Interview with comedian Doug Stanhope
photo by David Block
There’s not much that can be said that hasn’t already when it comes to Doug Stanhope. His resume includes running for president in 2008, appearing at every major comedy festival, co-hosting The Man Show with Joe Rogan, recording more than 10 albums and DVDs, and authoring a book. He recently appeared on the FX television show Louie with Louis C.K. and earlier this year signed with Roadrunner Records and released Oslo: Burning The Bridge To Nowhere, which was filmed in Norway.
Before the interview began, Stanhope lashed out with, “Just don’t ask me where do I get my ideas from and what made me want to be a comedian and we’ll be fine.” Typical Stanhope.
How do you process all this material?
You know what, I have no idea. My brain must work organically.
It’s amazing how you do it. I was watching ‘Oslo’ and you coughed in the middle of a sentence and you mentioned it was a death cough. A super reaction. Your brain must be soaked with information.
Soaked would be the accurate word, but not necessarily with information.
What’s the biggest misconception about you?
People think I party more than I actually do. They will come to the house for the first time and think it’s going to be a Hunter S. Thompson experience. I’m a pretty boring guy. I do a lot of nothing really well.
You’ve mentioned before that you love Vodka. What’s your favorite kind?
I change them up quiet often, but normally it’s vodka with grapefruit.
Having a drink help you on stage?
The last time I remember performing sober was 2003. It was a random college that didn’t allow drinking. Glad I only had to do 25 minutes. That’s one of the few shows I can remember in the last decade.
You talk about things, not just what other comedians won’t discuss, but other people refuse to talk about like losing your sex drive. Are you comfortable discussing those things?
I gravitate towards those things. I wish I had something else to tell you that would be off-putting, but I haven’t done much in the last couple of years.
Your fan base in the UK is off the charts and you’ve said that they are far more brutal than comedy fans over here in the U.S. Why so?
They are comedy savvy and they treat comedy like an art form. If you have a bad show over there, it makes the paper. Over here, people go to birthday parties or adult Chuck E. Cheeses.
What is more of a problem — overpopulation or public stupidity?
Overpopulation is kind of a world thing. People are in their own little worlds now with all these distractions like gadget phones, Twitter, Facebook, apps on phones, 300 channels. What was the question again?
I’ve heard you mention both of these in one of your shows. I didn’t know if you thought one was more relevant than the other.
(Laughs). In the long run, it will be overpopulation. But I won’t be around to deal with, and I’m not leaving any litter behind so I won’t give a crap.
I recently heard you on Howard Stern with your girlfriend and you seemed happy. Are you still with her?
Yeah, it’s a perfect match. I’ve never been in a relationship where I could honestly say that. You have to say it (in) most relationships because she is going to read the interview. Sometimes you can’t be honest like you used to be because you would be ratting them out. Like going out and doing mushrooms with your buddy but he is a firefighter and you have to change a little bit of the story and say you were in Sacramento instead of Oklahoma City. You know his friends are reading updates on my Web site. This guy brought his prostitute girlfriend to a show of mine and I can’t say that because he’s got a wife and kids at home. The Internet has ruined all secret keeping.
Would you ever consider doing television again?
Doing the ‘Louie’ thing was a lot of fun. I hate the thought of acting; it disturbs you, and it wasn’t a fun process for me. Doing it with Louis C.K. made it different than most because usually it’s cringing thinking how much they must hate the decision they made to hire me.
What’s next on the agenda for Doug Stanhope?
I’ll have another DVD coming out for Christmas and have a rough outline for another one after that. I’m going to Iceland to hang out with the mayor of Reykjavik for a week, and that’s inspiring. Another friend of mine said he was going, and a friend of mine who is a comedian got elected mayor on a goof when their economy crapped the bed. So I sent him an e-mail telling him we should meet and sign some documents of historic significance. I’m going to perform in a prison over there, too. I didn’t want to do a show while I was there because shows mess up vacations. A prison is different because there won’t be any critics and I can do all my old stuff. I can ruin the show and it wouldn’t hurt my demographic.
For more information about the brilliant comedian, visit dougstanhope.com