Halfway through Doug Stanhope's performance he stops and tells the audience “This is a comedy show, by the way.” And while the aside comes just after the tale of how the 45-year-old comedian helped his terminally-ill mother commit suicide, it's really just a knowing wink at an audience only too happy to follow him on his quest to find laughter in the darkest of places.
While after 21 years on the circuit he now needs glasses to read about the things that irritate him (“I'm fucking old now, okay!”), it's clear his mind has no problem keeping up as he rails from his recent battle with The Telegraph's Allison Pearson, to Occupy Wall Street, to what's really on his mind during American football (and no, it ain't the cheerleaders).
The term “not for everyone” is rather over-used when it comes to comedy – who is for everyone? - but Stanhope delivers his arguments with such energy and intelligence (while keeping the gag rate high) that you can't help but hope some of his detractors would have to at least raise a smile if they ever actually saw the man live. It is, after all, a comedy show.