Free Speech

Doug Stanhope: 'Nothing Stands Above Everything Else. Everything Annoys Me Equally.'

The libertarian comedian on why he's dreading the presidential election season, how he survived COVID, and why he needs to do more psychedelics.


My guest today is comedian Doug Stanhope. No performer is as idiosyncratic and outspoken about their politics and their personal habits as Stanhope, who dresses exclusively in Goodwill cast-offs and has written can't-put-down books about everything from helping his terminally ill mother commit suicide to celebrating the on-the-road debauchery that ended in him getting married.

Stanhope has been entertaining audiences with his bad taste and unapologetically libertarian tirades for nearly 30 years. Back in the early 2000s, he cohosted The Man Show with Joe Rogan, including an episode where he entered a boxing ring against disgraced figure skater Tonya Harding and took a bit of a beating.

I caught up with Stanhope at FreedomFest, an annual event held this year in Memphis, where he performed a characteristically uncensored set that had the audience alternately groaning and laughing. We talked about why he's dreading the presidential election season, how he survived COVID's effect on touring, what he likes about psychedelics, and why he prefers creative independence over mainstream acceptance.

Today's sponsor:

  • Why We Can't Have Nice Things. A six-part Reason magazine podcast series about the frustrating and foolish aspects of American trade policy that make everyday items more expensive. From last year's sudden shortages of baby formula to the Jones Act and President Lyndon Johnson's infamous "chicken war," host Eric Boehm sits down with industry experts and libertarian policy wonks to explore how these counterproductive rules got made—and explains why they can be so difficult to undo.