You know how they always say if you fall off a horse you should just get right back on it? I have always thought that to be horrible advice. Nobody ever says if you get struck by lightning you should continue going outdoors during a thunderstorm. Yet here I go again, walking blindly into the dark clouds.
Last year I wrote a review of Doug Stanhope’s Showtime special, Before Turning the Gun on Himself. I decided to turn it into a very special review. My idea was to review other people watching the special. It went horribly wrong. I did not mind that my editors were not impressed; Editors rarely are. But when Stanhope called me out on Twitter, I realized that next time I had the chance to review him I would do a better job.
This brings us to tonight and Stanhope’s latest release, Beer Hall Putsch, available now on Netflix. I watched this one all by myself. There are no reactions to other people’s reactions. Just a guy with a laptop, six beers, ten cigarettes, and a love of comedy. And Doug Stanhope. And probably an editor. And some lightning.
Beer Hall Putsch opens with Stanhope discussing the perfect comedy venue on his podcast. “I wish all comedy specials were filmed in 75-seaters, like old Lenny Bruce,” Stanhope laments. “Smokey rooms, low ceilings.”
While some may see this as a throwaway cold open, I see it as what makes Stanhope so fucking special. His appreciation of the craft and its history is nothing short of impressive.
These traits are front and center throughout Beer Hall Putsch. Yet Stanhope takes it to another level. Not only does he own the stage, he owns himself on stage. Discussing his love of drinking, Stanhope unabashedly and hilariously mocks the convention of sobriety as the norm. He plays by his own rules while simultaneously pointing out how your rules are bullshit.
While most people are “living life,” Stanhope is doing it right. He doesn’t need a vacation. He is ON VACATION! No kids, nice lady, house paid for, no caner, alcohol-based interesting conversations in airport bars, and possibly killed then robbed his mother. That’s living folks!
Twenty-three years into his comedy career, Stanhope is at the top of his game with Beer Hall Putsch. Every minute is laugh-out-loud funny; The special is raw and honest and comedically perfect. New comics always look at the old school guys like Carlin and Pryor for inspiration, and there is nothing wrong with that. But I would recommend they check out Stanhope as well.
The man is on fire, and he could care less that I just said so, which should make you appreciate Stanhope even more.