Before Turning the Gun on Himself…
Reviewer – Sam Walby.
Doug Stanhope is not the kind of comic who is going to “make it big”, in the Michael McIntyre sense. He missed that boat a long time ago and he knows that better than anyone else. 20 years on the road, performing to about 120 people in a back room followed by excessive drinking in hotel lobbies, have not reined him in from his vile peripheries. Under his umbrella anything is fair game, including rape, paedophile baiting and abortion.
On first introduction, it would be very easy to dismiss Stanhope as a reactionary performer. He revels in the awkward silences induced by his filthy tirades, stumbling through his routines and intentionally leaving large gaps. But the fact is that he seems to genuinely not care if he offends people. You really get the feeling that he wouldn’t stop, no matter what the reaction was.
Of course, his tenth DVD release Before Turning the Gun on Himself is no different. Fair game this time around are the parents of cult comic Mitch Hedberg, who started a charity golf tournament in his name to raise money for a rehab clinic, the Alcoholics Anonymous 12-Step Programme and its “recognising a higher power” stipulation, celebrity rehab reality TV presenter Dr Drew, the effect of the recession on prostitution, and the reappropriation of the word ‘faggot’ (“If you are offended by any word in any language, it’s probably because your parents were unfit to raise a child.”)
Stanhope’s comedy is caustic and completely unapologetic, and for that reason it isn’t for everyone. But there is something rational beneath it all, an underlying view of the world that is undoubtedly cynical but often makes a great deal of sense. His frequent rants on the subject of overpopulation are particularly refreshing, since it is a topic that no-one seems brave enough to even mention.
Doug is touring the UK until the end of April, including shows in Chesterfield (17th March), Manchester (18th March), Nottingham (20th March) and Leeds (April 3rd). Tickets can be bought here.
Before Turning The Gun On Himself… is out now.