In October 1993, just a few months before his death, Bill Hicks was censored on “The Late Show With David Letterman.” This is because the “CBS office of standards and practices” balked at the content of his six-minute set because it “touched on too many hot spots,” according to producer Robert Morton (via New Yorker). It would have been his first appearance on U.S. national television. Hicks protested the move, saying he had passed the material by his 63-year-old mother without any offence caused, yet the decision had been made. This actually did wonders for Hicks’ publicity, getting the comic “more attention than my other eleven appearances on Letterman times one hundred.”
Despite this issue, Hicks never harbored resentment to the show’s host, “I get David Letterman a lot. I love Letterman, but every time I go on, we have tiffs over material. They love me, but his people have this fictitious mainstream audience they think they play to. It’s untrue. It doesn’t exist.”
Years later, in 2009, a contrite Letterman invited Bill’s mother Mary to a special show dedicated to her son. After apologizing to Mary, Letterman aired the censored material and added, “Seeing it now, it raises the question, what was the matter with me, what was I thinking? … It says more about me as a guy than it says about Bill” (via Salon).