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"Once you do standup, it spoils you for everything else," says Doug Stanhope. "There're no censors, there're no sponsors to get offended, there're no standards and practices. It's just you, and it's immediate gratification. You say it, and drifts off into thin air, and you can say it a different way the next day."
Stanhope's new release Before Turning the Gun on Himself—his tenth album and his second CD/DVD set for Roadrunner Comedy—offers a potent double dose of the abrasive, brutally honest brand of standup comedy that's established him as a one-of-a-kind phenomenon. “For a guy whose last name ends in ‘hope,’ he seems to have little for much of anything…he exudes an insightfully vulgar mix of bleakness, anger and despair – much of it laugh-out-loud funny, some of it wince-inducing, all of it genuine-sounding,” said The Chicago Sun-Times.
Stanhope’s confrontational rants, who’s live show was twice named “Best Stand-Up Show” of the year by Time Out New York, encompasses caustic social commentary, outlandish first-person narratives, graphic sex and perversion, sometimes within the same sentence. Fueled by equal amounts of anger, outrage and alcohol, Stanhope rails against western civilization's slide into apathy and stupidity, always on the edge of implosion yet fully in control and never afraid to risk pissing off his audiences. “Stanhope is a genius parading around the slums of failed ideology…he’s Charles Bukowski with dick jokes drunkenly fueled by Thomas Payne,” declared The San Antonio Current.
In a field crowded with conformists and copycats, Stanhope is a genuinely original comic voice, albeit a gleefully vulgar one. “A visionary douchebag” says The Times (London). Raw, agitated and unflinching, he holds forth on all manner of major injustices and petty annoyances, excoriating himself as much as any of his other targets. But Stanhope's venomous bile is matched by his passion and conviction, as well as a fierce intellect that gives his work a level of substance and subtlety that belies his snarling exterior. His comedy is as corrosive as it is hilarious, and his righteous self-immolation is exhilarating and life-affirming in its cathartic honesty. “Stanhope shocks you with the virulence of his lucidity; he shocks you into realising how transparent the confidence trick of western propaganda can be made to seem. What he has in abundance is the charm, don't-give-a-damn swagger and aggressive intelligence that make for important, exciting comedy," says The Guardian(UK).
Stanhope has been compared to such fearless comic revolutionaries as Lenny Bruce, Richard Pryor, Sam Kinison and Bill Hicks. But his work makes it abundantly clear that he's a complete original. As Ricky Gervais tweeted, "Doug Stanhope might be the most important standup working today."