Doug Stanhope entertaining the crowd Wednesday night at Mr. Heads. It was his only Arizona show until next year.

Photo courtesy Kevin William Lee

It was supposed to be a quiet night at Mr. Heads Bar, a quiet little bar overshadowed by Fourth Avenue's more bustling night clubs.

But on Wednesday night — at the bar's little advertised weekly open mic night — something extraordinary happened that filled the bar to capacity and spilled out into the street.

Nationally known comedian Doug Stanhope slipped in among the nearly two dozen comics and turned a quiet night of comedy into an event that will have people talking for weeks.

 "I still can't believe what happened. I'm on cloud nine," said Kevin William Lee, who organizes Mr. Heads open mic nights."Everyone is going to be talking (about) the infamous night when Doug Stanhope hosted Mr. Heads." 

As a matter of full disclosure, I am one of the comedians who regularly performs at Mr. Heads and other open mic nights around Tucson. I was not on the list Wednesday night, but after a friend's text about Stanhope being at Mr. Heads, I hustled down to the bar.

Lee said Stanhope, who lives in Bisbee and regularly performs standup in Tucson, had just finished filming Chris Rock's latest movie "Finally Famous" —the move is still untitled on IMDB — and had flown into Tucson. Before heading home to Bisbee, he dropped into Mr. Heads.

Stanhope introduced the comics and did his own set of new material that he said he never tried before. For the first time in four years, Brian Hennigan, Stanhope's manager and business parter, performed stand up alongside the local comedians. Despite the "bar venue" the show and audience gives a very encouraging vibe.

Stanhope introduced every comedian like they were good friends and most of them he's familiar with. Some of the local comedians that were present like Jericho Davidson, Ali Musa, Josiah Osego and Jacob Breckenridge were all contestants in the "Funniest Comedian in Arizona" show, which Stanhope hosted late last year at the Rialto.

Stanhope was fixated on Marcus Gallagos, an underage comic that had to wait behind the patio's wrought iron gate until it was his turn to tell jokes. Gallagos sat on a bar stool and scribbled his set list on college ruled notebook throughout the show, prompting Stanhope to needle him. At one point, the veteran comic hollered: "Marcus, what are you doing back there? Taking notes?!" 

If you missed Stanhope, you will have to wait another year to see him in Tucson. He said he won't be in town for his annual show at Club Congress, which he has done for several years. Next week, he launches a tour of  is the start a tour of Canada and then hits the road for his nationwide "Shitty Town Comedy Tour."

Contact reporter Henry Barajas at or 573-4203. Follow him on Twitter @HenryBarajas.