On your web site lies the phrase, "I hate most everything I've ever done in comedy..." Explain. Does this include even the material on your CDs?
Yes, but "hate" is used very generically. I hate listening to myself. I hate my voice and being that I did any given piece of material enough, it's obviously tired to me.
Why did you keep your mullet for so long? This is an important political question. Were you living somewhere where it was considered a 'hip' haircut? When and why did you finally get rid of it?
I'd like to tell you that I have a keen memory of the history of my hair but I never really thought about it. I really blame any of the women I was with during those years. It was there job to put a stop to it. I'll pass the buck on this one.
I'm pretty sure that a major reason for legislation against drug use, driving without a seatbelt, motorcycling without a helmet, etc. is that all of these activities - if legalized - are expected to increase the incidence and insured costs of accidents. In other words, it's not so much a matter of "We the government want to control your lives" as "The insurance companies are afraid that they won't be able to cover the expected increase in accidents, and would be likely to raise rates for everybody if a bunch of druggies started riding motorcycles without helmets." Granted, this gets us into deeper issues about the creepy business practices of insurance companies, but I was wondering if you've come across any such arguments in your reading and, if so, if you've considered what could be done about it from a legislative (or executive!) standpoint.
Whether the reasoning for these laws is insurance costs, more opportunities for random taxation through traffic stops, curbing lost production or any other justification that could be offered, the bottom line is that it isn't governments place. You own your body. No legislation should infringe on that.
How exactly would you define a "responsible drug user"? Have you managed to avoid addiction for the most part? If not, do you ever fear that you may be digging your grave before your time? (I'm mainly referring to your alcoholism here, if it is in fact as pronounced as your current live act would suggest)
The word addiction is used far too liberally in our society and I shy away from it. If I have any addiction, it would be nicotine. I would say alcohol is more of a compulsive habit for me. I have used different narcotics for roughly 20 years and I have always used them socially, sporadically and usually sparingly. I use cocaine occasionally and sometimes medicinally - before a third show Saturday, a bump of coke can make the difference between a strong performance and just phoning it in - and I've never developed any type of habit, never craved it the next day. I will use hallucenogens a few times a year as well, always in a safe environment.
So far as an "early grave", I'm more concerned with quality of life. No sense in having a mint condition classic car if you're afraid to take it out of the garage. I look as sadly at people awash in hand-sanitizer and surgical maks in elevators as they might see me when I'm pouring booze down my head on stage.
Where did the current rash of inebriated-and-proud comedians come from? It seems like every stand-up comic you've gathered for The Unbookables devotes quite a bit of stage time to discussing their drunken and drugged antics. Did you all influence each other's behavior and acts, or did you fall together as a result of your similar acts and outlooks on life?
The question should be "Where did the rest of those type comics go?". Where's all the stories of rock n roll bands throwing televisions out of hotel windows? Where's the Sam Kinisons, the reckless abandon, the revolt against structure? I don't see it as a "current rash" of these comics but an outpost of the last of that breed.
Is your act at this point mostly planned in advance, or do you do a lot of ad libbing?
I adlib where I can but I always have planned material to fall back on.
You definitely have developed into the sort of comic whose ideas can be considered not just controversial but actually *important*. Have other politically-oriented comedians helped shape your current outlook, or has it just developed over a lifetime of being fucked with by those in charge?
At some point in my career I came across the book "Lies My Teacher Told Me" by James Loewen and "You Are Being Lied To" by Russ Kick. That sent my spiralling into all sorts of other reading on different subjects and probably sucked out the last of my youth. Knowledge and awareness can really fuck up the day of a long-haired dick joke salesman just trying to get some pussy. But it gives you something to do when you're old and ugly.
I know you wound up self-publishing your new book. What sorts of agents and publishers had you pitched it to, and what kind of feedback did they give you?
I'd talked with Richard Metzger at disinfo.com and we had a deal about to go when he left the company. At that point I decided it'd be easier to just self-publish. I still think it's the funniest stuff I've written but it's old and wasn't going to by anywhere near my highest priority. I'm just happy it's out there.
What are you most proud of in your life?
The collection of friends I have. No doubt a circle of some of the funniest and most interesting people on Earth.
What is the stupidest thing you've ever done?
I still regret the circumstances surrounding me leaving my wife. It needed to be done but I handled it like a shithead. Ask me again in 2009 and I might say "running for president".
Your MySpace page lists you as "single," yet your web site discusses a young woman named "Bingo." Who is this "Bingo" and can we expect wedding bells in the future? And then lots of little kids because you love little kids?
Bingo is the bald, crazy, brilliant & wonderful girl that I live with. We don't have an appropriate title - "girlfriend" seems so bland. But there will be no babies. I had a vasectomy and I hate children. We got a puppy instead.
Is this whole Ireland "women are too ugly to rape" rigmarole the most trouble you've ever gotten yourself into on stage? If not, can you give us any other good stories?
By no means the most trouble but the best example of how you can spin and non-event into shitloads of press. I'm sure i have better stories but none are springing to mind. having the ticket booth girl in Austin shave my balls on stage with a Bic razor while I told witty anecdotes is probably the one that gets brought up the most often. It's been a weird life.
Do you see yourself ever tiring of the endless touring? Or are you constantly finding new exciting things about the cities you play?
I've been tired of it for years. But I haven't found an easy alternative that I would like better.
What would constitute 'complete happiness' to Doug Stanhope (you)?
Wanting more. Having your cake or eating your cake are fine. Not even wanting cake is where you get fucked.
In all seriousness, what would you do if something insane happened and you actually WERE elected President? Do you think you could pull it off? Would you be willing to devote all your time to politics as you would be expected to? And if you actually do have political ambitions, would you consider running for a local office and trying to work your way up?
Sure, I could pull it off. And the time I'd devote would be in reducing and simplifying federal government to where it should be. A government so simple that even I could run it. Hows that for a slogan? As far as political aspirations down the road, I couldn't answer. Right now I'm concentrating on doing two shows tonight in Beaumont, Texas. They hate me in Beaumont. We'll worry about the rest of my life once I get the hell outta here.
"Nationalism does nothing but teach you to hate people you've never met. All of a sudden you take pride in accomplishments you had no part in whatsoever. If you're American you'll go, 'Fuck the French. If we hadn't saved their asses in World War II, they'd be speaking German right now.' And you go, 'Oh, was that us?' Was that me and you, Tommy? We saved the French? Jesus. I know I blacked out a little after that fourth shot of Jägermeister last night, but I don't remember... I know we were going through the Wendy's drive-thru to get one of them 'Freshetta' sandwiches that looked so alluring on the commercial, but then we ordered it and realized we had no money, and we had to ditch out before the second window, and those douchebags in line behind us with the bass music probably got our order and we laughed about that. But I don't remember saving the French at all. I went through the last ten calls on my cell phone and there's nothing from the French, looking for muscle on a project. I checked my pants; there's no mud stains on the knees from when we were garroting Krauts in the trenches at Verdun. I think *we* didn't do anything but watch sports bloopers while we got hammered. I think *we* should shut the fuck up."
There's also a fucking fantastic bit he does about calling the number on the anti-abortion flyer that was left on his car, complete with a picture of an aborted fetus, but he takes the *more* conservative stance and when he calls to complain, he says, "How dare you, sir! This is child pornography!"
Or click here for more comedic stylings from Mark Prindle, the Mickey Rooney of Online Record Reviewing