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Who is Doug Stanhope?
According to the Forbes list that I’ve seen, ventriloquist, Jeff Dunham was the top grossing “comedian” of last year, earning $22.5 million. A few years ago he was at number 3 behind Jerry Seinfeld and Chris Rock, but those guys aren’t even in the top 10 anymore. Larry the Cable Guy (aka: tucked in dress shirt wearing Dan Whitney) is still holding tight at number 6 with 16.5 million. America likes their racism without accountability, stereotypical as possible, and completely devoid of any complexity or originality. I mean, after all, what are you gonna do with any extra money that you have sitting around if not buy yourself souvenir puppets and DVDs, or vote against your own interests and donate to the Romney campaign? Also on the Top 10 earner’s list are Larry‘s fellow “blue collar” every men, Jeff Foxworthy and Bill Engvall at 11 and 10.5 million dollars respectively. “They’re just like me! I’ll take an extra large soft drink and a sweat shirt with an offensive Middle Eastern joke on the back if you have it. Yeah… a Mexican joke will do fine too, I guess.” Draining that 18 – 34 year old, video game playing, frat boy, and Affliction T-shirt wearing, frosted tip faux hawk demographic’s cellphone kiosk paycheck is the number 2 earning comedian, Dane Cook at 21 million. There was a moment in time when Cook‘s self-proclaimed “comedy nemesis,” Doug Stanhope, was the original and most vocal figure against Dane‘s brand of lazy pandering comedy, before tiring of the subject. Stanhope originally met Cook when he took first place over him in the 1995 San Francisco International Comedy Competition. As for this top ten earning comedians list, you won’t find Doug Stanhope anywhere near it.
Stanhope‘s career never exactly unfolded in the way that those of the top ten earners have, with movie star aspirations and Country Music Television specials. His material would, undoubtedly, be suffocated through network television and motion picture roles. While he’s had his share of “successes,” as far as select projects that have earned him income outside of standup, for the most part, they aren’t things that the longtime comedian views with much fondness or has treated as much more than an opportunity to pull an occasional paycheck. Such high profile gigs include co-hosting the last 2 seasons of The Man Show and hosting Girls Gone Wild: America Uncovered, neither of which he reflects on as points of pride. He’d probably prefer people to know him more for the makeshift foundation that he started to raise money to provide Bristol Palin with an abortion and to continuously fund abortions for those who couldn’t afford them in her mother’s name. Due to the confusion of a Huffington Post/KRUU.com reporter who kept calling the wrong number thinking that he was contacting John Lydon (aka Johnny Rotten), Stanhope recently partook in an interview where he pretended to be the PIL and former Sex Pistols frontman–complete with hacky British accent–unbeknownst the the reporter conducting it. Not unlike Lydon, however, the standup is widely regarded as a foul-mouthed deviant, and one with incredible dedication and integrity in regards to his craft, even if his craft represents what the majority of the straight world may believe embodies the completely unapologetic absence of integrity. In fact, is some ways, that lack of apology is exactly where the integrity lies.
Beginning his career back in 1990, Doug has consistently represented what many of us feel is one of the purest forms of comedy. He answers to nobody except for the work and respects the standup medium in a way that those only wishing to use it as a launching pad to something else, never will. As someone who has been praised for my own projects, simply based on the idea that they could could lead to something else “more important/real” someday, I appreciate Stanhope‘s “unethical” ethics and respect for the unrespectable. This IS the final result, it’s not an outline for something better, more marketable/commercial in the future. 100% of your focus should go into what you’re doing now or you’re cheating everyone, including yourself. You’re not being respectful to the craft or the audience by pandering to them or buffering your work–it’s like cutting cocaine with baking soda out of “respect” and “concern” for your customer’s safety: a fucking cop out (plus, there’s absolutely no way that you’re snorting that same shit that you’re selling, because you know better). Doug Stanhope creates comedy and lives it, because it’s what he believes in, regardless of how respectable anyone else believes what he is doing is. I’m sure that, to many, he’s a lump of unrealized potential wasting away in his own alcoholism, misdirecting his intelligence by focusing on hedonism and the perverse. He’s offensive and crass. This isn’t shiny, bold Crayola crayon leather 80s suits or giant wacky tie and hat, playing a sold-out stadium comedy. This is the type of grimy, back alley, piss-stained brick-wall comedy delivered by a sweaty disaster, where shit gets dark, like those last couple of Lenny Bruce performances before his death. This is the type of Bill Hicks saying whatever the fuck he wanted/needed to standup, where you have to wonder if someone didn’t kick his ass and drop him in a gutter after the show and, even more importantly, if he had a bloody grin across his teeth while it was happening.
One of the biggest surprises is likely that Stanhope‘s physically survived as long as he has, while various predecessors (Bruce), friends (Mitch Hedberg), and contemporaries (Greg Giraldo) often never found such luck, expiring far too soon from their own substance abuse. The fact that he regularly drinks on stage, chain smokes, and consistently admits to excessive drug use, is enough of a reason for him to have left this world by now, but the type of strong unfiltered opinions that he expresses are what have found him being booed and assaulted with flying beer bottles during his 2009 Leeds Festival performance, while later earning him the #4 spot on the Guardian UK‘s 20 Best Live Shows of the very same year. It’s what’s prompted British GQ to inquire “Is This America’s Most Depraved Man?” and then accompany that headline with an 8 page feature on him. It’s the reason that he’s one of the handful of comedians that you need to see live and the reason to still have faith in standup as an art form in general. Someone needs to be out there shitting themselves and spilling their guts all over the stage, or all hope is pretty much lost. Fortunately Doug has taken on that responsibility to keep comedy real and grimy.
Also fortunate for all of us in Seattle, is that Doug Stanhope will be returning to the city in which he filmed his 2004 standup Deadbeat Hero and, thanks to our friends at the Seattle Theatre Group, one of you assholes will have a chance to win yourselves a pair of tickets to check out the performance for free!
THE CONTEST / GIVEAWAY:
*One winner will receive a pair of tickets to see the following show:
Live @ The Neptune Theatre
Nov. 8, 2012
HOW TO ENTER:
While Doug believes that his creativity was relentlessly stifled during his 2 year tenure on The Man Show, it did afford him the opportunity to get into a boxing ring with ex-figure skater and 90s tabloid scandal poster girl, Tonya Harding. This contest will be based around that incident.
Your task as the entrant is to tell us which female celebrity, pseudo-celebrity, and/or public figure, you would like to challenge in a beat down, whether it be sanctioned boxing match or all out street fight, or simply punch in the face and why?
Post your answer in the comment section below.
There is no part 3. That’s all there is to the contest. It’s pretty easy… but you should probably read the fine print.
The Fine Print:
All entries must be received by Tuesday October 6th at 11:59 pm to be eligible.
You can enter as many times as you want, but use a valid email so that we can contact you.
If you sign in with Facebook, make sure that your account can accept a message from us.
Winner will be chosen arbitrarily, based on our personal “favorite”, so try to be interesting.
If you are not sure that you will be able to attend the show, do not enter! You’d be surprised how often that shit happens and we don’t want these going to waste.
If we are unable to contact the winner in a reasonable amount of time, a new winner will be chosen.
[If you have any intentions to post comments asking us to pick you, or asking when the winner will be announced… how about, just don’t do it? It’s pretty fucking obnoxious and it won’t help your chances.]
We also suggest watching some of Doug’s standup, just to make sure that you know what you’re getting into. Thanks to some joker on youtube, you can watch the entire Deadbeat Hero standup footage below…