"Brutal" is an adjective usually reserved for death metal bands and horror movies, but thanks to the bitter, trashy, and very funny Doug Stanhope, it was a descriptor found stickered across CDs and DVDs in the comedy section. Born and raised in Worcester, Massachusetts, Stanhope originally moved to L.A. for his big break, but his career didn't take off until he gave up on California and moved to Las Vegas in 1990. In 1997, he was selling his ACID Bootleg album at shows; a year later he released his official debut, Great White Stanhope, on the Uproar label.
The appropriately titled Sicko followed in 1999 with a picture of a "marital aid" on the cover, then Something to Take the Edge Off landed in 2000 courtesy of the Stand Up label. By then he had earned a loyal following thanks to constant touring plus appearances on Howard Stern's radio show, so in 2001 it was no surprise when he was hired by the Comedy Central cable network for his first television special. In 2002, he released Die Laughing and was named "One of the Top Ten Comedians to Watch" by Variety magazine. Hosting numerous volumes of the Girls Gone Wild adult video series, plus co-hosting the television show The Man Show with his friend Joe Rogan helped pay the bills, but standup was still Stanhope's main interest, and he got back to it with the 2004 CD/DVD set Deadbeat Hero.
After running as a Libertarian candidate for President of the United States in 2008 -- Stanhope lost to that year's Democratic candidate Barack Obama in what was a landslide -- he released Live from Cape Fear in 2009. Recorded at a European tour stop in Norway, Oslo: Burning the Bridge to Nowhere followed in 2011. In 2012, he hit the road with Doug Stanhope's Big Stink Comedy Tour and released Before Turning the Gun on Himself..., a recording of his Showtime cable television network special. Named after a failed coup attempt by Adolph Hitler in the '20s that involved trying to incite a group of imbibers, Beer Hall Putsch followed in 2013. Recorded at Dante's in Portland, Oregon, it premiered on Netflix, and appeared later in the year on video and audio formats.
His next release wasn't standup but rather a book that paid tribute to the colorful life of his mother, who died in 2008. Digging Up Mother: A Love Story was published by Da Capo Press in the spring of 2016. He followed it that fall with the standup special No Place Like Home, which had been recorded at the Bisbee Royale in Bisbee, Arizona the previous November. ~ David Jeffries