Doug Stanhope – Deadbeat Hero

Title: Doug Stanhope – Deadbeat Hero
Rating: 4/5
Genre: Comedy (Stand-Up)
Starring: Doug Stanhope

Through the black and white video we're slowly taken from the city lights to the back alleys of whatever US City this really is; a brief dictionary definition of the meaning of the word “Liberty,” a major point to be addressed in correlation to how little of it anyone really has, is briefly flashed up before descending us into the darkness. Past the dumpster we follow our hero as he grabs himself another beer, finishes his cigarette and emerges on the stage of a small, underground, smoke filled venue. Between the dishevelled look on his face and the dirtied overcoat you might have mistaken him for a homeless guy looking for warmth, and anyone would have thought from the appearance of the place that the prohibition had never ended, and maybe in Doug's eyes it never really had. Sometimes disclaimers appear in reviews, “not for the easily offended,” when dealing with such crass subject matter. Doug Stanhope's work probably should go one step further: “not for the offendable.” In the opening moments he describes the show as something of a battle; not everyone in the crowd is gonna make it to the end. I'd suggest you take the advice.

In fact, even calling it comedy at times feels a little inaccurate. He doesn't go up, put on a smile and tell a few jokes; no, he drinks his beer and starts his long winded ranting about fucked up the world is; how we've deluded ourselves and closed our eyes and covered our ears to the other side of things. That he's naturally amusing to listen to is just a delightful coincidence, else he'd probably just be that depressed drunk slumped at at the bar ranting at anyone who'll listen; the kind of guy you actively avoid in the fear that you'll otherwise become trapped in a conversation with him. He never feels under the delusion that his rants are anything but his opinion, but don't you go expecting him to sugar coat anything. He doesn't just tackle subjects others would consider avoiding, he dives into them and emerges triumphant with a rape joke. Liberty is literally defined as the state of being free from government restrictions, and in the middle of a country that prides itself on this value, as he steadily makes his case that the US might have some of the least liberty in the world; well it's a bitter pill to swallow. It's all rather lucky that he words it in such an amusing manner.


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