Doug Stanhope – Rogue Comic Appearing at Marilyn’s on K
A Sacramento Comedy.Com Interview
Getting to the essence of veteran comedian Doug Stanhope is both easy and difficult at the same time. He’s so simple, yet so complex. Because of that, he is also completely controversial. Actually, to say that Stanhope is "controversial " is a vast understatement.
Many people only know Stanhope through his short-lived hosting of "The Man Show" with Joe Rogan and his participation in the late-night, titillating "Girls Gone Wild" infomercials, which he said was only for the money.
Stanhope’s true fans know him as an outspoken, uncensored, honest and libertarian comic who looks at the world and questions aloud how we have turned a blind eye to how we are manipulated on a daily basis by the government and the media.
When Sacramentocomedy.com spoke to Stanhope by phone, he was home at his small two-bedroom house in the teeming metropolis of Bizbee, Ariz., with a population of maybe 6,000 people, hanging out with his dogs and his long-term girlfriend "Bingo." Don’t make the mistake of calling their relationship a marriage, Stanhope tells the world, ’cause "why would anyone would want to invite the government to share in the blessed union?
"If you could invent marriage today, would you say, ‘Hey, let’s invite the government to get involved!’ or not?" he mused in one of his libertarian rants.
We asked Stanhope, who is appearing at Marilyn’s on K March 12, why he is performing at such a small venue when he can draw a much larger crowd anywhere.
"Many comedy club audiences are like seat fillers for ‘Dancing With The Stars.’ They are both benign and banal. You might as well do comedy for your pets. My audience is a giant ‘sausage festival’ with would-be school shooters. That’s why rock-and-roll clubs are fun. They allow for a kind of chaos and an audience that doesn’t just sit with hands folded with a tablecloth and a candle. It feels real and alive."
So against the status quo, he has become both a curmudgeon and a contrarian. His anger took root in 2008 by planning to run for President under the Libertarian Party though he later decided against it and gave his support first to Libertarian candidate Ron Paul and then finally to Barack Obama.
"I would have had to count the income from all my appearances as fundraising and the campaign rules are so complex that if I made one simple mistake, the cost in fees were outrageous! And, I am not smart enough to not make mistakes!"
His confessions of "I’m not really that bright" and "I experience periods of self-loathing" put him into a class of comic that is both brilliant and to any exploitative, commercial or corporate type with a need to control him, a bomb just waiting to go off.
Stanhope, who began performing standup in Las Vegas in 1990, said that it has been an adventure. Starting as a "road comic" going from one gig to another fueled by drugs and booze, often sleeping in the car, propelled him forward.
Through the trek, we asked him how prevalent the drugs and alcohol were then and now.
"Honestly, alcohol is the Abbott to my Costello," he responded. It was reported that in 2006 he took ecstasy on opening night at the Fringe Festival in Edinburgh, Scotland, that was handed to him by a member of the audience. He got rave, 5-star reviews.
Fans love him for his edgy, outspoken rants. So edgy in fact, Stanhope was booed off a stage in Ireland after stating that "Irish women were too ugly to rape," and in the United Kingdom for making derogatory statements about the Royal Family. The British GQ Magazine wrote an eight-page feature asking the question: "Is This America’s Most Depraved Man?"
Though Stanhope eschews rehearsed, memorized and overly produced comedy passed off as spontaneous, he has done Showtime and Comedy Central specials, has appearances on stage and TV, produced numerous successful CDs and DVDs and appeared the comedy documentary, "The Aristocrats," where he held a young child and proceeded to tell one of the dirtiest industry jokes.
Love him or hate him, Stanhope is going to bring it March 12th to Marilyn’s on K, 908 K St., Sacramento, CA 95814 at 7:00 PM. You can get more information or buy tickets (it is expected to sell out early) by clicking here.
The Comedy Guy
Steven Bloom is the founder of SacramentoComedy.Com, the Official Guide to Sacramento Comedy. This website is dedicated to interviews, comedian bios, videos and consolidating all of the Sacramento comedy events to a single site. You can send your questions directly to The Comedy Guy at Steven@SacramentoComedy.Com