doug stanhope’s rainy day

I’ve lost four umbrellas in the past six weeks.

It usually happens when I’m either drunk, or distracted by something else, or both. But I need to stop losing them, because it was a really pissy day yesterday – both literally and figuratively.

For a start, it was my first proper day back at work, enrolling new students and hoping that they will be clever and nice and independent-minded, and all the things you hope for in a new trainee philosopher. I met very few of the class I’ll teach, but the ones I met seem pretty cool. Still, I had to get up in the morning, and I’ve never really enjoyed that, to be honest.

And after work, I went to see Doug Stanhope at the Leicester Square theatre.

Now, Stanhope is one of the most brilliant stand-up comedians working in the world today. I saw him this time last year, and he was mind-blowing. His stuff about Sarah Palin back then was inspired and original and truly, truly filthy, as was a closing routine about the realities of sex and how intimate it really is. He was angry and brilliant and I laughed harder and more honestly than I had for a while.

This year, he’s…he’s just got less in the tank. He acknowledged it, and he seemed to be trying to build a show around having very little left to say and little faith in his ability to say it. But some of his new stuff misfired a little and he repeated most of the sex stuff word-for-word.

Perhaps the earlier time slot didn’t help him; 7.30pm is a tough time of day to be drunk and angry and filthy.

Still; a genius that isn’t firing on all cylinders is still a genius, and he still made points that were more witty and original than most of what I’ve seen in the entire Edinburgh festival. Perhaps he was just having a bad day too; he’s certainly having a tough tour.

It’s probably also worth bearing in mind that in the last few weeks I’ve also seen Stewart Lee, Rhod Gilbert and Daniel Kitson twice. It’s hard to match that, even on a good day.

Guess it was just a bad day all round. Wish I still had one of those umbrellas.

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1 Comment

  1. I was there. First time seeing him live. Was disappointed. I hope he gets back up to his previous levels so I can experience it in the flesh. Still, the ‘blort’ bit was pretty funny.


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