Doug Stanhope Is Arizona's Darkest Comedian
"Most comics are pretty dark people," Doug Stanhope says.
Courtesy Doug Stanhope Doug Stanhope is scheduled to perform on Wednesday, November 12 at Stand Up Live in Phoenix.
Few comics are quite as dark -- or willing to get as pitch black -- as Stanhope. Our conversation with him, following the terrible news that his best friends and Bisbee neighbors Nowhere Man and a Whiskey Girl, had passed away, understandably went painful places. You can read that part of our interview here. But Stanhope excels at drawing out the humor inherent in the worst news; for better or worse, Stanhope is Arizona's gallows funnyman.
"A comedian's sense of humor, when he's hanging out with other comics, is usually as dark as it can get," he says. "Because you're almost like a porn star. [It's like] what sex must be like to a porn star -- anything simple is no longer funny. The shit you talk about in the green room would make most people unfriend you on Facebook."
We discussed Stanhope's objections to "celebrity doctor" Drew Pinsky, his appearance on Louie, involvement with The Man Show and Girls Gone Wild, and avoiding "preaching" during his shows.
Jackalope Ranch: You say stuff in your act that very few other comedians would say. You seem to be willing to go places few people are.
Doug Stanhope: That's the green room sense of humor. You figure, if that's what I laugh at, why not do that? I remember early in my career, working on my act, and [I'd] sit around with other comics and you'd have shit in your notebook that you would fucking gut-bust-cry laughing at, and you'd say, "You could never do that on stage." At some point, I figured why the fuck not? Why not do that on stage? That's what's killing you.
You spend a lot of time in your act talking about "recovery," and you often take on Dr. Drew Pinsky for his role as a "celebrity doctor." I was listening to the podcast you did with Dr. Drew, where you went on and actually talked with him. It was compelling. I tend to agree with your initial assessment of Dr. Drew -- that he's causing harm. I shouldn't say initial, because you never really came around to his side in that conversation.
https://www.facebook.com/officialstanhope/ Doug Stanhope and Dr. Drew Pinksy. Not a real fight, to the chagrin of Doug's fans.
At some points it felt like he was arguing my points against him better than me. [Laughs]
The way he discussed being a part of [Celebrity Rehab] was really interesting. I despise it; it's a train wreck and not in a fun way. I despise it, but it almost seemed like he does, too.
Yeah, there's a lot of deflection. "I didn't have anything to do with that; that was the producers." Well, your name is on it. The whole "boat riding" with Gary Busey. The one thing I didn't get in that was in my fucking notes was the whole Lindsay Lohan thing. I don't know if you remember. He was on some show and said that if he were Lindsay Lohan's father, he'd plant cocaine on her and then call the cops just to get her locked up for her own good. He's not some comedian where you say, "Oh, no, that's hyperbole." You're a fucking doctor. You don't say stuff like that.
You're pretty vocal about your beliefs regarding the process of recovery or the commercialization of it.
Yeah, that cottage industry.
Your problem is with the cottage industry, not the idea of recovery?
Oh, yeah, no. [My problem's] when you're using "God" as the pivot point -- something that I see as nonsense, utter nonsense -- and that's what you're using to treat a medical condition; what you call a medical condition. Sure, I think you should be trying harder. You say, "It works for some people," but it doesn't work for a lot of people because of that. Why aren't you trying to build a better mousetrap when you know that's so fucking flawed?
And that's just A.A. [There's more] when you start to get into who's profiting off this, turning every problem into some kind of medical condition that needs treatment you have to pay for. Hey, maybe you just need a good fucking cry. [Laughs]