Doug Stanhope!

The man didn’t disappoint last night.  The shady little Jazz Bar in Chambers Street was the venue, a fucking fire-risk, if there ever was one.  There were probably about 100 people packed in on various steps and half-levels.  If there’s ever a fire in there it’ll be a death trap, the number of unnecessary tables, haphazardly dumped around the floor will see to that.  Still, it fits in with the jazz-wanker ethos, doesn’t it?  The smoking ban has fucked little dives like this one hardest of all.  Good.

Doug’s sporting a rather spiffing mini-mullett under his hat / disguise these days.  In fact, I was the only one to notice him making his way throught the crowd to the stage.  Given the fact everyone was there to see him, the aforementioned mullett, a Commodore’s Jacket, worn with bermuda shorts (Suspiciously stained?  Blame the lighting) and tied up Converse Chuck Taylor’s (Shorts?  In Edinburgh?  Must be a fucking Yank), it was a shock (I looked a proper prick when I started applauding, all by myself).  He also looked completely fucked, so his admission that he was came as no surprise.

It took him a while to get going as a result but, then again, the last time I saw him in Edinburgh (the first part of a double-header at the Cowgate), his slow start was a result of relative sobriety.  With Stanhope, it’s more a case of preparing oneself for the inevitable wind-up to the inevitable… how can I put this?  Dictionary time…

Explosion – a sudden, often vehement outburst: an explosion of rage.

That’ll do.  Doug feeds off his own understanding that a show often doesn’t go well, combining it with the nature of his material (the suicide stuff seemed like a catharsis at times) and his welcoming of hecklers, the latter being the propellant for his addled, but brilliant mind.

On a related note.  If you took a straw poll of my friends and colleagues about who was the funniest and / or sharpest person they know, most would probably say me (it’s true – and humility is the lowest form of conceit…)  However, I don’t have the skill-set to be a comedian (just being sharp and funny isn’t enough, by a long shot) and I don’t have the desire to be one.  But, as a fan of the truth, I admire them and enjoy them greatly and Doug is probably my favourite living one.  SO WHY DO THE HECKLERS BOTHER?

Why are they always the dopeyest oxygen thieves in the room?  Seriously, why do they try and rile the professional funny dude, knowing that – not only will he crush them, but the everyone else in the room will think they’re a cunt (which they are)?

The hecklers were painfully unfunny but the worst thing about them (and it always is) was the desperate need for attention, followed by the handshakes with Doug after the gig, as if they’d jousted with the comic and given as good as they got.  Deluded fucktards, I managed to hit one with a brick on the way out.

Anyway, part of Doug’s genius (there, I said it) is his ability to rise above the shambles and save the day with hilarious, poetic and clever material.  Comparing healthcare in the States to “changing the sheets halfway through a gang-bang” got the crowd going and any doubts were dispelled. Even a trans-atlantic Sean Rouse cameo, by telephone (not Rouse’s best, it must be said) couldn’t break the mommentum.

Journalists, women and entire sub-Saharan nations were given the treatment in the way nobody else can (and few even dare).  I won’t spoil it further, in case there’s a new CD or DVD (please?) in the works and, besides if you missed last night’s show (or any of the European tour), you don’t deserve to be in on the joke.

God bless Doug Stanhope, the only sane choice when Obama is assassinated.

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