The world according to Doug Stanhope, the comedian who says the unsayable

He's a right provocateur

Doug Stanhope, sayer of the unsayable, fundamentalist alcoholic, atheist misanthrope and quite possibly the funniest man on the planet, joins us today fresh from a quite monumental shit. “Just destroyed a toilet,” he admits down the phone from what is probably some stinking hungover sweat gutter somewhere in the stinking folds of Trump’s leathery butt-cheeks (i.e. he’s in America). “How did I do that? Oh y’know, it’s morning.”

You might easily interpret Doug’s foulest bowel expulsions as a wry commentary on The Donald’s shit-spraying foreign policy, or a metaphor for his effect on comedy itself, shattering the porcelain bowl of light entertainment with copious gushes of filth and bile. He’s that kind of comedian: shocking not by cynical design but by dint of his unflinching, uncompromising honesty and frankness. His relatively cuddly cameos on Charlie Brooker’s Screenwipe belie his cult-inducing, filter-free live sets and US reputation as prankster provocateur par excellence. This is the guy who jokes about his mother’s assisted suicide onstage, at which he was present. Who lightened up a job as a gay sex line operator by telling callers he had bowel cancer. Who attacks all religions equally, simply for the delusions and immoralities of being religious.

So as he prepares to tear Britain a new lol-hole with his own brand of deviant truth bombs, we present The World According To Stanhope…

1. Alcohol

“If you’re in a position where you can drink all the time, why wouldn’t you? Why do people only do it on the weekend? Doesn’t make any sense. I just feel like I’d be cheating my audience if I wasn’t getting hammered on the job.”

2. Offensiveness

“I just run solely on instinct. I’m sure at one point it became fun to offend the audience because so often the audience is offensive to you. In the early days, before people were coming to see you, they were just coming to see comedy, they get angry at you. It’s like, you should do more investigation into what you’re going to see. So there was a lot of that bachelorette party hate, fuck you, you just came out here to destroy my show with your stupid fucking outfits and yelling out ‘pick on my friend’. ‘Ok here’s a bit you’ll love’, and you do ten minutes on abortion.”

“People on the internet get offended by everything, but I don’t know how many of those people are really offended, they just want to bitch. I think people like to take sides just to get into the fight. It makes them feel like they’re a part of something if they’re for or against something and they probably think about it very little if they’re not on Twitter.”

3. Cults

“I’m basically a cult leader?! It’s a better story than the truth. I mean I have a lot of friends that live around me in Bisbee, Arizona, but a cult? I can’t hold a solid point of view for a full 24 hour period, I’d be the biggest let-down cult leader. As the cocktails start coming I get more and more charismatic, then in the morning I’d be like, ‘Fuck, the cult! Did I start that cult thing again last night? Don’t listen to me when I start the cult thing’. As they’re packing their bags to leave I’m drinking again, ‘Oh no, come on back, I’ve rethought it. The cult thing’s a great idea!’.”

4. Trump

“I don’t really talk about it on stage. If he’s on TV, against my will I’ll watch it for entertainment value but then it gets really boring really quickly. It’s not really my world. I try to care but I don’t. It’s murdering the news, the only time I talk about him is how much news were missing because he’s all that’s on the news here. Every comic is gonna talk about this, I don’t really have an angle and they do. They actually follow this shit and I don’t, so let them have it. It’s almost like when John Wayne Bobbitt got his dick cut off, every fucking comic is going to be doing bits about this, why? It’s just a bigger version of someone getting their dick cut off. Where I live, in my cult, we have the sports on just to have something to stare at when you don’t want to talk. If I was playing the States I’d probably watch CNN in my hotel room all the time and then I’d have opinions but I’ve been playing Asia and Australia, going to Canada and the UK, so it hasn’t been something that’s monopolised my time.”

5. Music

“I’ve never liked music. I have an iPod but I’d usually just play that if I was tripping or drunk and no one else wanted to hear those songs. There’s nothing from this millennium on my iPod that I didn’t learn in a commercial. My iPod has about a two-song maximum that people will tolerate.”

6. Brexit

“All I know is, last time I was there in 2015, I was making a lot more money. I have nothing else on Brexit.”

7. Kanye

“He was mouthing off recently, something about slavery? That’s the problem with Trump. I love the people who are upset [about Kanye] because that’s the fucking country they created. They celebrate shit-talking assholes who say anything to get a rise out of people. You think he had no idea what he was doing when he talked shit like that? He has an album coming out, he says something fucking outrageous, everyone bitches, everyone takes his side and it’s just fucking theatre and its annoying. I could have done that to you. I could have come out, had a bunch of bullshit opinions about Brexit that you could print, then fucking people would be up in arms, ‘Oh there’s this fucking American…’ and I’d just be talking out of my ass. I can figure out quickly by reading a fucking article exactly what tack to take, what’s something I could say to piss of half the people and then get them talking about me and then looking me up on YouTube.”

8. Airport pub crawls

“When I need to make diamond status on Delta [Airlines] at the end of the year, if I don’t already have it, I’ll just fly as far as I have to, just never leave an airport, I’ve flown 77 hours from Toussaint to Atlanta to Johannesburg to South Africa to Amsterdam to Detroit to Vegas to Toussaint without ever leaving an airport, just to get the miles. Then I’ll just take pictures in different airport bars around the world, in a row, #AtAirportPubcrawl.”


9. Walk-outs

In his early days, Doug was notorious for getting audiences to walk out of his gigs. These days, though, they just try to out-drink him.

“Australia, I don’t know how they get that drunk when their fucking booze is that expensive. A lot of people falling asleep in the front row, so it’s not walk-outs but carry-outs. More of a drag-out, a stumble-out. Is there a Doug Stanhope drinking game? I’ve not heard of one but we could make one up.”

10. Working premium rate gay sex lines

“It was a job that was always in the weekly paper in LA when I was trying to make it as a comic. You got to get a fucking day job and gay phone sex was always in the paper and I said ‘this would be funny do this, you’d get some great stories’. I’d just go down and take gay phone sex calls and fuck with them, get them jerking off to a point where they’re completely into it and starting throwing stuff in like ‘oh what do I look like? A 63-year-old Korean War veteran, I lost my legs to diabetes, I have a three-and-a-half inch herpes scarred dick, what do you look like? Oh I guess I should have made something up right there’ and you’d go back to serious so they’re jerking off again, get them right to the edge of either coming or hanging up, and then reel them back in, its fucking hilarious. I wish I could have taped it.”

11. Religion

A devout atheist, Doug raised $125,000 for an Oklahoma tornado victim who was brave enough to declare herself a non-believer on TV, despite living in a community where thoughts and prayers were common currency in times of tragedy. “I didn’t do it because I felt sympathy because she got all her shit destroyed by a tornado,” he told Vice. “I did it simply to be a prick to her Okie Christian neighbours, hoping they were all eating off their FEMA trucks when someone drove up and presented Rebecca with a giant cardboard check.”

So how do we solve a problem like religion?

“I don’t think you do. I think the only way you solve that one is to know why we’re here and if you knew why we were here you’d probably fucking kill yourself. I would say hallucinogens go a long way towards it but you can’t spend your whole like just fucking tripping can you? There’s drinking to be done.”

Doug Stanhope’s UK tour is as follows

O2 Academy Brixton (June 7)

O2 Academy, Glasgow (June 8)

O2 Academy, Newcastle (June 10)

O2 Academy, Leeds (June 11)

O2 Academy, Birmingham (June 12)

Manchester Academy (June 15)

Eventim Apollo, London (June 16)

Bath Pavilion (June 17)