dinner scene we shot... We played different versions of it. And I know I’ve seen that scene, what he did with it in the movie, so... But, again, it’s up to the audience and up to you guys to decide if it works.

The Kidd - You have kids, which are older now than when you used to talk about in stand-up, so, do you take from your experiences, because you have a daughter, in dealing with your daughter, in having this kind of protective sense as far as who she’s involved with, as far as the way Captain Stacy relates to Gwen?

Denis Leary - Yeah. No question. My daughter is only a couple years younger than Emma, and my son is just about Emma’s age. So yeah. I know it’s a cliche, but it’s a cliche because it’s true. It’s different with your daughter, or with daughters, if you’re a dad. So that stuff was really easy for me to relate to in terms of being suspicious of a guy and also giving him a hard time. There’s also the aspect which I’m very familiar with as well, because I grew up with sisters and I have a daughter, is feeling that you have power over her. Your son, for the most part, you’re always... Like, my son’s bigger than me now, but I have a psychological advantage over him. You always have that with your son. My dad certainly had it with me. With your daughter, there’s always this... Like they know what buttons to push so they... So, that stuff was easy to play with Emma, too, where I kinda want to tell her what to do or how to behave or how to spend her time, and she finds her way around it. So that stuff was a blast to play.

The Kidd - I want to go back to your comedy a little bit because you’ve kind of gotten into some flaps with things that you’ve said. The autism thing, which kinda got blown out of proportion. But as a comedian there’s kinda been this shift towards people being really sensitive about what people have to say and it’s almost like you can’t say anything without someone wanting an apology or somebody to get fired. Where do you think that this shift kind of happened? Especially as a comedian, you’re walking the line with saying things that people normally wouldn’t say, that’s kind of your outlet. And now, I know even comedians have been getting hit as they’ve gotten a lot more mainstream with their reach. So, where do you think that shift came from?

Denis Leary - Well, I’ll tell you exactly where it came from. I could use myself, or Louis CK, or Chris Rock... I’m trying to think... Back in the day, even Richard Pryor. If you wanted to go out and say something really controversial, what would happen is... And I know I work this way, Louis also works this way. I don’t write everything out in advance. I could go onstage with five notes written in my hand and talk for an hour, because I have it in my head but I like to let it be alive when I’m saying it, right? So if you know you’ve got a controversial bit about gay people or whatever it might be, you could pick several. Autism, whatever the subjects might be. Race, right? You know where you want to get to... But you know, with any comedy like that, especially if you’re not even per se a “joke writer” like Steven Wright, Mitch Hedberg or whatever, you need to perform it, and work it out first to get it to the point where it meshes. So there’s going to be points where you’re saying something controversial where it’s not necessarily all funny yet. And the way that you do that is you go to the clubs and you work it out. Even... You go into a live performance, you could book a theatre in Miami and go onstage and do an hour, right? But it’s not all going to be your HBO hour.

The Kidd - Your finest material.

Denis Leary - Right. Most of the times, and this is what I would do, too. You’ll probably tour for like a month and at the end of that month it would start to really gel, and the second month it really starts to come together. So in the beginning you might be doing a bit about gay people. You might be using the word “fag” or a politically incorrect word, but you’re hoping to make a point. But if somebody sees you the first or second night, at The Comedy Cellar, or wherever you’re performing it first when it’s not there, and they have a telephone camera, or whatever...

The Kidd - Because now everything is recorded.

Denis Leary - Right? So not only are they going to see it and go, “Hey, man. Fuckin’ Tracy Morgan or whoever just said this thing and it wasn’t funny.” It goes out, like right then, and within an hour the entire world is going “How dare he say that he would stab his son if his son was gay.” We’re never gonna know where Tracy Morgan was going with that bit, or how early it was in the gestation period. I think Louis actually said this at the time... There are nights when you could catch any guy that’s a... Even a capable stand-up comedian, who works on controversial stuff, and go, “I’m sending this out on Twitter right now, I can’t believe he said that.” Because it’s not finished yet. And that’s the... It’s gonna be a real problem.

The Kidd - Well it used to be that if somebody said something bad or that you didn’t like, they just... You kinda just chalked it up to, "That guy’s an asshole," and then you just moved on with your life. But now there’s...

Denis Leary - Right. But also it’s.. It’s like criticizing a song when it’s in the demo stage.  You gotta really give the guy the benefit of the doubt. Especially if he’s a capable comic, that he was going for something and maybe he missed, or maybe he hasn’t even completed the target yet. You know, it takes time, and... Now, there’s no such thing as time. Listen, I’ve done it. You do a live performance and... There’s no stopping it. It’s in stand-up comedy, or in rock and roll. They turn their cameras on, on their phones, and you see ‘em out there. And I think that’s great, that’s fine, you know, and if I was a fan I’d do the same thing. I think it’s weird to be at a live show and be like this. [Motions holding up a phone and watching through there]

The Kidd - Yeah, nobody watches anything actually live anymore.

Denis Leary - But if you’re a comedian, it’s dangerous territory. It’s just like... I go out there some nights, when you’re... Even when you do like charity gigs, which is mostly how I work in stand-up now, you go out there and something in the news caught your ear, and you start talking about it. You’re gonna hit bumps, because the bit is not complete, and it’s the first time you did it, whatever. People react like it’s the end of the world. And that also empowers the politically correct people to think that they can shut me down, which is a really dangerous thing in terms of comedy. I just think that’s a really bad practice to get into because you’re gonna get people second guessing even trying the bit.

The Kidd - Well because somebody’s going to be offended by everything.

Denis Leary - That’s what comedy is. If you’re not offended... Some guys don’t like to work that way, but I just think if you’re not offending somebody, you’re not doing your job. Half the time your job, especially if you’re a controversial comic, is to piss off this half of the room and make that half of the room laugh because you’re making a point about something that’s controversial to begin with. But if you’re a comedian, certainly you need the time to put the pieces together. And I’ve seen... You know what’s funny, and I’ll give you an example on the Tracy Morgan thing. This is another thing they do, and recently they did it to me with this old Charlie Brown video that we did about two years after 9/11 on Comedy Central. They took offense at something I tweeted and they went back and they said, “And he’s got this Charlie Brown video...” The thing was like literally seven, eight years old. When Tracy did the bit that they got at angry at him about, about stabbing his son if he was gay, they then brought up and said, “He’s also doing this bit about dating a handicapped girl,” which on his HBO special a year before that. I was like, "You’re gonna take him to task for that? It’s a fucking year old." And it was actually a great bit, it’s a really funny bit. So, it’s just, at that point, politically correct people, and they’re entitled to their opinion, there’s already a given that they don’t have a sense of humor about that subject. They’re not the people who should be shutting down the comedians, whoever the comedians are. That’s my opinion. Everything is fair game, that’s why we live in this country.

The Kidd - Let me ask you one quick question about your charity work, because you do do a lot of charity work for the firefighters, which is amazing. Everything I’ve seen as of late on Comedy Central is, especially after 9/11 you did a lot with the firefighters, and I know you have a personal connection to them, too. Why is it that you think we don’t take care of these guys? Because we’re talking about Spider-Man and these are real life superheroes who are putting their life on the line every single day that we don’t seem to take care of, whether it’s cops or firefighters or veterans.

Denis Leary - Well, it’s inherent in the job, and the nature of the guys who do it. And the women. They don’t want to... They tend not to brag, and they don’t want to make a big thing for the most part about themselves and what they do, so...And they never go on strike. The firefighters have literally... It’s just something they will never do. So, they don’t draw the spotlight to themselves, unless there’s a tragedy, or some incredible rescue. That’s when we all go, "Oh my God, look at them." It’s one of the positives of fame I learned from a couple of friends of mine who were famous before I was, like you can use your face to draw attention to people who wouldn’t normally draw it to themselves. So, I’m glad to do it, and I really admire what they do... And in the case of firefighters, especially in New York, they were the first people who responded that day, so I’m always gonna be astonished by what they do, and I’m always going to take the opportunity to talk about them because I love ‘em. And they need money, and equipment, so that’s like... my message. That’s my charity message.Yeah. We need to stop Michael J. Fox from shaking, we need to cure cancer, and we need to pay firefighters. Those are my three charity messages.

The Kidd -Thank you very much.

Denis Leary - Absolutely. That was fun. I wish they were all this easy.

 

THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN opens in theatres on Tuesday, July 3.

 

 

-Billy Donnelly

"The Infamous Billy The Kidd"

BillyTheKidd@aintitcool.com

Follow me on Twitter.

Readers Talkback

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  • June 29, 2012, 1:53 p.m. CST

    I don't care if I'm first or not!

    by Simpsonian

  • June 29, 2012, 1:53 p.m. CST

    HICKS HICKS HICKS HICKS HICKS

    by MooseMalloy

    HICKS HICKS HICKS...

  • June 29, 2012, 2:01 p.m. CST

    Love me some Leary, but man

    by MoistMuskyCamelToe

    that guy really needs to own up to stealing from Bill Hicks. No Cure For Cancer still cracks me up, though.

  • Get a life, loser.

  • June 29, 2012, 2:15 p.m. CST

    I can forgive the Hicks stuff....

    by gotilk

    especially in light of the charity he's done. I thought he had owned up to borrowing some ideas here and there or something, a long time ago. If so, people need to get off his nuts about it. If not... well... I think so many years have passed now, we can look at who he is now, what he's been doing, and decide either to forgive or shut up.

  • June 29, 2012, 2:16 p.m. CST

    Thanks Billy!

    by Kevin

  • June 29, 2012, 2:17 p.m. CST

    HICKS HICKS HICKS HICKS HICKS

    by MooseMalloy

  • June 29, 2012, 2:24 p.m. CST

    Nice interview, Kidd.

    by MISTER RUMBLES

  • June 29, 2012, 2:29 p.m. CST

    Wow, what a raging idiot

    by MooseMalloy

  • June 29, 2012, 2:34 p.m. CST

    wookie i hope you're just joking around there

    by JAMF

    seriously, that's grade z 0/10 trolling right there.

  • June 29, 2012, 2:36 p.m. CST

    here is the thing about Bill Hicks...

    by sonnyhooper

    .....He has been a cold; dead corpse in the ground for what? Almost 20 years now? So if you think that Dennis Leary hasn't grown or changed as a comedian in 20 years you really need to pull your fucking head out of you ass. <p> The world is passing you by if all you can think of is a 20 year old grudge whenever Learys name comes up. Especially considering all of the great charity work Leary has done for firefighters over the years. The guy has long since payed his dues for whatever theft you feel he may have done. <p> Nevermind the fact that Leary and Hicks were not doing anything; in terms of material or theme, a guy named Lenny Bruce was doing LONG before either one of those guys were in pre-school. So like I said feel free to pull your head out of your ass and join the rest of us in the 21st century. Or better yet don't, follow your hero Hicks into the ground where you belong for all I care.

  • June 29, 2012, 2:38 p.m. CST

    sure sonny, OR... leary is a screechy unfunny twat

    by JAMF

    and bill... wasn't.

  • June 29, 2012, 2:38 p.m. CST

    Leary sucks all on his own without comparisons to Hicks

    by MooseMalloy

    You need to get your head out of Leary's ass you whiny apologist.

  • June 29, 2012, 2:40 p.m. CST

    I thought trolls were extinct

    by IWasInJuniorHighDickhead

  • June 29, 2012, 2:41 p.m. CST

    I like how Sonny somehow thinks death will pass him by

    by MooseMalloy

    Breaking news for Sonny: You too will someday be a cold dead corpse. Sonny: No way! I'm never going to die! You are!

  • June 29, 2012, 2:55 p.m. CST

    you missed the point.....

    by sonnyhooper

    The point was that Learys act has grown and changed over the last 20 years. We will never know how Hicks might have evolved over the years because he died. Hicks could have become a huge star as well and the stuff that went down between them in1993might have well become water over the bridge. Sadly we will never know. <p> Holding a 20 year old grudge against a guys body of work seems a bit short sighted considering that fact. But by all means live in the past if that's your thing.

  • June 29, 2012, 2:56 p.m. CST

    Okay, Leary is currently as annoying as he ever was

    by MooseMalloy

    Who's living in the past now?

  • He may be a corpse, but he's still funnier than Leary and the the douche bags that defend his thievery.

  • June 29, 2012, 3:55 p.m. CST

    ok.... so, honest question time...

    by sonnyhooper

    ....for anyone who really wants to have a open and honest exchange on the subject. if you refuse to watch or listen to anything Leary has done in the past 20 years how whould you know that he hasn't moved on and grown as a comedian since the fall-out with Hicks? how can you possibly you know if he is funny right now if you dismiss him as soon as his name comes up? <p> and while we are at it why is everything an either/or proposition with you guys? is it not possible to be a fan of both of the guys work? <p> especially considering that if you are a real honest to god fan of Hicks you have to admit that while the subject matter and tone of his stuff and Learys stuff WERE (note the word were, past tense... as in used to be) very similar back in the early 90's their deliverly couldn't have been more diffrent. <p> Leary was doing the hyperactive rapid fire thing back then, like a AK-47. rat-a-ta-ta-ta. Hicks was like a fucking 155 mm Howitzer, doing a measured slow burn and then launching a verbal bursting shell at the audience. each guy was brilliant in his unique way. the fact that their acts has similar subject matter didn't keep Hicks from achieving the same level of stardom as Leary. in point of fact, the only thing that ultimatly kept Hicks from breaking big was his own death. but i suppose you guys blame Leary for that too? <p> seriously, guys..... is holding a 20 year old grudge gonna bring Bill back to life? if it was possible i might actually join you in holding that grudge, because i thought Hicks was a funny mother fucker too. but alas, i know better and choose to live in the hear and now. <p> besides Leary will always have OPERATION DUMBO DROP on his resume, isn't that punishment enough for (allegedly) lifting a few jokes?

  • June 29, 2012, 4:03 p.m. CST

    Leary co-wrote 93 episodes of Rescue Me

    by mr.underwater

    Bill Hicks must have left A LOT of material to rip-off. Unless Leary is somehow catching the stand-up sets he's doing in the afterlife.

  • June 29, 2012, 4:05 p.m. CST

    As a fan of Bill Hicks for the last 20 years...

    by schadenfreudian

    I've moved past the Leary thing.

  • Which means it has no place in these talkbacks anymore. Seriously, what the fuck happened around here?

  • June 29, 2012, 4:24 p.m. CST

    mr.underwater, exactaly

    by sonnyhooper

    ....thats what drives me nuts about the people who dismiss Leary out of hand because his act WAS (again note; past tense as in used to be) similar to a guys act who died 20 years ago. <p>: the critical acclaim Rescue Me acheived apparently means nothing. the fact that Leary raises money for firefighters to buy them the equipment they need so they can go back home to their loved ones alive, at the end of the day, means nothing. <p> the only thing that matters to some people is than Hicks died in relative obscurity 20 years ago and it's all Dennis Learys fault because they both talked about smoking cigaretts back in 1993. fuck me, but thats a sad outlook on life.

  • June 29, 2012, 4:24 p.m. CST

    Mr. Underwater

    by schadenfreudian

    Thanks. It's what bill would have wanted.<br> If it'll make you feel more comfortable, though, I can call you a cunt or something...

  • June 29, 2012, 4:47 p.m. CST

    Much better

    by mr.underwater

    But really, what is with all the cunt calling lately? It's gone from bothersome to downright stupid.

  • June 29, 2012, 5:45 p.m. CST

    Is the whole Hicks/Leary thing still going on? Jesus...

    by Stegman84

    A couple of important points to make to those who keep sprouting that shit. The whole Leary stole Hicks act thing was based on only three or four jokes/bits. And it wasn't even the same jokes as much as it was based on jokes having the same overarching subjects - smoking, surgeon generals warnings, John Lennon being killed, shit musicians like barry manilow still being alive, keith richard does plenty of drugs drugs, runner Jim Fixx ironically dying while jogging. And none of these subjects are exactly rampantly original basis for gags/bits to begin with. In fact all of them have been common joke staples at one time or another. The whole thing really blew up when Leary made it big in the 90's, despite having been performing this same material since the late eighties, and when Bill Hicks made a couple of comments, when asked about Leary, such as the infamous: "I have a scoop for you, I stole his act. I camouflaged it with punchlines. And to really throw people off, I did it beore he did." Hicks fans have been attacking Leary ever since. Thing is, they seem to ignore the fact that there is only a couple of bits that were similar (not exactly the same), they don't give any credit for the years that Leary worked the circuit prior to catching his break, doing that same material, and they also conveniently ignore the fact that Bill Hicks was often a rather bitter and unhappy guy in his personal life, and that even most of those who knew and were friends with him have pointed out how jealous he'd get of other comedians who made it big, while he never managed to quite cross over and do so himself. So such offhanded comments weren't exactly surprising, and nor was any bitterness he had towards Leary after he 'made it'. There's also the point that driving all of this for the past x-amount of years is second hand accounts and he said/she said shit stirring by people who aren't either Leary or Hicks (for obvious reasons). And that is before you get to the simple truth that Comedians steal, borrow and trade jokes and bits all the time, always have, and also that nothing is ever created in a vacuum. I mean George Carlin and even the likes of Lenny Bruce were doing this stuff way before either Hicks or Leary came along. It also conveniently puts Hicks on a pedestal and overlooks the fact that Hicks was himself often accused of stealing Sam Kinison's material back in the day. Here's a video of all of the material that Leary is accused of stealing, as well as Hicks original bits. http://www.disinfo.com/2010/01/exhibit-a-denis-leary-vs-bill-hicks/ Now regardless of which comedian you personally like better, let's face facts, this whole thing has been vastly overblown. Hell, even if you still believe that is still 'blatant stealing' by Leary, that's like two or three minutes of material in his whole career, yet the rampant anti-Leary brigade would have you believe that everything Leary said was once Hicks, which of course is not only clearly and patently untrue, but ludicrous if you actually listen to both mens acts and listen to all of their albums. Apart from those bits, nothing else on No Cure for Cancer is anything like any of Hicks stuff, nor is any of the stuff that Leary has done since, and yet some fanatics would try to make you believe that Leary created nothing himself, and only stole everything he did. I suppose all the stuff he wrote for his other acts since, or for episodes of The Job and Rescue Me, and the bits that he wrote and did in some of his movie appearances were all stolen as well... Personally I think it's as simple as the fact that Hicks died too young, and wasn't really recognised, and never really got his due, and Leary lives on and made it, and some Hicks fans are just very bitter about that. But given the fact that Leary is still Leary after two decades in the spotlight, you'd think it was obvious to all, like him or not, that this is actually just his natural persona, and not one that he stole just to get famous. Because if that was the case, as many Hicks fans always claimed, the mask would have dropped well before now. Oh, and I say all of this as a Hicks fan, by the way. I just find this whole debate/accusation fucking tiresome and blown out of all proportion. I'm also a fan of Leary, so it is possible to be both.

  • June 29, 2012, 5:55 p.m. CST

    *BOOM* stegman84 drops the knowledge....

    by sonnyhooper

    .....nice man, very nice. much more eloquent than i could ever hope to be.

  • June 29, 2012, 6:08 p.m. CST

    Well said, stegman

    by schadenfreudian

    If louis ck can move on from the Dane Cook debacle (on his own show, no less), surely this Leary/Hicks thing can be put to rest. <br> Enough is enough...

  • June 29, 2012, 7:50 p.m. CST

    Kudos stegman84! Perfectly put.

    by those_crazy_swedes

    I'm a huge fan of both comics and extremely familiar with their material. As you say there are several specific subjects covered by both (like subliminal messages on records, Jim Fixx etc) but the actual jokes are different. I have never understodd why talking about the same thing constitutes thievery in comedy. Even if you did get the idea to talk about a subject from another comic, unless you are stealing the specific jokes/ideas/style there's nothing to answer for. Do people think that once a comic has spoken about something, that subject is then forever off the table?

  • June 29, 2012, 7:58 p.m. CST

    Greatest moment was when Greg Giraldo crushed him on Tough Crowd.

    by MST3KPIMP

  • June 30, 2012, 12:38 a.m. CST

    Um, talkbacks are not reality

    by MooseMalloy

    You guys need to find new hobbies if you're going to put so much goddamn effort into your on-line responses to an unknown stranger. Yeah, some people don't like Leary for a number of reasons. It's not that big of a deal. Once again, AICN TALKBACKS ARE NOT REALITY.

  • I have never watched this guy and not been annoyed, Hicks rip-off debate aside. You guys probably love Mencia too.

  • June 30, 2012, 1 a.m. CST

    Hicks: Likable Asshole, Leary: Just an Asshole

    by MooseMalloy

  • Meanwhile, Hicks fans are too busy laughing at the Leary fans to justify them with a response.

  • June 30, 2012, 2:42 a.m. CST

    Er....

    by those_crazy_swedes

    "You guys need to find new hobbies if you're going to put so much goddamn effort into your on-line responses" Says the man with no sense of irony in the first of four consecutive posts.

  • June 30, 2012, 4:56 a.m. CST

    Wow, looks like someone is desperate for attention...

    by Stegman84

    Yeah, good luck with that.

  • June 30, 2012, 9:57 a.m. CST

    wow moose....

    by sonnyhooper

    ......nothing better to do at midnight on a Friday night? I guess that sounds about right.

  • June 30, 2012, 10:11 a.m. CST

    I know you are but what am I --

    by MooseMalloy

    -- You guys are getting off topic as usual and resorting to petty insults to express your undying love for this talentless loudmouth. And I could give a shit what you did last night, so stop trying to get me to ask. Remember, STAY ON TOPIC.

  • June 30, 2012, 10:13 a.m. CST

    Make sure to make your responses real long to validate yourselves

    by MooseMalloy

    Everyone is real impressed by blowhards on here.

  • June 30, 2012, 10:21 a.m. CST

    Come on Leary fans, DEFEND THAT MEDIOCRITY!

    by MooseMalloy

  • June 30, 2012, 10:22 a.m. CST

    Oh yeah I'm leaving so keep checking back for my response

    by MooseMalloy

  • July 1, 2012, 3:19 a.m. CST

    Neither Hicks or Leary funny.

    by DOYLE1