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Arts & Culture

Doug Stanhope comes to Improv Orlando

The comedian on ambushing pedophiles, why Hitler was a loser and why all the good stuff comes from the darkest places

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8 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 14 | Improv Orlando, 9101 International Drive | 407-480-5233 | theimprovorlando.com | $25

Nothing is off-limits to Doug Stanhope. Yeah, yeah, comedians are always saying that, but this comedian offers a piece about helping his mother, shall we say, shuffle off this mortal coil – and roasting her “Friars club-style” on the way out. In a 10-minute tour de force on his new album, Beer Hall Putsch, Stanhope presents this as a story of hope. After she could no longer take “being permanently waterboarded by 45 years of Kool Milds,” he agreed to help her end it, but couldn’t resist going for the laugh at the very end. “Ma, wait! They found a cure!”

Suicide seems to be a recurring motif in Stanhope’s career; his last album was titled Before Turning the Gun on Himself, and he came to wider public attention (having previously been known as a “comedian’s comedian”) as Eddie, a miserable bastard of a road dog planning to off himself on Louie, in which he gave Louis C.K. a good excuse to hold forth on the beauty and meaning of life. Yet Stanhope was cheery as hell when we talked to him about shit towns, ambushing pedophiles, why Hitler was a loser, why he’s more like Chris Rock than Bill Hicks, and why all the good stuff comes from the darkest places.

Orlando Weekly: You called your September-October run through the Midwest the “Shit Towns Tour.” Is the Midwest really that bad?
Doug Stanhope: Oh man, is it bleak. It’s like, don’t these people realize they can leave? Are they under house arrest? It’s like a $59 ticket on a Greyhound bus to get to somewhere nice. … It was a milestone in my career when I realized I never had to play in Dayton, Ohio, again.

And now you’re coming to Orlando. You were here last August, and you’re back.
I’m there, I think, every year. It’s rare I’d miss Orlando. I used to play the Backbooth all the time, and that was always a blast. [And] we’re doing the Improv this time.

You’re known for attacking the local idols (Mormonism in Utah, the Yankees in New York). Should we expect some Disney-bashing?
Nah, I think all the Disney-bashing’s been done.

Maybe the Holy Land Experience?

The Christian theme park?
Oh yeah, they told me about that. No, I don’t go out of my way to get annoyed by Christians; it’s far too easy to do without leaving the comfort of your own couch. No, I have no beef with Orlando. I have a good time there.

Earlier this year, you and your friend Andy Andrist were in Florida together – you confronted his molester in Port St. Lucie. Fun time?
Yeah, Paul Provenza, who directed The Aristocrats, is working with Andy to make a full-length documentary about it now.

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