A Rotten trick

Doug Stanhope cons radio station into interviewing him as John Lydon

Doug Stanhope has duped a radio station into interviewing him in the belief he was Johnny Rotten.

Iowa radio station KRUU called the comic early yesterday thinking he was the former Sex Pistols frontman, now known by his real John Lydon.

And although Stanhope confessed ‘I don't know shit about music’, he conducted a seven-minute interview with presenter Mike Ragogna without raising suspicions. The chat was even posted on the broadcaster’s website, and a transcript published on Huffington Post.

Stanhope said: ‘Sadly they edited out the fun parts where I would pause to fake-vomit mouthfuls of water into the toilet our loudly take a piss with the phone just over the bowl.’

At one point he even told music business veteran Ragogna: ‘The world is full of con-artists and liars’ – but he failed to pick up on the clue.

During the interview, Stanhope was asked about the new Public Image Ltd album, and replied: ‘It's strictly because I need money. I'm strapped. We had a few ideas, but this is what we decided to run with, and we'll see what the fans think.’

And when asked about whether the state of the world influenced his music, Stanhope referenced the Middle East crisis and said: ‘I have to tell you the truth now, I don't give a shit about any of it.... I'm so wrapped up in my personal life, I could give a care less what's going on, with my ex-wife and lawyers hounding me all the time. Sometimes, you have to take care of your own backyard.’

In fact, the real John Lydon has been married from publishing heiress Nora Forster, for nearly 35 years.

The prank started when Ragogna woke Stanhope with a phone call at 7.45am. The comic did not answer it, so the DJ left a voicemail asking ‘John’ to call the studio for a prearranged interview about Public Image Ltd.

Stanhope rang back, also got the answering machine, and told Ragogna he had the wrong number. The stand-up was due on air later that day, and explained that his and Lydon’s numbers must have got muddled.

But then Ragogna phoned back, and left the same message for Lydon to call the station.

On his email newsletter to fans, Stanhope explained: ‘This time, I said fuck it, wrote down the studio number, put on the best British accent I could muster (which is absolutely fucking awful) and called in to do the interview as best as I could, being still half asleep and not knowing shit about who I am pretending to be.

‘We assumed that there was no way it would ever air... certainly someone would realise or fact check. I mean, I left him a voicemail message on his cellphone that he was calling the wrong number.

‘But they put it up today and at this moment still have no idea. I bet they pull it all down shortly after this goes up but we now have the recording and screen shots as back-up...’

Here is the interview:

Published: 26 Oct 2012

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