Doug Stanhope - Oslo: Burning the Bridge to Nowhere (4 stars)

Live DVD from the controversial stand-up

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Doug Stanhope - Oslo: Burning the Bridge to Nowhere

Photography | Chris Saunders

(Roadrunner Comedy)

In a short introduction to this wonderfully unhinged film, Doug Stanhope (glass of lager clamped in hand) prepares the viewer to expect the unprofessional. Anyone picking up a copy of Oslo: Burning the Bridge to Nowhere anticipating a Live at the Apollo-style affair will be gutted as this is as rough, ready and authentic as a touring stand-up show comes.

Recorded in a disused chocolate factory in the Norwegian capital, Stanhope continually claims to hate being filmed, at one point visibly jumping as a camera-operator edges closer. His long-term manager, the Scottish author and comedy impresario Brian Hennigan, is verbally abused by the comic over the kind of gigs and festivals he is forced to play. ‘I don’t give a shit any more’ Stanhope states, as he insists that where once he would have offered solutions to the problems he aired on stage, now he is simply complaining and railing with little end-product.

Still, Stanhope can whinge with the best of them and is still able to create extraordinary angles and fresh takes on perceived wisdom about the environment, abortion, sex and unemployment. While it would have been fascinating to see whether he would still have performed his material to this crowd about mass shootings only ever happening in miserable locations (schools, workplaces, churches) in a post-Breivik world, the chapter titles reflect his appeal to a cross-section. The Guardianistas adore his warped social commentaries, while others will simply lap up sections called ‘stinkless pussy’, ‘stomping kittens’ and ‘spinning dildo’. Shambolic and staggering he may be, but Doug Stanhope’s mind remains as sharp as a nine-inch nail driven through the comedy elite’s skull.

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