Talk: It’s just a ride – Exploring comedy, psychedelics, and resistance through the life and work of Bill Hicks – Oli Genn-Bash


The UKC Psychedelics Society are proud to present

Oli Genn-Bash – It’s just a ride: Exploring comedy, psychedelics, and resistance through the life and work of Bill Hicks


The lectures take place every Tuesday at 7pm, in Keynes Lecture theatre 3, on the Canterbury Campus of the University of Kent.

Each talk will be followed by a Q&A (and a trip to the pub) Please come along and join us: 

This talk will focus on the relationship between comedy, resistance and the psychedelic experience, with a particular focus on the late American comedien Bill Hicks. Many have experienced comical moments within their own personal psychedelic experiences; funny situations, in-jokes, or novel occurrences of a humourous nature. This is something which is often overlooked to a large extent when focusing on the nature of the psychedelic experience. Instead the focus seems to lie within other realms such as spirituality, mysticism, religion, philosophy, medicine, or healing. The humourous moments one may experience don’t become necessarily a focal point – possibly because one feels that there is more to this experience than just fun. Or even further it is that this kind of experience has to be taken very seriously so as to acquire some form of learning which requires full attention.

The humour, however, serves a very serious function in these moments which we may not entirely be conscious of within the moment itself; it is the notion that we must not take life too seriously. The psychedelic experience when viewed within this comedic manner allows us more freedom, and an ultimate release from worry when things surprise us. The ability to laugh at ourselves can serve as a tool to allow for personal growth and maturity, along with the ability to potentially work with the darker and more unpleasant sides to life. Comedians including George Carlin and Bill Hicks have utilised their own personal psychedelic experiences in this way, allowing them more room to explore uncomfortable situations in a jovial manner, whilst piercing through the veneer of perceived realities.

Oli Genn-Bash, MA, is a cofounder of the University of Kent Canterbury Psychedelics Society. He has undertaken postgraduate research primarily within the field of politics; with a specific focus on the philosophy of resistance, mysticism, religion, psychedelic experiences, and stand-up comedy. In his spare time he enjoys feeding birds and talking to plants.

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