There are always cheap ploys to garner good press, but few are better than those that include a citrus-scented towelette with a picture of the performer -- in this case comedian Doug Stanhope -- staring like a foaming psychotic. The combination is almost, well, noble. It makes sense: spitting lunatic, moist towelette -- it's very considerate. I'm saving mine for his performance this Tuesday at Loonee's.
In all probability Doug Stanhope thinks you're an idiot. Of course, that's toning it down. He'd probably say something closer to "f***ing f***face, Christ." Stanhope is charismatic and witty, though his politics are a bit more elusive. Liberal libertarian? Mean Green? One thing's for sure -- he seems to enjoy two things: attacking governmental absurdity and mammary jokes.
A sampling of the few reprintable segments of his new DVD, Word of Mouth, yields such treasures as the tracks "Pro-abortion, flipper baby," "CNN drinking game," and "3-legged dog with an itchy belly." While occasionally veering toward Lenny Bruce derivations, Stanhope manages to stand on his own by virtue of his vitality. In these politically sensitive times, there are few people willing to get up on stage and tell people exactly what is pissing them off about the state of the world, even if it only amounts to "f*** that." In one segment of the DVD, he surmises that Osama bin Laden is a fictional villain, created to prevent an Ayatollah Khomeini rehash. "I think Osama bin Laden is Tyler Durden ... that guy with the pipe bombs, trying to make a smiley face across America, he's part of Project Mayhem, too."
Stanhope is no newcomer. He's worked the stand-up circuit for over 12 years, receiving awards, getting banned from his home club in Austin, Texas, and drinking to excess. Never short of something to be outraged about, he recently tackled the Pete Townshend debacle on his Web site: www.dougstanhope.com. "Even if Pete really was ... the kid's not in therapy because of Pete Townshend. I go to rotten.com and look at murder pictures all day but that doesn't make me a murderer or potential murderer. If anything, it makes me wear a seatbelt."
And then there's a recent incident involving a Tennessee policeman shooting a family dog. Says Stanhope:
I've been calling the ... Cookeville Police at 931.526.2125 and asking them an array of questions.
"My dog just walked in on me masturbating. Is it OK to shoot him in the head?"
"I'm from the Johnson City Baptist Church and we're having a prayer session for that poor officer who shot that evil puppy and we'd like to have you pray with us. Dear Jesus. Please make Officer Eric Hall's children choke to death on their Christmas presents."
Am I suggesting you should do the same? Yes.
Stanhope should have a field day here in Colorado Springs.