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It's debatable whether or not Denis Leary straight-up stole Bill Hicks' pissed-off, chain-smoking on-stage persona, but it's very hard to deny that Denis Leary at least "borrowed" many of Bill Hicks' routines. A casual comparison between Bill Hicks debut concert film Sane Man (1989) and Denis Leary's debut concert film No Cure for Cancer (1992) reveals striking similarities, including jokes about John Lennon, Jim Fixx, cigarettes and drugs. In fact, both films end with the comics pantomiming death.
Now I'm not going to go so far as to call Denis Leary a "thief." I happen to like Leary a lot. But I love Bill Hicks even more. Hicks' comedy is much closer to social commentary than Leary's.
Still, Leary is undeniably funny. He has plenty of his own hilarious material and he took the "asshole" persona to another level.