This writer can truly relate, having been born in the same month and year as Stanhope who, upon discovering this, asked if he could call me every couple of weeks to see what he should expect next.
In addition to the unquenchable need to poke fun at any travesty of life that crosses his mind at his age, nothing fuels Stanhope’s comedy more than a few cold beers. “Three before and three on stage,” Stanhope said, “but not pot, never pot.”
Asked if he thought he was funnier when a little tipsy, Stanhope said, “I can play sober and a baseball player can play without cleats, but we both do a better job with a little help from the tools of the trade.”
Stanhope’s penchant for frothy malted beverages and reputation as a partier often inspires fans to deliver more than he bargained for. “One lady brought me a whole container of mushrooms the first night of a tour. We just hid them in the hotel parking lot on the way out of town and the first person who Tweeted me ‘great show last night’ got to find out where. Then one time I had a guy try to ‘discreetly’ hand me cocaine from the front row of the audience while I was on stage. He kept saying ‘it’s NOT pot man, it’s not pot.’”
Stanhope admits that he often attracts a rowdy crowd, but that heckling isn’t as much of a problem as one would think. “I get the guy who’s driven three hours to get there, has been drinking all day with his buddies and just wants to be part of the show. It’s not a bad thing.”
Politically, Stanhope is a staunch Liberian who, like many comedians, is finding much to laugh about during this election year. “Obama has held back from addressing problems he could have solved with the stroke of a pen—like Guantanamo Bay and medicinal marijuana. I’m voting for Gary Johnson, which is like voting for Ron Paul, only he can speak and won’t go dying on us.”
One thing you can’t say about Stanhope is that he’s not a true original. Unlike those he started out with, like Sam Kinison or Andrew Dice Clay, Stanhope doesn’t rely on a signature set of personality traits to set him apart. Rather, he tries to be more like idols such as George Carlin.
“Carlin was able to find his voice and then keep building upon it his entire career,” said Stanhope. “That’s what I’m striving for. Well, that, and not subconsciously rewriting material I’ve already performed in the past.”
Stanhope performs at 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 7, at Lindsay Street Hall, 901 Lindsay St. Tickets are $25 in advance and can be purchased at brownpapertickets.com.