Doug Stanhope talks shock and is an inveterate potty-mouth — but the dude's smarter than any of us. –Libby Molyneaux
L.A. WEEKLY: Why are you so popular with British audiences?
Beats the fuck outta me. They definitely have a better appreciation for live entertainment and more patience as an audience and I suppose that stems from having really shitty television. Once they have 300 channels and DVR they will become chatty, short attention-span bores like American crowds.
If this Wikipedia is to be believed, you live in Bisbee, Arizona — why?
Wikipedia is not to be believed, especially mine. It used to say I was a cast member of The View and born a hermaphrodite. But I do live in Bisbee, AZ. I can't tell you why. To make it big, I guess. Plus, I have a wall of stolen clocks as a collection and Arizona doesn't do daylight savings time, saving me a lot of trouble every six months. L.A. got to a point where it wasn't worth living there despite the free money they'd throw at you every year to do shitty projects. I'm a stand-up and that's all I want to do right now. There's no reason to live someplace you loathe.
What religious group hates you the most?
Christians get most air-time in my act but none are less retarded than the next. Alcoholics Anonymous might be the silliest in that they tell agnostics to invent your own god and then bow down to it. If you can't tell that the religion you invented is fake, maybe drinking isn't your worst problem.
What about you would most surprise your fans?
At home, I hang around with neighbor Dave talking about weed killer. I know the folks at Safeway by name and watch a lot of Wife Swap and Intervention . I'm producing a documentary about a local Bisbee guy trying to become the NFL's oldest rookie.
Is Obama joke-proof? Have you made fun of him yet?
He's not inherently funny — he doesn't inspire comedy. His election diffused racial tension almost immediately so far as standup is concerned. But the role of government in our private lives is so completely out of control that it doesn't matter who sits in the throne, those issues will always be omnipresent. Omnipresent. Like I'd ever use that word in a bar conversation. Pompous douchebag, fake intellectual wannabe. I probably misused it anyway.
I think you might be a comic genius — comment?
Oh, I'd say I am without question a genius — until they come up with a stronger word, which I should really be working on inventing. I think I can be good at what I do, which is narrow in scope, attractive to a limited audience and like most standup comedy, will be as timeless as organic mayonnaise in hot tropical sun. But for now it's fun.
What's the most intoxicated you've ever performed?
If I could remember, then I couldn't have been that fucked up. The only times I remember that I was super out of control were in shows that didn't matter (to me) where I wasn't the headliner or it was a showcase 15-minute spot at an L.A, comedy club, etc. Times where it was gonna fuck up people's entire night. I'm sure if I sat here long enough, I'd pull up some memory of someone telling me I'd never be back.
You won the Strathmore Press Award — who else has won that?
Nobody. It was an award invented at the Edinburgh Festival by people who thought I deserved the Perrier Award when I hadn't performed the required minimum performances to qualify. It doesn't matter. All awards are just somebody's opinion, no different than the hate mail from some shithead who thinks I suck for whatever reason. But it's something for Wikipedia to take the place of the bullshit.
You also said you'd like to end your career with a “End of the World” concert on 12/20/12 — the eve of the purported end of time according to the Mayan calendar. Is that still your plan?
I don't know if it will be the end of my career but we're certainly gonna put on a fucking monster show down in Bisbee with only a very limited amount of tickets and one hell of an after-party at the house. Fuck the mess, it's the end of the world. And if it's not, I'll be selling the Mayan Calendar Part II on Amazon the next day.
Anything else you'd like to tell L.A. Weekly readers?
Your coffee is getting cold and you've been taking up that seat for two hours. Maybe she meant she'd meet you at a different Starbucks.
Wed., April 22, 8 p.m.; Thu., April 23, 8 p.m., 2009