Doug Stanhope - Before Turning The Gun On Himself
“Before Turning the Gun on Himself” is a refreshing return for Stanhope. You know that type of comedian who rants on his hatred for the napkin holder at that corporate coffee bar? Yeah Stanhope ain’t that guy. In this album he returns to the topics that made him great: abortion, politics, hookers, addiction, sex and drugs. The album answers questions you’ve been dying to have answered like; why this straight libertarian white man needs a big black cock in his mouth.
Not familiar with Stanhope? Remember when you were young and you hid porn under your mattress? Like when your erotica collection consisted of two Playboys, a Penthouse, a Oui, and two Betamax tapes filled with bootlegged Skinamax movies? Now imagine you found some wild German smut so disgusting you thought perhaps your family would disown you if they were to stumble upon it. Now imagine where you would hide it. That’s exactly where you would keep your Stanhope CD’s.
You always hear about comedians like Lenny Bruce or Sam Kinison and how they pushed the envelope, how they were so controversial, how you had to be there and how there will never be anyone like them. Stanhope is that guy now. Will you be offended? Yeah, if you get offended he will find a way to offend you.
Stanhope is reaching a seminal point in his career, and in his life. In the final track “Remember When I Used to Give a Shit/ Killer Closer,” Stanhope is struggling with the realization that the themes that echoed throughout his first albums are going to be the eternal themes that follow him throughout the rest of his career. And that in his striving for originality he is best when he does so within a very small number of subjects.
Stanhope started his career in Vegas doing dick jokes for free drinks. In many ways he’s still that guy. You can shave a mullet off, but when you’ve had a few beers, that metaphorical mullet comes back…and Stanhope has always had a few beers.
Just like your friend after a few beers, there is an openness, an honesty in his body of work that is rarely seen. He will influence generations of comedians. There is a quote who’s origin is in question but I believe came from Brian Eno that says: “The first Velvet Underground album only sold 10,000 copies, but everyone who bought it formed a band.” Stanhope may not be the most widely known comedian, but he may be the most influential comedian of our time. He will never be packaged for prime time. He will never host The Tonight Show. He will never release an album that is played by your family after Thanksgiving every year as a new tradition. He will shock. He will offend. He will make you feel naughty the way you haven’t since you were fifteen stealing your Dad’s beer.
Stanhope is at his best when he is huddled in his dark cave of hate, drunk off his ass with just enough Adderall in his system to keep him upright and ranting. So should you buy this album, hide it in your sock drawer. And the next time that guy at work sends you a video, you know the disgusting kind that you can’t stop watching even though you’ll feel a little sick after, introduce him to Stanhope. Then go see him live so you can tell young kids hey I was there when…