PRINT: Out There

Doug Stanhope’s Fun with Pedophiles isn’t for the weak

Julie Seabaugh

Enter stand-up comedian and 2008 Libertarian presidential candidate (seriously) Doug Stanhope, who got his start at a Vegas open-mic and has since taken audiences not just to, but over the edge of good taste with bits dedicated to school shootings, governmental bans on dildos and multiorifice sex with genetic freaks. You know, the good stuff.

One of his best lines, for example, takes a unique stand on the pro-life debate: "I knocked up my wife a year and a half ago ... The reason we had an abortion, it wasn't frivolous. We didn't have an abortion because we weren't ready to take care of a child, we're irresponsible or because we're not financially capable. The reason we had it is I really wanted to see what it felt like to kill a baby."

Out-there stuff, no doubt. But when patrons disapprove of Stanhope's material or a heckler dares attempt a trip-up, things get even more deliciously vicious; his retorts are as vital to his onstage persona as his ever-present beer and cigarettes.

Similar off-the-cuff interactions serve as the basis of Fun with Pedophiles: The Best of Baiting. Self-published under Stanhope's Shake the Baby imprint "after f--king around for far too long with different publishers... they can all eat my mealy ass," Pedophiles applies his rapid-fire approach to crowd work to the web. Online, Stanhope joyfully engages in baiting, a practice he defines as "the art of luring pedophiles to contact you on Instant Messenger under the illusion that you are a 12-year-old girl. Then you f--k with them as unmercifully as possible."

The book is categorized as "adult humor." Consider that a warning as much as a label. Not merely "blue" or "edgy," the four identities he assumes to attract horny lurkers and Jesus freaks start out as angelic as the 12-year-old girls they purport to be. By the end of the logged conversations, however, they've turned foul-mouthed, violent and downright psychotic, and they've often whipped out a big, throbbing surprise for their unsuspecting co-chatters. Spina bifida inflictees are mocked. Hookers are beheaded and defiled. Incest victims practice to be drug mules by stuffing cowbells up their bums. Glass thermometers are forced up sex organs, which are then smashed with tack hammers. You know, the good stuff.

As he does in his stand-up, Stanhope doesn't utilize the foulest of foul language gratuitously. More remarkable than even the hilariously absurd euphemisms he tosses out is his knack for subversively addressing such social issues as racism, homophobia and religious hypocrisy. Though the one-man crusade may appear to come down a bit heavy, consider that in recent years Stanhope has essentially forsaken mainstream comedy clubs for those off the beaten path, masterminded the accurately monikered Unbookables comedy tour and moved to Bisbee, Arizona, so as to be in closer proximity to the Mexican border. This is a guy who values good times over both critical and mainstream success. The Internet exchanges made him laugh, so he figured he'd share 'em. It ain't preaching if he doesn't give two figs about actually converting anyone.

Pedophiles won't change the world, it probably won't make any sexual deviants think twice about getting their AIM on and it certainly won't, as Stanhope puts it, make "Oprah curl up with a pint of mint chocolate chip and highlight her favorite passages." What Pedophiles will achieve is to shock, offend and upgrade its author from "that guy from The Man Show" to undisputed Master Baiter. And since we're dealing with bathroom humor here, we'll go ahead and go there: It just might even make you piss yourselves with laughter.

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