We might be partial to reviewing CDs of musical tracks, but it is invigorating when a CD falls into our lap that doesn’t consist of instruments and tempos infused with vocals. We might be new to evaluating comedic CDs, but Doug Stanhope’s, Oslo: Burning the Bridge to Nowhere , was a good place to start with our newest career addition.
Stanhope’s premiere CD/DVD dropped May 3rd, via Roadrunner Comedy. The biggest mystery of the disc is where it was actually recorded. Clearly, being humorous isn’t within us, but it was worth an attempt. Oslo: Burning the Bridge to Nowhere was recorded in an abandoned factory in the suburb of, drum roll please, Oslo, Norway. We promise the cheesiness will not ensue after that sentence. We just don’t have that comedic flare that Stanhope has undeniably mastered.
By spending a considerable amount of time touring in his car, performing at comedic festivals, auditioning for commercials, working on failed pilots and co-hosting the last season of Comedy Central’s “The Man Show,” Stanhope was able to find the creative area where he would most like to direct his attention to, live comedy. With the release of his upcoming CD and bonus DVD of his live performance at Oslo, we can say Doug Stanhope absolutely chose the correct professional path.
In honor of this weekend’s nuptials, we thought it would be most appropriate to start off with Stanhope’s track, “Royalty.” Maybe we should rephrase that last sentence. We don’t mean that the comedic track is giving praise to the royalty leaders around the world, rather the opposite. Our spirits were pretty high after seeing Prince William and Kate Middleton tie the knot. After watching the ceremony, we pondered, why can’t America have that? Stanhope was able to laughably bring us back down to reality with this brief performance of the subject. As with most comedians, Stanhope is profanely blunt, to say the least, but his jabs about the Stone Age and renaissance lifestyles of countries with royalty figures is exactly what we needed to hear to quench our thirst for a king and queen throne of our own.
It is not surprising that Stanhope continued to compare the United States to Europe throughout his show, since he is an American performing in Europe. Through his rants of similarities and differences, Stanhope is able to unleash some truthful opinions americans might have about Europe, but are too “dignified” to say. We had to throw in a tiny patriotic comment. Whether it is the feeling that Europeans deem that Americans are mini George Bush’s or that Americans wonder why can’t Europe just pick a language, we can’t admit these thoughts have never crossed our minds, no matter how ignorant they might seem. Just as music can convey our need for love, comedians can communicate our need to frankly say those naive remarks, we avoid. At least we can nod our heads in laughter, as the comedian takes the blame for saying those comments, guilt free.
We do enjoy his satirical jokes about political standpoints in society, but it is just as enjoyable when he speaks of social qualms as well. He discusses abortion while in the avidly green country of Norway in the track, “Abortion is Green.” He also tackles the progress of racial relations during the days of Obama in “First Midget Bullfighter.” Our favorite social subject he grazed over involved the discrimination of ugly people in the track, “Ugly Woman Who Could Sing.” Stanhope discusses how ugly people are usually subjected to be in that minority, professionally, while they are in fact the numerical majority of society. He further speaks of how these unfortunate looking people don’t have that group to come fight for their rights as other minorities have. Stanhope’s inhibitions are nonexistent as he hilariously pushes each of these touchy subjects over the brim. He is able to make these sensitive topics a bit more comfortable for people to publically talk about. Maybe we all need is a bit more comedy in our life to open us up.
In the middle of his Oslo performance, Stanhope is gutsy enough to speak of his discomfort of performing live while recording a CD and taping a DVD. The guts we are not surprised about, but the discomfort we are, since the show was vastly entertaining and reawakening for the least opinionated listener. Doug Stanhope’s, Oslo: Burning the Bridge to Nowhere , showcased comedy at its best when it is spur of the moment without a planned set. You cannot get more raw than that.
by Lonnie Nemiroff