DS: Early ones were Larry Flynt, like Hustler magazine humor. When I was 13, my mother would let me read Hustler and the most tasteless cartoons and all that stuff. Andrew Dice Clay was actually the catalyst that got me into doing it because I was at that age where that was the funniest s*** in the world. I was 23 and that was so brand new. Now I’ve downloaded a lot of it off Napster and it’s so bad. But at that age and especially in that era of comedy, there were Paul Reiser and “did you ever notice” and “f*** and c*** and s***,” but only so many swear words and so many combinations you can get. I would do the Andrew Dice Clay when it was first out around the telemarketing office where I worked. The owner of the company had some goofy side project that was a cover band and he said, yeah, you should open for me. And I’m like, that’s not my stuff. But just knowing that I could get work if I had a f***ing act and someone would let me go on stage was catalyst enough to do it.
AD: Did you enjoy your time on the Man Show?
DS: We enjoyed just having that as a life experience. To do a show just to know what it’s like so you’re talking from experience when you talk about television. The product was s***. I mean, the battles to try to get stuff on there. We lived in the office for seven weeks and we set it up like an episode of MASH. We actually tried to get hammocks. You’d have a bit and you’d have big meetings and you’d always have the props department. Everyone involved in putting the sketch together would be there. We’re doing this nursing home gag and what does the props department need? We’d say, “we need this and this and a hammock.” They’d be like, “what do you need the hammock for?” and we’d say, “just trust us.” We never did get the hammock. We lived on a couch. We brought in a fold up cot. Me and Rogan each hired a friend who wasn’t a writer just to hire a friend to hang around and be a bum. If we needed clothes because I was out of clean clothes, I’d call wardrobe and have them send something up. We had a fucking blast aside from the product of the show.
AD: What were your challenges with getting things produced, especially with the censors?
DS: The censors f***ed up a lot of stuff. But it’s not just censors. Censorship, first of all, goes way past “f*** and s***.” You can’t talk about drugs unless it’s negative. All the meat of my act, those points of view, were censored. You can’t say anything that’s going to offend a sponsor. When I did Comedy Central Presents just doing standup, they said you can’t do this suicide bit. What if some kid kills himself? We can get sued. Lawyers f***ed up just as much stuff if not more than censors. They would go through every little thing and just look for where they could get sued. We were going to do a homeless beer drop. Set up UN style and get a military truck and get the Juggies and get UN uniforms and drive down to the tent cities of LA. That’s one basic civil right that homeless people don’t have that’s overlooked is that at the end of a hard day, you can’t crack a beer because you can’t do that outside. You can’t f*** your wife because you can’t do that outside. So we wanted to do this big beer drop and set up titty dancer tents and have some titty dancers for the homeless. And the first note was, well, these people are alcoholics and you can’t give them beer. We’re like, we’ll make it near beer. And then it was near beer has trace amounts of alcohol and that can trigger an alcoholic reaction. It came down to the last note and they were like, what if one of these people has AIDS and bites one of our crew. That was an actual note. That is just so dumb. They finger f*** every detail. Here’s the problem. That scenario I spelled out for you, that’s not a phone call. We give the idea to the head writer who eventually gets it to the executive producer who sends it to the head of the production company who sends it to Comedy Central who sends it to the censors who send it to the lawyers and every one finger f***s a little bit of it. So it’s a week later when you get all these notes back and you’re like, what the f***? And at that point, you’ve got three days to get something done for taping. You said we could do it except for all the punch lines. Okay, this bit, you can do, this, this, but not this. Those are the punch lines. It’s not funny without that. So there’s no direct fight. You can’t get it done. By that time, you’re like, I guess we’re filming s***, because what else do we have?
AD: Would you ever work on TV again?
DS: Right now there’s some pilot I’m supposed to be doing for Discovery Channel where I’m just hitchhiking and I’m trying to find out the lives of the people and get into their life and go home with them and just go wherever they go. It’s kind of like “Insomniac” meets Kerouac. And that sounds like it could be fun because it’s not dependent on sketch comedy or a sitcom or anything like that. What it would depend on is would I enjoy doing it. That’s what it boils down to. Like “Girls Gone Wild.” That was just funny to me. For the same reason, Jerry Springer in it’s heyday. I went on with a staged story. They actually made it up for us. It was fun to do just because it was some stupid part of pop culture. People don’t get that. They’re like, he’s exploiting drunk women. No, they’re exploiting themselves. I just want to see how the process works. I didn’t realize they would be airing that commercial a thousand times a night for a year and a half afterwards. I didn’t ever think I’d be known for it.
AD: What do you think about the live comedy performing scene in the US? Is it good?
DS: It’s horrendous. You heard the bit tonight. About half the time, it’s an adult Chuck E Cheese. Comedy is so diverse. Would you go to a music club if you wanted to see music tonight? There’s music playing. Let’s go see it.
AD: Are there some towns that are better?
DS: Austin, obviously. Austin is my best city. Austin, Portland, Oregon. Minneapolis used to be good, but not so much any more. Austin has always been the best.
AD: I wonder if that’s related to your similarity to Bill Hicks. I’ve heard comparisons between you and Bill Hicks.
DS: That’s probably why it’s my best town. When you listen to Hicks albums, now it’s all the exact same shit. The current events. George Bush is president. The Iraq War. Michael Jackson accused of child molesting. Priests accused of child molesting. I think he was great. I think the comparison is unfortunately for lack of a better one.
AD: What kind of message would you give to comics just starting out? What would you say to them?
DS: It would depend on the comic. It’s hard to give blanket answers..(PAUSE).. Does he suck? Who is this clown? Is he very bad? What if he blows and reads this and says Doug Stanhope in the Austin Daze is talking directly to me? Honey, where are my clown shoes? Get my top hat!