What a Joke 

Neither a part of the hip yet relatively safe alternative comedy movement (David Cross) nor the clean-cut frat-boy crowd (Dane Cook), Doug Stanhope walks the line between what we're all thinking but terrified to say out loud, offensive nastiness, and traditional stand-up comedy. The result: fetal-position laughter.

Stanhope began to perform live and tour (or "road-dog it" in comedian vernacular) in 1990 and got his first break when he won the 1995 San Francisco International Comedy Competition, for which he beat out Dane Cook in the finals. Stanhope has released 13 full-length comedy titles since 1998. It should be noted that the appropriately titled Acid Bootleg (2001, self-released) is just that: a bootleg of a performance in which the comedian is thoroughly under the influence of LSD by the halfway point.

After co-hosting the fifth and sixth seasons of Comedy Central's The Man Show in 2003 and 2004, Stanhope had one of the more memorable scenes in The Aristocrats (a film that documents numerous comedians' individual takes on the same legendary joke) in which he tells the notorious bit to an infant. Stanhope has hosted several TV comedy specials for various networks (including Showtime) and self-published a book, Fun With Pedophiles: The Best of Baiting, in 2006. Stanhope's most recent full-length album, Oslo: Burning the Bridge to Nowhere, was the inaugural release on Roadrunner Comedy, the long-running metal and hard-rock label Roadrunner's comedy imprint.

Comparisons to the late and legendary comedian Bill Hicks are more than apt. Still, Stanhope often goes where the majority of the stand-up comedy world won't, especially when dealing with hecklers. Both of these points are warnings to the easily offended and misguided seekers of attention.

Doug Stanhope's "Big Stink Comedy Tour," The New Daisy Theater, Saturday, March 16th, 8 p.m., $25

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