Burning the Bridge to Nowhere

Doug Stanhope Burning the Bridge to Nowhere
Doug Stanhope does not give a fuck what you think. There’s no sugar with his pill. No lubricant with his dildo. Nothing is sacred during his acerbic assaults on the state of the modern world and all myths must be destroyed, however positive they may seem.

I think it goes without saying that his comedy is not for the easily offended, and if you consider porn and drugs to be society’s sickness you probably won’t like him. He may even make you physically ill. If this sounds like you, you can stop reading this now and save yourself an aneurysm.

But he isn’t provocative for the sake of it (a criticism that could easily be leveled at Frankie Boyle for example). There is a ruthless logic at work, to the point where anyone with a questioning intelligence will find it hard to disagree with him – even when he’s advocating fun with pedophiles, pissed and leering on stage, or vehemently blaming people that have children for climate change – the arguments are watertight. Even the most liberal-minded comedy-lovers may flinch, but his rants make sense, and expose us for our own hypocrisy as a society. And I, for one, find that shit hilarious.

No Refunds is my favourite. The first time I watched it I was pissing myself for hours afterwards. It’s anger and energy is infectious. It came as quite a shock, as I had previously only seen his rather downbeat contributions to Charlie Brooker’s Newswipe. Although they were intelligent and witty they didn’t quite prepare me for the genius of his on-stage performances, which have been compared (incorrectly in my view) to those of Bill Hicks. Anyway, don’t take my word for it, watch this shit:

I was ecstatic when I heard Doug had a new DVD out. But Burning the Bridge to Nowhere is an odd one. Filmed in Oslo with only 36 hours notice, you can see why both the time constraints and the language barrier may have contributed to the slightly stilted delivery of his new material. Maybe it was the lack of alcohol or maybe he was just pissed off – his comic timing doesn’t seem to be up to his usual standard. I don’t want to seem overly-critical though as some of it is really good (parts of it are up there with No Refunds) and he has set himself a very high bar with previous shows. What I would say, is that if you like Stanhope, watch it, and if you don’t yet, watch the others first – you’ll be more forgiving of the bits of it that don’t work quite so well.

Buy it from Amazon



  1. nice succinct post, like it alot. ahhhh.. stanhope. legend.

  2. Fair dos! I watched a clip filmed by an audience member at the Edinburgh fringe festival recently and he had been up all night, taking copious amounts of substances by the sound of it. It was a fairly difficult watch, not to mention the fact I was trying to introduce one of my “straight” friends to him, but I love him nonetheless! We need people like Stanhope.

    I often wish I could articulate myself even half as well as he does, regarding the issues he raises. Nobody else is doing it and whatever you may think of him, the guy stands strong in my view, tackling some of the most “close to bone” topics I have heard in comedy to date. Legend!

  3. Stanhope’s a wreckhead and it comes with the territory… it’s not like we’d ever get so fucked we couldn’t perform properly now is it!? the fact is he delivers genius even when he can hardly stand. On Burning the Bridge to Nowhere I don’t think he’s pissed enough! I still reckon No Refunds shows him at his best, on just the right cocktail of mind-altering substances, although I’m yet to see Deadbeat Hero…

  4. Only just read this and you expressed the same feelings as me about the new DVD. I am afraid he may have lost a little of his bite, and I hope it is due to venue and audience outside his comfort zone, not life taking its toll. Either way it still has it’s moments… I agree that no refunds is by far the best, though I would like to check out more of his audio stuff too…

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