Doug Stanhope needs a new word – laughter doesn’t quite cover the reaction to Doug’s material. It’s a mish mash of laughing, and cringing at something you know deep in your gut you should be offended by.
Don’t get us wrong, Doug is no Bernard Manning – he knows exactly what he’s doing, and there’s no malice behind his words (with some exceptions, usually when discussing celebrity rehab shrinks). He uses the word faggot freely, yet is renowned for his support of the homosexual lifestyle (fucking without breeding, in his opinion, is the perfect solution to an overpopulated world).
Even then, some of his material is so dark, that you feel a shudder run through you each time you laugh. Are you laughing because he’s funny, or because he’s touched on something so abhorrent, that if you don’t laugh your mind will melt through your eyes?
Doug Stanhope does not care if you like him. Therein lies the strength of his act. We caught his set in London a few years ago, and while the audience was mostly compliant, at least 40% of the audience gave off an openly hostile vibe to his material. During his set at the Reading festival, he was showered in a hail of piss filled beer cups and garbage.
He stayed on stage, probably just to spite the crowd.
His latest DVD, Before Turning The Gun On Himself, shows a man who has resigned himself to the fact that his material, as politically charged as it can be at times, is never going to make a difference to the bigger picture. In a world where subtext is lost on audiences, he’s come to realise that even brutal honesty and directness isn’t enough.
People will still leave his shows, agreeing with him, only to go out and do exactly what he’s been apoplectically criticising on stage for the best part of an hour.
Like Bruce, Hicks and Kinison before him, he pulls no punches and no subject is out of bounds. You may be up for the challenge, you may even think you’re not one to be easily offended, but if you’ve not had a chance to catch his show you might be in for a surprise.
If you have the nerve.
Doug Stanhope’s DVD Before Turning The Gun On Himself is released via Roadrunner Comedy on March 12th 2012. You can catch him live on tour at the following dates:
Wednesday 14th – Empire – Sunderland
Thursday 15th – Southport Theatre – Southport
Friday 16th – St Georges Concert Hall – Bradford
Saturday 17th – Winding Wheel – Chesterfield
Sunday 18th – Lyric Theatre – Lowry
Wednesday 21st – Victoria Hall – Stoke On Trent
Thursday 22nd – Pavilion Theatre – Bournemouth
Friday 23rd – St Albans Arena – St Albans
Saturday 24th – Marlowe – Canterbury
Sunday 25th – Milton Keynes Theater – Milton?Keynes
Tuesday 27th – Playhouse – Edinburgh
Thursday 29th – Music Hall – Aberdeen
Friday 30th – Kings Theatre – Glasgow
Saturday 31st – Eden Court – Inverness
Thursday 5th – Princess Theatre – Torquay
Saturday 7th – Guildhall – Portsmouth
Sunday 8th – Hippodrome – Bristol
Tuesday 10th – St David Hall – Cardiff
Wednesday 11th – Orchard Theatre – Dartford
Thursday 12th – Cliffs Pavilion – Southend
Friday 13th – The Anvil – Basingstoke
Saturday 14th – Marlowe – Canterbury
Monday 16th – Philharmonic – Liverpool
Tuesday 17th – Engine Shed – Lincoln
Wednesday 18th – Reading Concert Hall – Reading
Thursday 19th – Dorking Halls – Dorking
Saturday 21st – Hammersmith Apollo – London
This was a guest post by Ed At Large, who you can stalk here.