Doug Stanhope has been comic degenerate for a very long time. He has pushed laughs to their dark, demented breaking point - any further and they'd turn into screams of terror. Stanhope’s ability to work in such a morbid space, has made him one of the most revered comedians in the industry.
And know, when I say his comedy is dark, I sincerely mean that. And I don't mean it in a heady, hipster Pulp Fiction or Death to Smoochie sort of way, either. Stanhope is not a comedian that one should blindly check out for a random laugh. He's an acquired taste for people who want to push through the dark vastness of mental endurance, to reach out and touch the event horizon of bad taste. That said, he has one of the most brilliant comedy shows on the planet that leaves you thinking, "What is wrong with me? How am I laughing at THAT?"
A glance at Stanhope's resume, it becomes clear that his reputation as "cringe comic" isn't simply the crutch of a mediocre comic. He has collectively released 12 critically claimed albums or television specials, and his comedy has been hailed by comedy titans like Sarah Silverman, Louis CK, and Ricky Gervais. He hosted "The Man Show" with Joe Rogan, appeared as Eddie on the FX show "Louis", and he will be appearing in the upcoming Chris Rock film "Finally Famous". He also filed to run for President of the United States in 2008 on the Libertarian ticket. He was forced to step aside due to the financial restrictions of Federal Election Commission, saying he couldn't earn money through stand-up appearances or through his website during the campaign.
Doug Stanhope will be appearing for one night only at The Laughing Derby, April 22nd @8 PM, $25. Louisville.com caught up with Stanhope to talk about the worst things he can think of.
Louisville.com: What’s the worst part about pop-culture?
Stanhope: I’m just not getting the references. You date yourself, I guess. I look at, ya’ know “National Enquirer” covers, when you’re standing in line at the supermarket…and I have no f***in’ idea who anyone famous today is.
Louisville.com: What’s the worst show you’ve ever done?
Stanhope: New Year’s Eve in Anchorage, Alaska – where we did mushrooms; which, I’ve learned my lesson enough times: it’s never gonna work. We thought if we did the mushrooms really early in the day that we’d be done tripping by the time the show came. And we weren’t at all. My buddy that was supposed to be opening went up and did about 30 seconds, then panicked and brought me up. The club owner was there with his mother, sitting center in front of the stage in a tuxedo.
Louisville.com: That goes with the next question…where’s the worst place to do mushrooms?
Stanhope: Yeah…I would have to say Anchorage, Alaska on New Year’s Eve is right up there.
Louisville.com: What’s been your worst intimate encounter?
Stanhope: God…it’s tough to pick heavies in such a wide field. Anyone where poo came into play…ooh gee, I just came up dirty on this one.
Louisville.com: What’s your worst celebrity run-in?
Stanhope: I crashed Bill Maher’s house for a 4th of July party, years ago as a youngster. I ended up jumping in his pool naked, and at some point I having a shower with some Swedish girl that was there. It was the end of the night, most people had gone, he caught us in the shower and threw us out. I don’t know if he knows that was me, or remembers it happening. That was before he had this show, he was still on Politically Incorrect on Comedy Central. I’ve never approached him about being on his show, just on the off-chance that he says, “Hey, aren’t you that guy from twenty years ago who acted like a c**t at my house?”
Louisville.com: What’s the worst song you’ve ever heard?
Stanhope: It’s “I Just Called to Say I Love You” by Stevie Wonder.
Louisville.com: What’s the worst movie you’ve ever seen?
Stanhope: That’s hard, that’s like saying, “The Worst Comic”. That’s like walking around going, “Hey, Dane Cook is the worst comic.” No he’s not. The guy at the open-mic night that you’ve never heard of, that’s the worst comic. Sure, Dane Cook’s movies shouldn’t have been made; but you can say the same about the movies my mother did when she was trying to be an actress, that she’d make you sit through, and then sit through again when you’re brother came over because he hadn’t seen it. Those are the worst movies.