On October 1, 1993, Hicks was scheduled to appear on Late Show with David Letterman on CBS, where Letterman had recently moved. It was his 12th appearance on a Letterman late-night show, but his entire performance was removed from the broadcast: until that point the only occasion where a comedian’s entire routine was cut after taping. Hicks’s stand-up routine was removed from the show, Hicks said, because Letterman’s producers believed the material, which included jokes involving religion and the anti-abortion movement, was unsuitable for broadcast. Producer Robert Morton initially blamed CBS, which denied responsibility; Morton later conceded it was his decision. Although Letterman later expressed regret at the way Hicks had been handled, Hicks did not appear on the show again. Hicks was undergoing chemotherapy at the time of his final Late Show appearance, unbeknownst to Letterman, and most others outside of Hicks’s family, and died less than four months later.

Letterman finally aired the censored routine in its entirety on January 30, 2009. Hicks’s mother, Mary, was present in the studio and appeared on-camera as a guest. Letterman took responsibility for the original decision to remove Hicks’s set from the 1993 show. “It says more about me as a guy than it says about Bill,” he said, after the set aired, “because there was absolutely nothing wrong with that”.

* * *

Late Show with David Letterman, October 1, 1993

Thank you! Good evening! I’m very excited to be here tonight! I just got some great news today. I finally got my own show on TV coming out as a replacement show this fall. Yeah.

[The audience applauds]

Thank you. I’s not a talk show, don’t worry.

[The audience laughs]

It’s a half-hour weekly show that I will host, entitled “Let’s Hunt and Kill Billy Ray Cyrus.”

[The audience bursts into laughter and applause]

Thank you. It’s fairly self-explanatory: Each week we let the Hounds of Hell loose and chase that jar-head, no-talent, cracker idiot all over the globe… ’til I finally catch that fruity little pony tail of his, pull him to his knees, put a shotgun in his mouth—Pow!

[The audience is applauding and laughing throughout this run]

Then we’ll be back in ’94 with “Let’s Hunt and Kill Michael Bolton.”

[The audience laughs and applauds]

Also look out for our Vanilla Ice/M. C. Hammer/Marky Mark Christmas Special.

[The audience whoops and applauds]

And I don’t want to give away any surprises, but Marky Mark is the first one we catch and kill on that show…

[Audience cheers]

… because his pants kept falling around his ankles, and he couldn’t run away.

[Bill mimes a hobbling Marky Mark. The audience laughs]

I crossbow him right in the abs! Bring the whole kids, the family, and everything, it’s a Christmas Spectacular.

[The audience laughs]

I don’t know what my deal is, I’ve got a 31 year old curmudgeon, that’s the deal you know I went to a dance club the other day, you know, I got dragged against my will, you know, and this girl asked me to dance, which I thought was hilarious, you know, “Would you like to dance?” you know, I’m like “Yeah, you read my mind, you know, that’s why I’m leaning in the darkest corner closest to the exit, you know… I’m about to boogie… I’m about to cut a rug.” But it’s weird, women had this weird myth, “you can tell the way a guy is in bed by how he is on a dance floor.” Hey, that’s ridiculous, what does it matter? You know what I mean? if a guy is on a dance floor, really getting into it, enjoying himself, expressing himself, what does it matter how he is in bed… he’s gay!

[The audience laughs]

Real men don’t dance, they sit, sweat, and curse.

[The audience laughs]

Speaking of homosexuality, you know, I consider myself fairly open-minded, but something has come to my attention I find absolutely shocking. I don’t know if you’ve heard about these new grade school books for children to teach them gay lifestyles. You know what I’m talking about? One of them is called Heather’s Two Mommies, the other is called Daddy’s New Roommate.

[Bill makes a shocked, disgusted face]

I’m gonna have to draw the line here folks, and say this is absolutely disgusting, okay?

[The audience whoops and applauds]

It is grotesque and evil. I’m talking about Daddy’s New Roommate…uh… Heather’s Two Mommies is pretty cool.

[Audience laughs]

I don’t know if you… check that out… they’re hugging on page seven! [Lasciviously] Oooh! Go, Mommies, go! Oooh! Anyway… it makes me miss my youth…

[Audience laughs]

People annoy me. You know what’s really annoy me? These pro-life people. You ever look at their faces? [Bill makes a pinched face, crossing his eyes] “I’m pro-life!” But they don’t look at, they just exude the joie de vivre, you know. You see them trying to go to an orphanage, and adopt a kid, “we’re pro-life, we’re here to adopt.” The kids are just “oh, don’t pick me, oh no, [?], 15, newer bed, no problem, just keep Heather’s Two Mommies coming, and we’re fine in here.”

[Audience laughs]

“I’m pro life” You know, if you’re really pro-life do me a favor, don’t lock arms and block med clinics, okay? If you’re so pro-life do me a favor, lock arms and block cemeteries, okay?

[Audience laughs]

Let’s see how committed you are to this idea. [Here Bill mimes the purse-lipped pro-lifers. As pro-lifer:] “She can’t come in!”

[As confused member of funeral procession:] “But she was 98! She was hit by a bus!”

[As pro-lifer:] “There’s options!”

[Audience laughs]

[Again, as confused funeral-procession member:] “We’re gonna have her stuffed? What are we gonna do with it?”

“We’re pro-life.” The same look non-smokers give to you. “I’m a non-smoker. I’m a pro-life nonsmoker.” I’m getting that look a lot these days, cuz I started smoking again, and I had nine months without cigarette and I started again and I’m getting that look…

[Audience applauds]

You’re applauding me starting or stopping? What are you– The smokers: “hey, you’re back!” Non-smokers: [Bill makes a pinched face, crossing his eyes] “it’s terrible, I can’t believe he started again, why? after nine months!”

I have this belief. If that scenario is at all true, when you die you go to heaven and st. Peter meet you at the gate, I have this belief the first thing he’s gonna ask you is “you got a light?”

“You mean y’all smoke here?”

“Yeah, that’s why it’s heaven! These aren’t clouds, this is cigarette smoke pal! Hell is a non-smoking section, you want to look at them for a minute?”

“Okay.”

“I can’t believe it they do to their bodies it’s so smelly, it smells like an ashtray, why do they want me to smell that?”

“God, that’s hellish!”

“Exactly! Light up and come on in, in… Hendrix is on harp tonight.”

[Audience laughs]

So, I’ve been traveling—I was over in Australia– I was in Australia over Easter. Which was interesting to note, they celebrate Easter the same way we do—commemorating the death and resurrection of Jesus by telling our children a giant bunny rabbit [Audience laughs] left chocolate eggs in the night…

[Audience laughs] I wonder why we’re messed up as a race, anybody got any clues? I’ve read the Bible, can’t find the word “bunny” or “chocolate” anywhere in the book. Why those two things? Why not, you know, “Goldfish left Lincoln Logs in your sock drawers?” You know, just making stuff up, go hog-wild.

[Audience laughs]

But I think it’s interesting to note how people act on religious beliefs, you know what I mean? Like, a lot of Christians wear crosses around their necks. Nice sentiment, but do you think when Jesus comes back, he’s really gonna want to look at a cross?

[Audience laughs. Bill makes a face of pain and horror.]

Ow! That may be why he hasn’t shown up yet.

[Audience laughs]

Going [As Jesus looking down from Heaven:] “Man, they’re still wearing crosses dad, I’m not going, no, they totally missed the point, I’m not going, forget it. I’ll go back as a BUNNY.”

Thank you.

[Audience bursts into applause and laughter. The band kicks into “Revolution” by the Beatles.]

Thank you very much! Good night!

[Bill crosses over to the seat next to Letterman’s desk.]

[Letterman:] Good set Bill! Always nice to have you drop by with an uplifting message!

[Audience and Bill laugh. We cut to a commercial.]