Doug Stanhope will be embarking on an extensive tour throughout the United States this year and was kind enough to subject himself to an interview with us in the meantime. For those of you that may be unfamiliar with his comedic abilities, he is a former host of The Man Show, possible Presidential candidate, and popular stand-up comic. His honest, straight-forward, and thought provoking style help make him not only hilarious, but at times even controversial. After reading our interview with him, please make sure to check out his website at DougStanhope.com or his MySpace page at myspace.com/DougStanhope for more information on his upcoming tour.
Q: What do you think is the number one misconception that people have about you?
DS: Probably that I'll remember them. People come up to me all the time and talk to me as though we'd grown up together (and in some cases we had) when I have no idea who they are. It's somewhat embarrassing but after 16 years of comedy... that's the same as if you went to your entire public schooling plus four years of college, every week at a different school and shit-faced every single day. We may have had one hell of a night together in 8th grade but I had a lot of those nights in a lot of different 8th grades.
Q: With the extensive amount of projects that you've been a part of, is there one that you look back on and say "Wow, I wish I could do that again"?
DS: If you mean in the "Wow, I coulda done that better", I guess I feel that way about everything. I did a pilot for Sirius radio that I wish I could do again. I love doing radio - especially uncensored radio. Having to carry a show as opposed to just being funny is a different world.
I haven't done much on television that I'd want to do again. I did a Fox hidden camera show a lot of years ago that died quickly but we had a blast making it. Unfortunately, television is work. Sometimes 14-16 hour days for something that will never have the artistic purity of what I do live. I hate work. I hate *having* to do anything.
Q: In the past you've mentioned a strong desire to run for the 2008 Presidency on the Libertarian ticket. If you were elected President, what would you hope to accomplish?
DS: Very little which is exactly what the federal government should be doing. Instead they've spread like a hot dose throughout every aspect of our lives and continue to replicate with no end in sight.
If you don't know libertarian politics, watch a season of "Deadwood" on HBO. That's what this country was built on - rugged individualism and self-determination, not taking your fucking shoes off at the airport and stepping 15 feet outside the door to smoke.
Q: With the negative stigma that infects the public's opinion of politicians, why do you think it's so hard for a non-major political player to be elected to office?
DS: Absolutely no media coverage. In the 2004 presidential debate, both the Green Party and Libertarian candidates were arrested for crossing police lines and trying to enter the building. You'd think that would have been a lead story. It didn't make the national media anywhere. Only the BBC carried it and nobody cared.
Q: You've been quoted as saying "Coward is the most misused word in our society." In what way do you think the word is commonly misused?
DS: Why not just print the rest of the bit. If it starts with that then I'm sure it ends with an explanation. Sorry if I'm being cunty, I quit smoking two days ago and it hasn't been pleasant.
Q: Do you ever see a comedian perform a particularly funny bit and think, "Damn, I wish I could've come up with that"?
DS: Of course. [Joe] Rogan has two bits that hurt to hear for that reason. [Dave] Attell always comes up with the punchline you wish you wrote. It happens with a lot of guys. What hurts the most, though, is when you hear some chunk of brilliance coming from a comic who otherwise has nothing of any merit, like he accidentally wrote something you'd kill to have and now you're gonna have to watch it go to waste.
Q: You're doing a pretty extensive tour this year, how do you deal with the constant traveling and changing scenery?
DS: Change of scenery? I've played about 46 states and 9 different countries and they all look like the inside of a bar. That's why the traveling is a necessary evil. it puts distance in between you and the unknown shame of the last town.
Q: Are there ever times where you forget a piece of your material while doing stand-up? If so, what do you do in those situations?
DS: My show is so fucked in it's delivery that accidents and failures actually help more than they hurt. I'm never so structured that drawing a blank will throw everything else off the tracks. But if I do forget something mid-stream, it's a possible indication that I'm too fucked up and maybe should have done some coke before that set.
Q: Do you have to sit down and consciously attempt to come up with new stand-up material, or does it usually just come to you out of the blue?
DS: I consciously try to keep notes and will go through them when I'm absolutely tired of saying what I've been saying. After this long on stage, sometimes it feels like I'm cannibalizing my own act, that I've said everything that can possibly be said and I'm just re-writing my old stuff to sound new. That's when I know I'm not doing enough with my day. Writer's block usually comes with not doing a fucking thing with your life, at least for me.
Q: I say wombat, you say...
DS: Shut up and give me a cigarette. This really fucking blows. Wombat is a funny word! You fucking dunce cap. Do me a favor and hold my balls while I take a shit. And run this thing through spell-check for me. I don't have it in me.