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Doug Stanhope

‘All you need to succeed in comedy, is a very deep well of hatred.’ This is what Doug Stanhope answers when asked about comedy classes and courses. There are a few things that he hates to confirm his statement. It is these things that have made him popular and at times, controversial.

If I have to start from somewhere, I would put nationalism first on the list. Stanhope has talked about it in shows, but he devoted a long bit on No Refunds, recorded at the Gotham Comedy Club in New York City in 2007.

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.

Doug Stanhope on Nationalism

While I have watched all his shows, at least the ones you can find online, I have noticed that he frequently talks about alcohol. He always refers to it as well as substances. Additionally, he has always expressed his dislike and hate about Alcoholic Anonymous. His problem with AA and similar organizations go way back to his childhood years. It was back then when his mother used to drag him to AA meetings, where Doug had to sit on the back rows and listen to the real stories of members. His mother really believed on the benefits of these meetings and was obsessed. She even lost her job several times, due to her overinvolvement with the group.

However, Stanhope didn’t fall for any of it. Where other people heard personal life stories, Doug was just amusing himself with, as he described them, “stories of nihilism and punk rock”. In his shows, he has always criticized AA and has compared them to scientology, referring to them as a cult.

The famous comedian has referred many times in interviews to the relationship with his mother. She was the one who encouraged him to get into comedy, when he was on his early 20s. Stanhope says that she was the only one to believe in him, when no-one else did. He describes with complete honesty how, after watching her struggle for many years with emphysema, in 2016 he helped her commit suicide. He has publicly shared this story in his memoir, Digging up Mother: A Love Story (2016).

Finally, Doug Stanhope is today one of the most famous and respected comedians. He built his reputation by pushing boundaries and talking on his shows for topics like abortion, pedophilia and animal abuse. But these are only some of the many topics he has attacked over the years. Politics and religion have not escaped. He has always been brave to touch themes that most wouldn’t. He is always honest, uncensored and rough on his speech. His fans have followed him in some of the big venues, but he prefers smaller venues, where he feels more comfortable. He has more than 15 specials and has published 4 books.

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