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43 of 47 people found the following review helpful
on August 23, 2004
Format: DVD
For those of you have never heard Doug Stanhope perform his material, there are two things you need to know: No. 1, Stanhope is a comic genuis. I'll tell why in a minute. He's also likely to offend just about everybody in the audience at one time or another. That said, I would recommend this DVD to anybody in the country who is into comedy, politics or the human condition.

On "Deadbeat Hero," Stanhope tackles all of the most relevant and controversial issues of our times: Abortion, "liberty," war, whether blindly supporting the troops is a good thing, the drug war, the Alabama-Mississippi ban on dildos and other sex toys, gay marriage and priest molestations. More bizarre topics include two-head babies, his suicidal cat-lady mother, an erotic story about a woman with 44 holes instead of the standard three, and the "rules of war." Stanhope also relates the time he performed for the Benefit for Fallen Officers, argues whether democracy is a flawed theorty and then provides a convincing argument as to why this is far from being a free country.

That's an awful lot of issues to deal with in one comic routine. In fact, it's mind-staggering. But Stanhope does it with the ease of rapping with friends while drinking a beer. To make that type of material consistently funny is next to impossible.

As an entertainment writer, I have known Stanhope since 1995. He was just reaching the point where his three-year journey living in his car while traveling from gig to gig was coming to an end.

The first time I saw him, I was laughing so hard my stomach began to hurt and I had trouble catching my breath. Not just once either. Many times. He wore a $10 suit and pants outfit that he bought earlier in the day at the Salvation Army.

I have seen Stanhope live numerous times since then. More than a dozen, I would guess.

What makes Stanhope truly a comic genius is that he is not afraid to try new things. In fact, the person he is forces him to write new material. Most comedians, even very good ones, will keep at least 15-30 minutes of material that works in their act for years. It's very difficult to write a 45-minute routine of solid material. Heck, it's hard to write for five minutes. Did I mention that Stanhope's "Deadbeat Hero" is a staggering 95 minutes?? And there's nary a slow spot in the act. It goes very quickly.

When I first saw Stanhope, he was mainly an auto-biographical comedian. He lived a very non-mainstream type of life that provided much food for fodder when it came to writing material. And he has always been capable of writing even bad experiences in a funny way. And his delivery, slow, yet confident with a baby-boy face that used to make some of his more "shocking" jokes go over. His baby-face has grown a little harder though over the years.

And now Stanhope has an entirely new act. There isn't one joke or bit from the first time I saw him. And his early 1995-96 routines were filled with brilliant bits. Any comedian who wants to see how to put together a routine on a difficult subject, or any fan of comedy, needs to listen to Stanhope's five- to seven-minute bit about the tragic flight of (Cant' remember plane's number) back east about seven or eight years ago. Stanhope still considers it his favorite bit.

But he's let them all go as he constantly works on improving and changing his act. That's also why I've seen Doug suck a few times on stage too. When you try new material, some of it's going to bomb no matter how good you are. Michael Jordan missed wide open jump shots. It happens.

But therein lies Stanhope's genius. A self-called road warrior, Stanhope prides himself in being one of the best stand-up comedians in the country. He's not interested in being on TV other than it pays well, he gets more recognition which in turns means he gets a little more when performs live. Don't ask him if he's "made it" because he was on "The Man Show." The way he sees it, he made it years ago.

In his early years, most of his material, exceptions being the TWA bit, was auto-biographical. He spoke of having sex with transvestite midget hookers and other things that escape me at the moment.

On "Deadbeat Hero," Stanhope tackles the most difficult issues: What society is dealing with now. I never cease to be amazed at how he comes up with such brilliant and funny comments about recent events. Regardless of what you may think of his material, and some of you will be offended, the man needs to be respected for his willingness to constantly evolve and try something new. He speaks from his heart. I know for a fact that 90 percent of what he tells you on stage about himself is basically true.

"Deadbeat Hero" is a relevant DVD in much the same way that Michael Moore's "Fahrenheit 9/11" is. Stanhope has well-thought out points and he expresses them beautifully.

I laughed very hard at times watching this DVD and at other times I just listened and said, "Yes, Doug, you're so right!" So in some ways, it's not as consistently funny as some of his older auto-biographical material.

But it's so much more important. This is a socially relevant DVD (it also comes with a free CD of the concert) that all teens and adults should see. Any fan of comedy must see Stanhope, who is simply at his best here.

And the cinematography gives it an underground feel, which is appropriate since the concert was filmed at the Comedy Underground in Seattle.

The CD also includes five street rants by Stanhope backed by his buddy Banjo Randy. Very funny and he makes solid points.

And as if Stanhope doesn't reveal enough of his true self, both "good" and "bad," during his routines, he includes an extra feature called "Behind the Mullet." When I met him, he had a mullet. Of course, so did I.

This shows about five to 10 minutes of Stanhope when he was young, as young as 17, until about 26 or 27. It's amazing to watch the young Stanhope and see that even then, he possessed his unique way of talking to people and making them smile, understand or walk out in rage.

This is an absolute must-have for anyone who watches comedy on DVD or listens to it on CD.

I would compare him to Lenny Bruce or Bill Hicks, but that wouldn't be fare to Bruce, Hicks or Stanhope. He's good enough that he's his own man. And some day some other young comic will unfairly be compared to Stanhope.

In the meantime, buy this DVD. A true must-have.

Paylancer

P.S. There's an abortion bit in here that will make most people cringe and think, "Did he really say that?" Yes, he did, because he's the Great White Stanhope
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on February 8, 2007
Format: DVD
If you've only seen Doug Stanhope on "The Man Show" or slanging "Girls Gone Wild" videos, you may be reluctant to see his stand-up comedy. That's how I felt until I actually heard his material. Stanhope is one of the best working comics today. His material is very well thought-out and perfectly delivered. He works blue, period. With that said, this DVD or any of his CDs are not for the easily offended.

I like how this release is very stripped down and it feels like you are in the smoky and cramped comedy club. It's shot in black and white which further adds to the documentary type of feel it has. His performance is just incredible. You soon realize you're watching a veteran professional comic in his element and completely comfortable on stage. His material is hilarious as well as varied. On one end of the spectrum he can do [...] jokes but on the polar opposite end, he speaks philosophically.

As his set progresses, and as he gets more intoxicated, it's similar to watching a performance art piece. His delivery almost becomes stream of consciousness and he riffs mercilessly on the government, the war, human relations and everything in between.

If you appreciate stand-up as an artform, this is mandatory viewing. I would rank Stanhope with the likes of Dave Attell and Bill Hicks.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on September 6, 2013
Format: Amazon Instant Video
I had only heard of him -- he is the favorite comic of a dear, late friend of mine who was probably both the smartest and the biggest smart-a** I have ever known -- so, while looking for something to watch the other night, I put this on. Stanhope is brilliant -- the way he sees right through so much of the worlds BS & then makes fun of it is remarkable. Truly a great and very under-appriciated man.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on April 28, 2013
Format: Amazon Instant Video
Doug Stanhope is one of the best most brilliant stand-up comics out there, and this a great example of his brilliance. HE IS NOT FOR EVERYONE. If you're a fan of "clean" comedy, do not even think of watching this... however if your mind is OPEN, then you must watch. It's raunchy, it's sick, but it is above all brilliant. The delivery, the way he works through the topics... brilliant. Doug Stanhope will go down as one of the greatest stand-ups there has ever been and it's for a reason.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on August 12, 2013
Format: Amazon Instant VideoVerified Purchase
The man says what he thinks, on stage, in front of hundreds of people, and its funny, and he doesn't hold back. In the form of an alcoholic, chain-smoking guy who doesn't care about himself or anybody else, comes a man whose intelligence and wit are, when he is at his best, unparalleled.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on January 10, 2014
Format: Amazon Instant Video
If you don't know Stanhope, or if you do, this is probably one of his best standups. I watched this maybe 10 times and every time I laugh more. Go for it.
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VINE VOICEon February 23, 2012
Format: DVD
Doug Stanhope is not only a great stand-up comic, but one with a rare characteristic of great stand-up comics: he's still alive. Stanhope doesn't often grace lists of great stand-up comedians simply because (and he'll be the first to admit) his act is not for everybody. It's not that his technique, persona, or delivery is any different from more celebrated comedians; it's his material. Stanhope is fearless, giving controversial opinions on any controversial subjects. If you're looking for political correctness, go elsewhere. This is, after all, a man who published a book entitled Fun With Pedophiles: The Best of Baiting. His material is not for the easily offended.

While I wouldn't label Stanhope "underground," he's not exactly "mainstream." Most stand-up performances are performed in theaters; on a stage, in front of a couple thousand people. Deadbeat Hero, released in 2004, was shot in black & white in a small club in front of a small group of people. Even his 2007 special (arguably his most well-known), No Refunds, which premiered on Showtime and can be streamed on Netflix, shows him in a small venue in front of a small crowd. Dressed like he just rolled out of bed, Stanhope chain-smokes and drinks throughout both performances. In this one, Stanhope riffs on cops, Siamese twins, abortion, the idea of liberty and freedom in America, babies, and supporting the troops, among other things. These topics are nothing new to the avid stand-up fan, but Stanhope brings a refreshing unique and refreshingly offensive take to all of them. When discussing a woman who complained about him being drunk at a previous show, Stanhope muses "why does it matter? I'm not driving a school bus. I'm a comic. It's like getting a lap dance and complaining your stripper is a Communist."

There's nothing fake about Stanhope's persona. Even when he tells the craziest story, you have no doubt that it actually happened to him. It's not remarkable that Stanhope is genuinely funny. What's remarkable is that beneath these stuttering, drunken ramblings he's not just hilarious and provocative, but insightful. Hearing genuine insight come from the mouths of George Carlin and Bill Hicks wasn't too surprising, but you wouldn't immediately guess that underneath Stanhope's hard-living lifestyle and physical appearance lurks a keen intelligence. This intelligence (the second most important component of comedy, besides...comedy) coupled with his inability to hold back the most provocative topics make him a comedic force to be reckoned with.

Deadbeat Hero is certainly low-budget and less technically impressive than the average stand-up gig, but how technically stunning does a video of a man speaking need to be? In 75 minutes, there's not a dull moment. I have seen two of his specials and his twenty-minute segment on "Comedy Central Presents," but I eagerly anticipate what else he has in store. For all I know, Deadbeat Hero may not be his magnum opus, but it's certainly a worthwhile introduction to his style and material. While it may take time for you to completely warm to him, I believe Doug Stanhope may be the most undervalued, unique comic working today.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on October 19, 2014
Format: Amazon Instant Video
Sad, like watching a loquacious drunk ramble on a New York City street corner. He argues for the right to destroy himself, which is fine, but he does not do a very funny job of it. It is like an old Andy Warhol film, where you watch the freaks and addicts put through their paces, knowing how it will all end. It is fine if you want to drink and do drugs, and this is your "freedom", but at least be humorous and insightful.
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on November 23, 2014
Format: Amazon Instant Video
Best comedian of our time-EXTREMELY underrated--but if you have a thin sense of humor & really hate him---hope you write all about it on Amazon, cuz that stuph is HILARIOUS!! This man should be seen as a modern prophet-he is a GENIUS. (Like Phillip K Dick said " truth- as terrible as death, but harder to find..") - P.S- check out Beer Hall Putsch". In my opinion, it is his best work...
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on January 14, 2014
Format: Amazon Instant Video
If you like Stanhope, you'll love it. If you don't know who he is and you're offended easily, avoid this like the plague
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