This article first appeared in The W Weekly in Lexington, Kentucky in 2005.
Not For the Faint of Heart
Comedian Doug Stanhope comes to Lexington
Imagine living with an offbeat poet/ex-preacher named Father Luke, your chain-smoking mother, and your bald girlfriend named Oddjob who has a laundry li st of mental disorders, all while trying to fend off scabies in Bisbee, Arizona.
This isn’t the newest reality TV show of the season; it’s real life for Doug Stanhope. A self proclaimed “lover of losers,” Stanhope prefers to surround himself with characters to whom most people wouldn’t even give the time of day. It’s just one of the many facets that make Doug Stanhope one of today’s most tasteless yet brilliant stand-up comedians.
If the name sounds at all familiar, you probably will remember him as the former co-host of Comedy Central’s “Man Show”. He has also appeared in several “Girls Gone Wild” videos, and most recently had a spot in the film The Aristocrats. He currently spends most of his time performing at comedy clubs and rock venues, spreading the insanity that is his life all across the country.
Stanhope got his start in comedy by taking chances, and it hasn’t failed him yet. After dropping out of school after 9th grade because “it was boring,” he moved to California at age 18 to become an actor. When that didn’t work out, he performed at open mics in Las Vegas comedy clubs simply because he thought that was just as funny as anyone else. Since those early days, he has managed to grow into an accomplished comedian, while his personality remains vulgar as ever.
Hitting the stage armed with a fresh beer, plenty of Marlboros, and a sense of humor that could easily offend even the most open-minded of club goers, he often warns the crowd that his live show is “like leading you into battle…you’re not all going to be here at the end.” Stanhope’s abrasive humor is a blend of shock value and carefully crafted punch lines covering sensitive subject matter ranging from religion to sex toys. After building up sympathy for a tale of how he and his wife had to have an abortion, he then stunned the audience by exclaiming that he only did it because he “really wanted to see what it felt like to kill a baby.”
What’s even more shocking than the jokes themselves is that fact that the inspiration for his twisted brand of comedy comes from “true life experiences.” In the midst of listening to a story of how he narrowly escaped being robbed by an angry transvestite hooker, you start to realize that this really happened to him.
When he’s not on the road, Stanhope spends his time “hanging out and going to thrift stores.” Noting that since most people think that what he does for a living is fun, he considers other people’s work to be like “weed whacking.” Stanhope includes the more interesting parts of his daily life, such as breakups, scabies infections, and drug-related escapades all on his website so fans can keep tabs on him.
If you’re looking to return from Fall Break with some stories to tell, check out one of Doug Stanhope’s many shows next week. He will be performing at Comedy Off Broadway from October 5-8, along with native Kentucky comedian Cleveland. Ticket prices range from $9.50-$15.50. However, if you are easily offended you have been warned. For more information check out: www.dougstanhope.com.