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ALBUM REVIEW: Doug Stanhope

From Across the Street
Courtesy Stand Up! Records

Comedian Doug Stanhope is vicious, loud, likely inebriated, and rightly so. Perhaps the only thing that truly differentiates a novice comedian versus a veteran is that the true professional has given up on winning the crowd over. “It’s my way, or the (explicit deleted) highway,” so to speak. Stanhope opens his seventh CD From Across the Street, with an almost whimsical take on the anonymity in child porn, and then warns all those involved, including the listeners at home, that “not everyone’s gonna’ enjoy this show.”

The crowd, obviously aware of Stanhope’s career trajectory, claps and cheers through his material about ruining Comedy Central’s The Man Show as a co-host. They continue uproariously as he attacks any and all internet bloggers, citing how all their internet criticisms about him usually only garner two page views at best, including Stanhope’s own visits. “It’s all just a waste of time to be healthy, you’re going to die,” he reminds Americans, telling them that Jared from Subway is this nation’s health mascot. From comparing the lack of guns and the free healthcare in the Netherland’s to America’s weapons surplus and unaffordable medical care, it almost seems like Stanhope slips in the social commentary as an afterthought.

Promiscuous in nature, the comedy toes the line between rage and passion constantly, threatening to get the message across as long as the listener is prepared to stomach the packaging. In the Middle East, he slurs to his audience, “They cut off my clitoris,” because of tradition. “And tradition is the glue that holds families together.” The punchline, almost as scornful as the practice itself, is one that forcefully neglects politically correct attitudes. Perhaps Stanhope’s biggest lament in Across is the hypocrisy in the world that goes unchallenged.

When told by a woman that his sexual relationships with prostitutes are sad, he contests, “You just paid $20 to chuckle, whore! We’re all sad.” Indeed, after being reminded that politically correct attitudes in an incorrect world are as sardonic as they are outrageous, the view from across the street is indeed a sad one.

From Across the Street is out now on Stand Up! Records.