Doug Stanhope unleashes comedy with no apologies

Tue Feb 14, 2012 3:05pm EST
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By Piya Sinha-Roy

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Comedian Doug Stanhope makes no apologies for his uninhibited, controversial dark comedy, and with fans and friends like Ricky Gervais and Louis C.K., why should he?

The stand-up comedian, who had a busy 2011 with a 25-date run of shows in London and a role on FX comedy show "Louie," is releasing a digital album of live stand-up titled "Before Turning The Gun On Himself," on March 6 through Roadrunner, ahead of his upcoming tour around the United Kingdom.

With sketches titled "Dr. Drew is to Medicine what David Blaine Is To Science" and "Keynesian Economic Theory As Applied To Private-Sector Independent Contracting," Stanhope's comedy draws from current affairs and daily observations.

For most comedians dealing in dark, dirty, boozy comedy, parents might not be the most obvious audience, but for Stanhope, it was his late mother Bonnie Kirk who was his biggest fan. She died in October 2008.

"My mother was always the one with the dark, really filthy sense of humor. She was a vulgar woman. She used to tell me to do comedy before I even tried it. She was always up for any gag," said Stanhope, laughing.

The Worcester, Massachusetts native, whose live material is focused around current affairs in American politics and society, has often found himself in hot water with his audience for controversial jokes on subjects ranging from genocide, rape, abortion and addictions. But he is unapologetic for the content.

"It makes me tremblingly angry when (others) apologize, like Tracy Morgan and even Michael Richards ... when other people apologize, it's nothing, it's fake," said Stanhope.

Morgan recently found himself in hot water over comments many interpreted as anti-gay, and in 2006, Richards made a racial slur onstage that caused outrage.   Continued...