Man at His Best

Interview with Doug Stanhope

The recalcitrant Doug Stanhope goes on his first ever Asia stand-up tour. We talk to him about it.

BY Wayne Cheong | Feb 26, 2018 | Arts

Brian Hennigan

Magners International Comedy Festival returns in its fifth year. With two local comics (Fakkah Fuzz and Samuel See) and seven others from around the world, this four-day event will also play host to Doug Stanhope, who's known for his caustic humour and fearlessness. Twenty-eight years in a job is long-in-the-tooth for many but for Stanhope, he’s just making the best out of the hand he was dealt with.

Given that this is Stanhope’s first Asia comedy tour in his long-storied career, we talked to him, starting with the obvious:


Why did it take you this long to do an Asia tour?

Nobody asked until now.


Is it more difficult to be a comic in this day and age?

It's actually far easier to be a comedian nowadays. Finding people who think you're amusing is the hard part.


You’ve mentioned that you hate it when a comedian apologises for what they say on stage. While we’re not looking for apologies, was there anything during your 20-odd year career that you regretted saying or doing?

I apologise for skirting this question. It's my only regret.


You’re almost never seen without a cigarette and a drink. What’s your game plan, given how some Asian countries have laws against smoking in bars and drinking on the streets and such?

I am unaware of the laws of any given country on this tour. I'm actually unaware of which countries I'm actually touring. That isn't a snarky response like my last one. I just haven't been paying attention. I know I'm getting a ton of airline miles. I like that.


How do you think the crowd will take to you during your Asia leg?

Crowds? Nobody mentioned crowds. I hate crowds. That's why I agreed to play Asia. I assumed it would just be me. Goddamit. This interview is making me depressed. I need a cigarette and a drink. And a Xanax. And a Thai lady-boy.


Sorry about that. Uh, your “used-car salesman” attire on stage is endearing; how did you settle on that look?

I don't know when it was cemented but I'm assuming the tropical heat and my penchant for not showering could make me reconsider my choice in attire by the end of this tour. Let me guess... now you're going to tell me they don't have showers regardless.


Uh, we have showers. Throughout your career, your stand-up started from angry to… slightly-less angry. How does ageing and mellowing affect your comedy and outlook on life?

Great. Now you tell me I'm old and losing some of my edge. You're a serious fucking assho... ah, maybe you're not so bad. Maybe I'm just having a bad day.


Welp. Given the direction of this interview, we’ll end on a lighter note… how do you think you’d die?

Funny you’d ask. I've been checking every lump, tic and gurgling breath for clues since I woke up. But I'm guessing it'll be Bangkok.


Doug Stanhope, everybody!


Magners International Comedy Festival will run from 8-11 March at several locations. For more information and ticketing, go to