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ALL ENCOMPASSINGLY: VEGAS COMEDY

Doug Stanhope Banned, Booed from The Joint

Doug Stanhope Banned, Booed from The Joint

I’ve had bad experiences nearly every time I’ve ventured into the muggy warehouse known as The Joint. There are other reasons, but my two main issues are the standing-room-only situation, which results in attendees who can’t see well giving up on the show, swarming the bar and talking over the music or comedy. I’ve witnessed performers stop cold and shush the talking multiple times. 

Sticking point number two: the security. Overzealous from the moment patrons first line up, straight through the point they’re finally manhandled out at the end, these black suits ride so high on their power they refuse to be brought back down by common sense. Again, I’ve witnessed (and been on the losing end of) this multiple times.

Comics Pete Dominick, Joe Matarese and onetime Vegas resident Doug Stanhope were asked by the man himself to open Artie Lange’s sold-out stand-up appearance Saturday night. A half-hour before showtime, Stanhope found himself prohibited from entering the venue.

As he related Sunday night during his show at LA’s Spaceland, “The only people it seems in this country who have a strong work ethic are the people who have to be dildos for a living .. The c***suckers, I couldn’t even get into my own show at the f***ing Hard Rock at Vegas last night. The f***ing doormen, ‘Oh, you need credentials!’ I go, ‘I’m on the bill! This is my poster! There’s a big Artie Lange, there’s a little me with my name!’ ‘You need credentials! You’re not getting in! You can talk to me all day! I’m just doing my job!’ ‘Then do it poorly!’"

A person in a position of power (sheriff’s badge at her hip, walkie-talkie at her mouth) was summoned. The Beacher’s Madhouse (the show’s presenter) liaison was summoned. The guards wouldn’t budge. Patience and minutes trickled down. 9:55 p.m. and Stanhope and Dominick finally received one pass apiece, but none for the two guests each had in tow. Stanhope finally gave up in disgust, flinging his one pass at the persistent fellow guarding the VIP elevator and sighing, “Forget it. I’m done.” He walked out to the casino floor, leaving Dominick to ask the guard, “Are you happy? You just lost the show’s feature! Artie is going to be pissed!”

Indeed he was, as Lange and Beacher later entered the Green Room red-faced and shaking, Matarese in tow. Seems security wouldn’t have allowed Lange or Matarese in either, had they not happened across Beacher. By this point Stanhope had been relocated, apologized to, and outfitted with the necessary means to get upstairs. Another round of apologies ensued as all the performers regained their professional composure and began the show (read Weekly contributing editor Richard Abowitz's account of events here).

Curiously, Stanhope was nonplussed by the well-lubricated Lange fans who began chanting, “Artie! Artie!” during his set, finally booing him off the stage. As he wrote in a blog dated August 1:

Thanks to those who showed up at the Hard Rock in Vegas for the Artie Lange show. I hope you enjoyed the chaos. Keep in mind that anytime you see me on a bill where the majority of the people are there to see someone other than me, shit will probably go wrong. Especially when it's a morning radio audience and even more so when it's a Stern crowd.

I wouldn't make a career of it but it's fun to do every now and again, closing my set by screaming obscenities at a volatile room full of chanting apes. I expect that outcome going in and only a few times have I been surprised.

It's adrenaline and it's cleansing, like a hate-enema.

Ipecac For The Soul.

I love that Artie Lange probably knew what was gonna happen and still booked it. He's one of the best people I've met in this business.

He's not nearly as fat as my fat friends, seems as healthy as any rotund Midwestern mill worker, maybe smoked three cigarettes the whole time I was there and if he was drunk, he's a professional drunk. Listening to the show, you'd think he was the sloppy final days of Belushi.

If anything is gonna kill Artie Lange, it's the ever-present and soul-pillaging contingent of his audience -- small but unbearable -- that only show up to bellow out incongruent nonsense and think that the downed cocktails are the only punchlines.

Stanhope’s Showtime special, No Refunds, debuts this Friday at 10 p.m. The DVD will be available August 14;  pre-order now at his recently revamped Web site.

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