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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

On a roll, Doug Stanhope to play the Relapse

The Relapse Theatre is lucky to have booked a performance by stand-up comedian Doug Stanhope, who's been enjoying fresh attention lately. I interviewed him in 2008, and lately the irascible comic has released the new DVD Oslo: Burning the Bridge To Nowhere and recently gave a terrific performance as broke, suicidal "road comic" Eddie on FX's "Louie." Louis C.K. described the casting and contributions of Stanhope in fascinating detail in an A.V. Club interview:

I started to hear him in my head as I wrote it. I love Doug, and he is that guy, but more successful. But Doug has no acting background, none at all... And I had other fucking people. I’ve had some pretty major actors ask me to put them in this show, and I had some great candidates. But I called Doug and I said, “Listen, I wrote this thing, and I don’t know if you’re right for it, but it occurred to me that maybe you could play this part.” And he said, “I can’t do that. I’m telling you right now, I will ruin it.” I said, “Well, let me frame the question a different way: Would you like to try it? If I let you have it, would you want it?” He said, “Yes, I would.” And that, to me, is a huge difference. He didn’t think he could do it, but he wanted to try.

Ironically, Louis C.K. cast Stanhope expecting to have to carry him, but by the time the episode went into production, Stanhope's energy ended up carrying C.K. (Stanhope offers his own perspective in this interview.) Stanhope performs at The Relapse Theatre on Friday, Oct. 21. Here's my favorite of his bits:

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