Recording information: Fabrikkhallen, Oslo, Norway.
Director: Bjorn Opsahl.
Editors: Emery Emery; Scotty Lund.
Photographer: Steven Meckler.
Doug Stanhope's gruff, kamikaze style of standup is unique enough, but Oslo: Burning the Bridge to Nowhere is just shy of bizarre. Here, the comedian baits a Norwegian audience with politically incorrect comments on race, along with some threats, like that he might enjoy tomorrow's gig in Finland even better. The rowdy crowd cheers the former and boos the latter, both of which reverberate through the Fabrikkhallen, which Stanhope describes as "a venue I think we broke into", painting his arrival as a scene from Hostel with "I was afraid to have the cab leave me off here." Later it's berating the Norwegians for tolerating the very idea of a royal family, and accusing them of being beautiful, but sexless and uninteresting. Tense laughs, for sure, and plenty of them, too, as the comedian shifts the target to groupies he's disappointed while on tour, and then to himself, going on a long, uncomfortable riff about how much the quality of his work has deteriorated. Then there are the moments of brilliance that make him Bill Hicks' heir apparent ("Tradition and heritage are all dead people's baggage; stop carrying it") and the very un-Hicks moments of Stanhope going gross ("Stomping Kittens"). He's not for everyone, and this certainly isn't the one to start with, but Stanhope taunting an audience in their second language is as fascinating in execution as it is in idea. ~ David Jeffries