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Case Number 05216: Small Claims Court

Buy Doug Stanhope: Deadbeat Hero at Amazon

Doug Stanhope: Deadbeat Hero

Shout! Factory // 2004 // 95 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // September 21st, 2004

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All Rise...

Judge David Johnson finds comics to be a generally cynical bunch.

The Charge

That guy from that show.

The Case

Doug Stanhope was the co-host of the relentlessly unfunny The Man Show on Comedy Central. I believe the network has finally issued a permanent DNR with respect to that unfunny mess, but it gasped for air long enough to make a minor cable celebrity out of Stanhope.

But before his stint playing second fiddle to Joe Rogan and harassing dwarfs, Stanhope was a coarse, brutal, no-holds-barred comedian who was known for his penchant for saying, well, anything he wanted.

Shout! Factory, a studio that should be admired for consistently issuing quality discs showcasing stand-up talent, offers us a solid helping of drunken ranting, performed with fiery abandon by Stanhope.

The show runs just past an hour, and from the moment Stanhope takes the stage to the end, he just unleashes. I've seen a lot of comics who hold nothing sacred, but Stanhope lays into targets one would think would be exempt from mockery. Like conjoined twins. Or police officers. Or even American troops.

The audience ate it up, but there were certainly some shocked gasps embedded in the reaction. Stanhope's routine is pretty much an amalgam of boundary-pushing, gosh-did-he-say-that observations. I'm pretty sure the guy was drunk for the whole thing—and he even had a hilarious bit about that.

Standing up there in his brown overcoat, cradling a beer, nursing a cigarette from time to time, Stanhope could have been mistaken for a cynical homeless guy. But that's part of his allure, I think—that everyman quality (which probably helped land him The Man Show gig). Rather, that outraged everyman quality. Know this, though—this is not a family comic. This is a bar comic, who may need to be inebriated to say the things he says.

Which is all well and good; but the disc would hardly be worth your nickel if the guy didn't satisfactorily perform his primary task, making you laugh. There is wicked humor behind Stanhope's routine, and there's no denying the guy is funny—if taken in context with his act.

Even within the genre of raw and raunchy comedy, Stanhope is blistering. And he's pretty funny. While not necessarily thought-provoking (wishing that a jerk soldier who was mean to him in a bar gets his head blown off doesn't say anything substantive), Stanhope's stuff is provocative.

If that kind of comedy is what you enjoy, then I confidently recommend this disc to you. All others beware: this guy's verbal assault is an earful.

Technically, the disc is solid. This feature (full-frame, but sharp nonetheless) is, interestingly, presented in black and white, which offers a nice atmosphere to complement Stanhope's diatribes. The 2.0 audio does what it has to do.

Bonuses offer even more Stanhope, with a series of "street rants" (Stanhope walking around a city street, riffing); "Behind the Mullet," a funny look back at Stanhope's early sets, complete with his God-forsaken mullets; and a screen-saver.

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Scales of Justice

Judgment: 88

Perp Profile

Studio: Shout! Factory
Video Formats:
• Full Frame
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
• None
Running Time: 95 Minutes
Release Year: 2004
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
• Comedy
• Performance

Distinguishing Marks

• Street Rants
• Behind the Mullet
• Screen Saver


• Official Site

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