Why does comedian Doug Stanhope live in the southern Arizona town of Bisbee?
"It's a small town without being redneck, and that's very hard to find," Stanhope said sitting on his couch during a recent phone interview. "I love small towns. I live my life to avoid traffic and people."
And why does Stanhope enjoy life as a stand-up comic?
"I don't know if it's what I like so much about it. I don't like doing stuff," Stanhope explained, not actually saying "stuff" but another, more colorful word that starts with the letter "s" that can't be printed. "I've literally been laying on that couch staring at the clock. It's not that I like doing stand-up so much, it's that I like doing all the nothing that goes along with it."
|If you go|
|» Where: The State Theatre, 220 N. Washington St., Falls Church|
|» When: 7 p.m. doors, 8:30 p.m. show Thursday|
|» Info: $27; 703-237-0300; thestatetheatre.com|
Stanhope performs Thursday at the State Theatre.
Stanhope is one of those breeds of comedians who does stand-up for the sake of stand-up. He long ago escaped from Los Angeles and the Hollywood scene, and now lies in Bisbee. He estimates he does a little more than 100 dates a year out on the road.
Stanhope claims a lack of ambition, but the truth is that he's released nine specials, with a 10th recently recorded. He also claims his massive output is to keep fans of his abrasive, tell-it-like-it-is comedy happy.
"There's a lot of ambition out there," said Stanhope. "I'm not part of it. I turn over material strictly out of fear. I don't want to go back to town without having a sizable amount of new material. I produce material strictly out of fear of my fan base."
To gather new material, Stanhope has his girlfriend take notes while he's riffing. He's also started the occasional podcast, which is more or less him riffing with someone while being recorded.
Fans of his work know that there's one guy he hates above all, and that's Dr. Drew Pinsky. His response to a question about Pinsky couldn't be published here, but an online search explains his vitriol.
Stanhope isn't a fan of Facebook so much, but likes the direct interaction that he gets through Twitter. And he doesn't really get into arguments with fans or detractors online.
"They're never going to see my point," said Stanhope. "Why am I wasting this kind of empty rage? I should be walking my dog."