Doug Stanhope is unlike any other comedian of his generation. Most middle-aged comedians are caught somewhere between the foibles of parenting, marriage and death. Not him. Doug comes from a tradition of controversial comics, most notably the late Bill Hicks and George Carlin, that have tested the boundaries of social commentary as much as humor itself. His equally gravelly and nasal tone embody a certain caustic yet equally irritated voice that matches his social and political observation fueled humor.
To catch you up, Stanhope has appeared on a variety of TV programs, radio shows and comedy festivals, and hosted Comedy Central’s The Man Show, Girls Gone Wild: America Uncovered. He’s authored a book entitled Fun With Pedophiles: the Best of Baiting and released three DVD’s and four CD’s the latest of which is Before Turning the Gun on Himself.
Stanhope doesn’t mess around much with warming the audience up. Five minutes in he’s already mocking addiction, going on to call AA a poorly constructed cult, as well as providing his own pointed view on “Obamanomics.” He defends heavy drug users in one track and then goes on to compare having four children to losing a million dollar wager, calling the parents “gambling addicts.” Doug has that special ability to make you believe two simultaneously incompatible things at once while laughing your ass off. And I don’t know that anyone can do it quite as well as him.
His material is geared towards ranting and shock value, garnering as much applause as he does laughter. He likens car makers in Detroit to prisoners that make keys to their own cells and don’t escape. “You build cars and you still don’t move,” he jokes.
One of Stanhope’s favorite targets on the album is TV’s Dr. Drew. His respect level for the man is, let’s say, a little below that of dirt. Stanhope wishes that society would tape Dr. Drew to a telephone pole so that bands can staple flyers to their shows on his chest. When pondering how Dr. Drew became known as a well-renowned “Celebrity Rehabilitation Expert” he mockingly feigns someone giving him the imagined career advice, “Did anyone ever tell you that you have a keen eye for the rich and famous?”
My favorite part in the whole album has got to be when Doug asks the question: “Have you ever considered registering as a sex offender just so you have a legitimate excuse for why your friends can’t bring their stupid children over to your house?” Perverse, pointed and brilliant, it may be the only uncensored version of the show that gives an accurate portrayal of Stanhope’s comedy.
Stanhope is not for everyone. In his world things are not to be enjoyed so much as they are to be criticized (unless of course your talking about alcohol). This album will no doubt have the comedy community buzzing for the rest of the year and only extends a well-established legacy that Stanhope has made for himself.
Filed Under: Comedy Reviews
About the Author: Nate Rankin writes Comedy Reviews and Fiction because no one taught him any better. His fiction has been featured by Workers Writes, theNewerYork! and Used Gravitrons and is forthcoming in The Green Blotter. His work can be seen here: http://iamseamus.tumblr.com/writing You can find him on the Tweety Box @CommanderSeamus If you'd like to submit a review inquiry please send to nrankin22[at]gmail[dot]com