STAND UP TUESDAYS: Doug Stanhope

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Stand-Up Tuesdays is a weekly comedy spotlight written by the wonderfully talented Angie Frissore. Covering both known and unknown comics, Stand-up Tuesdays is your new source for all things funny.

This week, Angie puts a spotlight on Doug Stanhope’s comedy career. If you or your comedy troupe would like to be featured on Stand-Up Tuesdays, please email utgjames@gmail.com.

If for some reason you do not currently own a Doug Stanhope special, now’s the time to change that. The comedian’s brand-new special, Beer Hall Putsch, is, without a doubt, the most well-crafted and entertaining hour of comedy he’s done to date as he skewers the Occupy movement and useless charities, and shares a rather poignant story of his mother’s death. Initially premiering on Netflix, Beer Hall Putsch is out today on CD (with a DVD to follow in November).

Named after Hitler’s failed coup attempt, Beer Hall Putsch was recorded live at Dante’s in Portland, Oregon, where Stanhope got started booking his first shows. Hailed as “the most important standup working today” by Ricky Gervais, Stanhope’s brand of scathing and unflinching commentary on not only the world around him, but himself as well, never fails to fire up his fans.

Unlike a lot of other ‘angry’ comics, Stanhope isn’t simply standing around complaining about the world. Instead, he offers solutions to some of the woes that ail us as a society – including a particularly well thought out strategy that would have made the Occupy movement far more successful.

“Maybe you should look to me for leadership,” Stanhope suggests. “I hate the banks as well, as we all do. How did I fuck them? I spent three hours jacking up mother’s Chase Bank Visa card after she’s dead up to its $10,000 limit, buying dumb shit that no one needs and sticking them with the bill, because she had no estate, except that blind fucking last cat – if you want to repo that, have at it. That actually caused damage to the bank.”

What makes Stanhope so widely successful is his passion for what he talks about. He’s not standing on stage riffing about run-of-the-mill observations, no – he speaks from the heart (albeit a dark, self-hating and slightly inebriated heart) and with utter conviction. Beer Hall Putsch offers a glimpse of Stanhope that feels far more personal than any of his previous recordings, and at the same time, it’s the tightest set I’ve heard from him in years. There’s a saying among writers when it comes to their craft: write what you know. Stanhope has honed his craft to do just that, resulting in a very intimate and personal experience for his audience.

“When I started, I was just a know-nothing dick-joke guy with a mullet,” Stanhope recalls. “I was 24 years old, with no point of view and nothing to say, other than ‘Please fuck me.’ It wasn’t until ’95 or ’96 that I started doing something that felt more like an art form than a centerpiece for a bachelor party. That’s when I started to take true stories and craft them so they worked on stage, rather than just telling them in a bar. I stopped making stuff up and I stopped doing jokes that I didn’t really believe in, and started working on stuff that I meant.”

Undoubtedly Doug Stanhope’s crowning achievement, Beer Hall Putsch is now available on CD via New Wave Dynamics. Pick up a copy today and school yourself in standup as Stanhope shows the industry just how it’s done.

Grade: A+

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