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Anti-jokes and Neil Hamburger

October 23rd 2007 01:42
Years and years ago, I was reading a comic fantasy series where a demon, Guxx Unfufadoo, gains more power with every bad rhyme he utters. I realized then that being truly crap is harder than one might think (hats off to author of the series, Craig Shaw Gardner).

Comedian Neil Hamburger
Neil Hamburger aka Gregg Turkington
Now, it seems to me that similar art goes into the routines of Neil Hamburger (aka "America's Funnyman", aka "America's Youngest Comedian", aka -- as per his second DVD -- "The World's Funnyman", aka Gregg Turkington): "He started off recording prank phone calls to comedy clubs and pizza parlors but ended up developing a full-figured character comedian. His pacing is off, and he clears his throat non-stop through his entire routine (often to keep overzealous fans from shouting out his punchlines), which is all part of the ultimate goal: to be the world's worst stand-up comedian. Neil's unique brand of comedy has thrilled, perplexed and repulsed audiences worldwide."

Gregg Turkington aka Neil Hamburger
Gregg Turkington aka Neil Hamburger
So Hamburger spills drinks on stage and on the audience, abuses the audience, gives them the finger, sighs depressedly, pulls cue cards from his pocket and stands in silence reading them. The routines are full of anticlimax, disappointment, bad puns, vulgarity, tastelessness, non-sequiturs, randomness, senselessness, confusion. Jokes are out-of-date, out-of-place, obscure, awkward, uncomfortable, annoying, obvious, dumb, offensive, pathetic, and plain awful. And there is often an excruciating silence radiating from the crowd, when they're not shouting insults and throwing bottles.

Much of this is arguably anti-humour: "Anti-humor and anti-jokes is a kind of humor based on the surprise factor of absence of an expected joke or of a punch line in a narration which is set up as a joke... some researchers see the 'shaggy dog story' as a type of anti-joke. An example of anti-humor is 'Why did the chicken cross the road?' with the answer, 'To get to the other side.'"

For the record, I'm not sure that the point is simply to die, although plenty of people read him this way. It's not like one of those comedy-film moments when someone gets up on stage and just humiliates themselves. It's not quite a train wreck; and it comes across as intentional, controlled. Nor is the point to be as hateful as possible -- he could make a lot more 9/11 and pedophile comments if he wanted to. Rather, there's a balancing act. You can't fail completely: you have to give some laughs, or some almost-laughs. You have to make an attempt, create the semblance of realism. And you have to keep it varied enough that people are interested (Hamburger's routine mutilates plenty of styles -- physical comedy, social commentary, absurdism... -- you don't survive purely on the basis of "This is so unfunny it's funny").

And note also the creativity in Hamburger's character. What label would you attach to him? He's not simply "guy lost in the past" or "disgusting uncle" or "yukster" or "crazy guy" or "sad sack" or "nerd" or "klutz" or "angry guy" or "dark guy" or "guy who doesn't realize how bad he is" or "negative guy", or...

To date, Hamburger has released about 17 CDs and 3 DVDs (available from his website). There's a whole lot of him on YouTube (from which I've collated most of the following). And his Internet interview show, "Poolside Chats", can be found at comedian Tom Green's website.



All right, couple of people leaving, you son of a bitch coward cocksucker, FUCK YOU. Boy. Give someone a chance, would you, huh, garbage boy. FUCK YOU. All right, we have to keep going anyway, even with that setback. Losing that fine young man from our crowd. What is... what's your camera... is there another one over... What's wrong with you people, huh? I never signed any contract, huh. I don't want to end up in your sick home video. This guy here he's got five hours of footage of his own penis. And then he's gonna tack my jokes at the end of that, and I'm supposed to be glad. TURN IT OFF ASSHOLE. You too prick. Pig boy. We're trying to entertain these people. And... oh... no flash photographs, huh. Son of a bitch. Hmm... This is a nightmare. All right, we'll do some jokes anyway because what else are we gonna do, just stand here. Here's another one for you, gang, friends.

Hey, did you guys hear the one about the pregnant bed bug?
Yeah, she gave birth in the spring.

In which US state did my ex-wife start having sex with the dentist she ended up running off with?
I don't actually know but when I see her in court next month.... i'llaska.

I went to see an aromatherapist the other day... and she had bad breath.

Okay, what else do we have here. I'll tell some more of these goddamned jokes. And by goddammed, I mean that literally. These jokes have been damned, by God.

What are you filming this for? Is this for YouTube? I don't like YouTube. I don't like YouTube videos... people shitting in plates. Don't wanna be part of that whole scene.

Mr YouTube, huh. What a horrible life you must lead making YouTube videos. First he filmed himself taking a cookie recipe and modifying it so he could somehow include his own ejaculate in it and he put that up, that was the second most popular video on YouTube, huh. Then he gave himself a Diet Pepsi enema, put that up on YouTube, that didn't do as well, only the fifth most popular YouTube video. GET SOME HELP ASSHOLE.

I remember my childhood... Back seat of a '57 Chevy... The bumper sticker that said "If this car's a-rockin', don't bother knockin'"... The spilt red wine all over the white upholstery... Those little awkward gropes... Yeah, I was so glad when grandpa finally died.

Some people here were born retarded, huh? Well, we play to all types. No discrimination, against the retards.

What what what what what did I hear a naysayer, did I hear a nattering kneebob of negativity in the corner? Listen, you cocksuckers, we don't have time for distractions. If you have a complaint, go into the bathroom and speak it into another man's penis. DO NOT SAY IT DURING MY SHOW. Throws off my impeccable timing.

All right, here's another one for you gang, we're having so much fun, let's keep the jokes going, huh. We have a couple more jokes just to keep the party atmopshere going. That's what it's all about, huh. Keeping the party atmopshere going. Sick.

How many Scientologists does it take to screw in a light bulb?
Well it depends on whether they've been cleared of their engrams.

[On a talkshow, talking to anoher guest.] Were you on that show The Bachelor -- The Bachelor, with that degenerate. That man had bad breath, am I right, that's why you left the show. She left the show to get away from the stench of breath. And he had the sewer breath, didn't he. But you know the woman who won caught herpes from him. So it's very good you got out. She has got herpes. Raging case. It is a good thing you didn't win. You got out at just the right time, it's like the people who left the World Trade Center an hour before the planes flew into it.

Hey, gang, friends, friends, huh, well this is a community here, right, you all have each other's veneral diseases, right, you people make me so sick. But thankfully, thankfully, I took the money I made from tonight's show and invested it in a system that releases a cynaide gas spray over everyone here with the inclusion of myself so you can all descend with me to the nine planets that the cult that I'm a part of believe in. So we'll all be dying very shortly and going to these wonderful planets which are actually in the core of the earth, so do stick around, huh. Life as you know it is over, but you'll have as many free oranges and lemons as you want, they grow on these nine planets, it's really something. So glad you could be a part of this with me.


Why are M&M's full of chocolate?
Because it would be illegal to fill them full of shit.

Why did ET the Extra Terrestrial love Reese's pizzas so much?
Well because they have the same flavour that cum does on his own planet.

How do you keep your pet dog from licking his balls?
Coat them in Domino's pizza sauce.

Why did God create Domino's Pizza?
To punish humanity for their complacency at letting the Holocaust happen.

Why do Pringles employees get laid so often?
Because they can.

Why does Arby's put so much mayonnaise on their sandwiches?
It makes it easier to flush them down the toilet.

How do you keep flies from landing on your Big Mac?
Unwrap it.

Why did Ronald McDonald have sex with his sister?
His judgment was impaired from all those years of eating junk food.

Why does KFC come in a bucket?
So you have something to throw up into afterwards.

Why did the Sanders girls, Colonel Sanders' daughters, absolutely refuse to eat KFC's extra crispy fried chicken?
Well because it brought back too many bad memories of their late father's foreskin.

Why did Colonel Sanders keep his eleven herbs and spices a secret?
Because he was ashamed of them.

And why, why did, on his deathbed, why did Colonel Sanders on his deathbed reveal the secret of his eleven herbs and spices to Academy Award-nominated actress Sally Fields?
Well, because he was desperate for a handjob... Would that have been funnier if we had a black gospel choir behind me?


Why didn't Santa Claus give anything for Christmas to Osama Bin Laden last year?
Because he blew up the World Trade Center. No Sony Playstation 2 for you, Osama.

What do Osama Bin Laden and Chevy Chase have in common?
Neither one has released a new film in the last year.

What did the godfather of soul, the godfather of soul Gerald Ford have in common with disgraced vocalist James Brown and activist Saddam Hussein?
Well, all three men were very well hung.

Why did Angelina Jolie, sexual actress Angeline Jolie, and sensual actor Brad Pitt, choose to have their baby in a primitive medical facility in Namibia, a third-world hellhole?
Well, simply to have a scapegoat when the baby was born retarded... Did you get that on film asshole, huh? Sick creeps.

Why did Vice-President Dick Cheney shoot Texas attorney Harry Whittington.
Well, it was in retaliation for the Biggie Smalls murder... Hey they loved that joke in Dubai, I'm telling you.

Why did Julia Roberts rub shit on her vagina?
Because she was horny. Hey, don't blame me. I stole that joke from Kris Kristofferson.

What did Santa Claus give Paris Hilton for Christmas?
Well, he raped her.

Why did Robert Redford stick his cock in a jar of Paul Newman's spaghetti sauce?
Lots of spaghetti sauce fans in the crowd tonight. Good to see. Sauce enthusiast. For those... to repeat... for those whose ears are encrusted with venereal disease: Why did Paul Newman, no Robert Redford right, stick his cock in a jar of Paul Newman's spaghetti sauce?
Well, the two men have been friends for over 40 years, do you think he's gonna stick his cock in a competitor's product?

Why did God send Terri Schiavo to hell?
For the sin of sloth.

Why did God create herpes?
So Robin Williams could give something to his female fans that they couldn't just turn around and sell on eBay.

Did you guys hear the one about the paparazzi with the heart of gold?
He stole it from Princess Diana as she lay dying in her car.

Why did the United States government hire a former hotdog vendor to pull the switch that executed Timothy McVeigh?
Well, they thought he might relish the job.

Did you read that Timothy McVeigh killed a million more people the night before he was executed, huh? Yeah. He ejaculated onto the floor of his cell... [When no one laughs:] Could this be a generation gap.

All right, for his final meal, why did Timothy McVeigh request a bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken, a can of Pringles potato chips, a Nestle chocolate bar, and a Mountain Dew?
Because he had endorsement deals with all those companies... Sorry about that one.

Why did God create the Paris Hilton sex video tape?
Well, so that the mentally retarded would have something to masturbate to.

Hey is it just me, is it just me, or is George Bush the worst president in the history of the United States, huh. Am I right? Which makes it all the harder to understand why his son, George W, is the best president we've had in the United States.

[Alternative version: But these are difficult times, and it helps to have a sense of humour, doesn't it, ladies and gentlemen, with some of the things we've been going through in this country. I gotta tell you, I'm sure a few of you will agree, George Bush is the worst president this country has ever had, huh? Which is why it's so hard for me to understand why his son, George W Bush, has turned out to be the best president this country's ever had.]

But I'd like to take this opportunity to publicly thank the people of Italy for their help with the war effort. As you may have read in the newspaper today, the Italians were involved, they sent over Pavarotti into Iraq to eat all the Iraqis' spaghetti in an attempt to demoralize them... [When people groan:] Hey, come on, I have cancer.

Well I'd like to take this opportunity to thank the Phoenix Greyhound Park for hosting this annual event, because this is a great annual event, isn't it, ladies and gentlemen. It's just like Woodstock '99, but without all the rapes. And this is being filmed tonight for a DVD, although we will be editing that line from the broadcast. Been saddled with some substandard material here tonight, sorry about that.


Hey what do you call it folks, friends, what do you call it when decrepit old dogs regurgitate garbage just before dying -- what's the medical term for that?
The Rolling Stones in concert.

Why did Metallica cut their hair?
Their hairdresser said it was the only way to get all that matted cum out of it.

Why did God give Smashmouth three top ten singles?
Well, it was a clerical error -- he meant to give them all AIDS.

Why did the farmer start a punk rock band?
Well because he was tired of Haulin' Oats.

Why did Sir Mick Jagger shove a carrot up his daughter's ass?
He mistook her for a fan.

What do you get when you cross Elton John with a sabretooth tiger?
I don't know, but you'd better keep it away from your ass.

But you know the thing with this war that really confused me was why the United Kingdom was involved at all. I don't think we needed those guys -- do you? I mean, their military is in terrible shape. Look who they've got. They've got Sir Paul McCartney, Sir Elton John, Sir Mick Jagger, I mean these are hardly the knights of the round table... Okay. Well, moving right along.

Why did Jim Morrison, the dynamic lead singer of The Doors, die in a bathtub?
Well, he overexerted himself trying to clean the grime off of his balls.

Why did God give Motley Crue such abnormally large penises?
So that they'd be better equipped at dealing with the pain of life.

Why does Britney Spears sell so many millions of albums?
Because the public is horny and depressed.

How about Britney Spears' tits. Why didn't we just drop those on Iraq, huh. Talk about your biological warfare. I guess in her case it could more accurately be termed chemical warfare.

What do you call the creatures who are growing in the pile of potato chip wrappers and discarded g-strings behind Britney Spears' house?
Her children.

Why did Kevin Federline spray Britney Spears' caesarean section with Lysol disinfectant?
So it would be safe for fucking.

What do you call a senior citizen who can't refrain from exposing their genitalia in public?

Why did Madonna feed her infant baby Alpo dog food?
Well, she had no choice. That's just what came out of her breasts... These drug addicts like it, huh, why can't the rest of you.

Reach into my bag of tricks here, or more accurately my bag of shit. Why did Madonna wear a hat on the cover of her last two albums?
To try and cover up her bald spot.

What does British filmmaker Guy Richie have in common with Cheetos?
They both come in a plastic bag.

Times are tough for Michael Jackson. Over at Neverland, he recently had to shut down the juvenile VD clinic.

Why did Michael Jackson turn down $10,000,000 to advertise for McDonalds?
Because he doesn't find obese children at all sexually appealing.

Why did Michael Jackson dangle his infant son over the balcony of his hotel room?
He was punishing him for refusing to finish his plate of sperm.

Why did Michael Jackson put chocolate sauce on his hot dog?
So his children would eat it.

In keeping with the tradition he's had with his past albums of titling them after his various personality traits -- you know -- "bad", "dangerous", "off the wall" -- he's titling the first of these two new albums, to be released in July -- he's titling this first album "gay", and that'll be followed up in November with the second album, you know, "mentally ill".

What do you call five fingers that are grasping a small boy's penis?
The Jackson Five.

How many Red Hot Chilli Peppers does it take to screw in a lightbulb?
Well it depends on how recently they've shot up... [When no one laughs:] Well, we've got a few junkies here tonight, huh. Call the police, you people make me gag. Clean up your act, you're a disgrace to this clean city.

Did you guys hear, this was in the news, did you hear that Anthony Kiedis, the Grammy Award-winning composer of the Red Hot Chilli Peppers, finally joined the mile high club.
Yeah, he raped a woman in Denver.

Did you guys know that the Red Hot Chilli Peppers are the United States' foremost supporters of the mentally disabled.
That's right. For the past 20 years, without any public fanfare, at their own expense, they have been hiring these poor souls, the mentally disabled, hiring them to design their tattoos.

What is the only thing worse than a new album by the Red Hot Chilli Peppers?

Why did the Red Hot Chilli Peppers cross the road?
Well because they were running away from the rehab clinic.

Why are the Red Hot Chilli Peppers' veins in danger of collapsing?
Well because the band has had so many hits.

What do the Red Hot Chilli Peppers have in common with George W Bush?
Well both of them like to shoot up everything in sight.

What's the difference between the Red Hot Chilli Peppers and Harriet Taubman?
Well of course the great Harriet Taubman was a heroine to the slaves, the Red Hot Chilli Peppers are slaves to the heroin.

Why did the Red Hot Chilli Peppers go under the bridge?
Because there was a plate of shit there they wanted to jack off into.

What do you get when you cross the Red Hot Chilli Peppers with an octopus?
[Something] with eight arms to shoot up into.

What did the Red Hot Chilli Peppers do when their management informed them that they were not all happy with the band's latest tracks?
Well, they went out and bought long suede shirts.

All right, here's a crowd pleaser. Why did Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and the Big Bopper all retire from the music industry in 1959?
Well, because their vocal cords were all damaged in an accident.

How many Backstreet Boys does it take to screw in a light bulb?
They don't screw in light bulbs -- they're too busy screwing their audience.

Hey, here's one for you gang. What was Elvis Presley's worst ever release?
Well, the ejaculation containing Lisa Marie.

Why does Eric Clapton close his eyes during all of his guitar solos?
Well, because his audience is so ugly. That was in the news.

Why did Al-Qaeda burn in a public town square in Kabul, Afghanistan, over 10,000 copies of Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon" album?
Well, because it's a horrible album.

What was the name of the historical event at which hundreds of thousands of children were brutalized by a fascist dictatorship and then left out in the sun to die?
The Vans Warped Tour.

Why did NASA send a titanium copy of the latest Linkin Park album to every planet in our solar system?
Well, to kill off any interest that the aliens may have had in invading earth.

Why did two teenage boys crawl down into the bottom of a portable chemical toilet, down into the holding tank, and wait there for 15 hours?
[Alternative version: why did two teenage boys spend 15 hours in a holding tank of the chemical toilet?]
Well, because they wanted to meet Aerosmith.

What is the difference between Courtney Love and a porcupine?
Well, if you get pricked with a porcupine's needle, you're not likely to get AIDS.

What do you get when you cross the latest album by Courtney Love with a boomerang?
A shitty album you can't get rid of.

[You have to watch YouTube for this one.] And why won't Courtney Love, Courtney Love, why won't Courtney Love be having any cranberry sauce with her Christmas dinner this year?... Do they have Christmas in this town, or did they get rid of it? Do they have it? That is a nice holiday, am I right, you get to spend some time with family and friends around that tree exchanging presents -- and the food, oh boy, grandma's famous peach... the turkey stuffing... the honey-baked ham... the candy... All these great Christmas delicacies could make this day so much better, but Courtney Love, the widow Love, on Christmas Day of this year, won't be having any [gets the crowd to say "cranberry sauce"]. No [cranberry sauce]. No [cranberry sauce]. Oh guys, come on, that's miserable. That is miserable. You know, folks, three nights ago, three nights ago in this wonderful wonderful venue, on this fantastic stage, Motown's legendary Four Tops performed. And it was a sold out show and they did all their greatest hits, they did Reach Out... they did It's the Same Old Song... they did Ain't No Woman Like the One I've Got, Bernadette, Walk Away Renee, the hits just kept coming all night long, yet when the Four Tops got to their greatest song of all, a song that I'm sure you know, it's called I Can't Help Myself Sugar Pie Honey Bunch, when the Four Tops kicked in with that one, the entire crowd leapt to their feet to join in and sing along, it was an audience participation moment, one of those rare moments when audience and band became one. And yet three nights later on this very same stage, to a similar crowd, when America's youngest comedian Neil Hamburger tried to engage the crowd in his audience participation segment, the best they could muster up was a pathetic "cranberry sauce". Folks, I know you can do better, and I know you'd like to solve the riddle as to why Courtney Love won't be having any [cranberry sauce] for Christmas dinner, no [cranberry sauce] to go along with the green beans, to go along with the hot apple cider with the little cinnamon stick, all these wonderful delicacies, yet this great vocalist, Courtney Love, won't be having any [cranberry sauce] on Christmas Day, absolutely no [cranberry sauce], does anyone know why. I'll tell you why. Folks, the reason Courtney Love won't be having any [cranberry sauce] on Christmas Day is that in fact Courtney Love won't... be... having... Christmas dinner this year, no she's not even going to celebrate the Christmas holidays, if you can believe that. In fact, she will have died by then of a heroin overdose.

But thaaaaaaaat's my life. All right folks, we got one last joke for you, before the gas is released. Hey, what's the difference, what is the difference, between Courtney Love and the American flag?
Well, it would be wrong to urinate on the American flag.

Thank you ladies and gentlemen. My name is Neil Haaaaaambuuuuuuurger. You've been great. Good night. Fuck you.


Further reading

A small sampling of the Neil Hamburger pages out there...

-- Neil Hamburger's website

-- Neil Hamburger's MySpace

-- Neil Hamburger fansite

-- Wikipedia

-- T Magil, "Left for dead in Malaysia" (?1998): "Here's the set-up: Neil Hamburger is the worst comedian in the world, a walking advertisement that stand-up really is hard work and not just any juice-bar raconteur should take his act on the road. Almost every aborted joke he mewls is so completely off of the mark that, to some of us retreads it's a whole new form of comedy: anti-comedy, if you will, where the funniest jokes are the worst because they just ain't funny!... So he gets loaded on Mai Tais and drools into the mic for forty minutes. And just so you get it, really get it: there are no jokes."

-- Michael Frittenburg-Doyle, "No punchline necessary: A night of (anti) comedy with Neil Hamburger" (10 May 2005): "Back to the sweaty comedian in the cheap tux who started his show with guttural moans and snorts into the mic... Hamburger has a strange way of lulling you into a lowered set of expectations... And much like all of the truly great comedians, Neil Hamburger formulates an individualistic narrative spell of sorts with his concealed criticism of consumption and celebrity worship. He started the set with a barrage of tasteless and rather archetypal Michael Jackson jokes that left a lingering feeling that you heard your kid-brother dropping the same one at the dinner table a couple of weeks back. By about the tenth Jackson-the-child-molester joke, I got really nervous. I wondered if I was in store for an entire night of 'Why did Michael Jackson hang his kid out of the window of that hotel?' And that's when I found myself starting to laugh."

-- Jon Niccum, "Hamburger: king of comedy" (25 April 2007): "Hamburger is the current poster boy for un-comedy. Itís an ideology first popularized by the late Andy Kaufman... How funny can being awkward, outdated, whiny and pitiful be? In Hamburgerís case, pretty funny... The jokes are horrible kinda like your creepy uncleís jokes, and you laugh because they are so bad... 'Weíre trying to keep things fresh,' Hamburger says of his act. 'You donít want to go too far out of date, so weíre doing some Gerald Ford material".

-- Sally Kay Buck, "Hot Ham" (26 July 2007): "Perseverance is what comedian Neil Hamburger is best known for. Perhaps driving 700 miles a day and performing stand-up shows 399 times a year has a little something to do with it... Many of his jokes, delivered in a weird monotone voice, begin with 'And, why did...' and end in awkward silence."

-- Dallas Walzak, "Hamburger Helper" (12 October 2007): "Hamburger designs his stand up to magnify the silence of the room, mock his guise, and piss on the entire genre of comedy altogether... He proudly states, 'Iíve performed in bowling alleys, pizza parlours, a submarine sandwich shop in Kill Devil Hills, NC, a couple of weddings, a casino in Las Vegas, a Mongolian BBQ restaurant.'"

-- Seattlest, "Hamburger Busts The Funnies" (10 November 2005): "His several live albums released over the last decade demonstrate his inability to connect with audiences (especially on Left for Dead in Malaysia, in which the local audience doesn't understand English)."

-- Stephen Cramer, "Neil Hamburger" (27 June 2007): "Those unfamiliar with the tuxedo-wearing comedian with the greasy hair, awkward pauses and perpetual cocktail in hand should know that, despite Hamburger's lethargic and uncomfortable stage presence, the audience is most definitely laughing with him, not at him."

-- Ben Kharakh, "Neil Hamburger 4" (28 August 2007): "Neil Hamburger is the reigning king of anti-humor, a title that's earned him plenty of fans, twice as many enemies, and not nearly as much money. When he takes the stage, which he does more than 300 times a year, he dons the same outfit he's worn every night for over a decade: a shabby tuxedo. He sweats profusely and clears his throat constantly, wrestling with a ball of phlegm that might be older than his suit... Audience members groan, boo and curse his name." -- Amusing interview, and then, much like this post, it drags. But if you plough through it, you do get to read about defaced Bibles, mind-controlled audiences, the cocksucker who stole material from him, how the only chance older men have at sex is insecure teenage girls, the fans who try to drug Neil Hamburger, give him herpes, and build lifesize robots of him, etc. "I do believe in reincarnation because night after night, it's the same... I do believe I'll be reincarnated again after death, as another entertainer forced to perform 491 shows per year, which is what we're on pace to do this year thanks to some of the triple-headers."

-- Johnson Cummins, "Tears of a Clown" (23 August 2007): "Neil Hamburger, whose jokes have often silenced rooms -- a true measure of his comedic genius... " Hamburger comments on the current crop of young stars: "They all seem to be sick in the head. They go to rehab, get out and go straight to the closest tavern and then make a record of music that sounds like somebody crapping in a bowl. They send a message to the young people that if they crap in a bowl or stab themselves in the eye with a compass, they can become famous and thatís just not true." Hamburger comments on why he often opens for rock bands: "Well, itís really a numbers game and promoters figure they would rather have me on stage getting booed by 500 people than play to three people who simply donít care."

David Whitehouse, "Dead meat" (20 January 2007): "Neil Hamburger slowly shuffles onto the stage like an arthritic Columbo. He's wearing a soiled tuxedo, his hair is plastered across his forehead with slobber and he's spilling the three vodka and tonics under his arm all over his trousers. The crowd fall silent as he approaches the microphone, where he spends two minutes audibly clearing phlegm from his throat. They begin to boo and hiss... Half an hour later the same 5,000 people are chanting 'WANKER! WANKER! WANKER!', throwing coins at Neil's head and threatening to storm the stage... I first heard of Neil Hamburger three years ago. A friend told me of an American stand-up comedian who made his living by dying, a bumbling, angry drunk who loathes his audience almost as much as he pities himself... He had the comic timing of a birthday heart attack and his attempts at audience participation were so misguided they nearly always ended in violence. He looked like a pervert's pervert, and dealt solely in outdated references, rubbish punnery and twisted Christmas cracker jokes... What was funny was the reaction he got, how he dealt with it and how far he could take it before he got lynched. It's anti-humour, approached in a kamikaze style... Eventually he runs out of time and with the words 'Goodnight cocksuckers,' Neil signs off."

-- Mark Pringle, reviews of Hamburger CDs: "Neil misses and misses and misses again. He is godawful for a full forty minutes this time around... In short, he sucks. Buy his records!" Pringle also makes the comment, which I think insightful, that Hamburger isn't that funny without an audience. Some of the funniest moments are when the audience gets really annoyed at him, or vice versa.

-- Tom Scharpling, "Laughs, Love and Life with Neil Hamburger" (1997): "I like a lot of the new music. Of course, my personal taste is for Country and Western, like Kenny Rogers, Lionel Richie, Neil Diamond, those guys, that sort of thing. But I don't mind Kenny G. or some of the other new music either. Have you heard that song 'Smooth Operator'? That's the sort of newer thing that I hope catches on more as a trend. I don't know who it is." Scharpling also notes, "You utilize many different styles of comedy in your act (jokes, social commentary, physical humor)."

-- Richard von Busack, "Patty Melt" (May 2003): "career could be summed up by the title of the Sonny Bono song 'Laugh at Me (but I'll Pray for You).'"

-- Ben Sinclair, "Chomp! Neil Hamburger at Hemlock Tavern" (2007): "at one point he launched into a series of compliments directed at a few women in front of the stage. Someone yelled, 'Tell some jokes!' Hamburger then accused him of having no respect for 'these pretty laaadies'".

-- Joseph Kyle, interview (23 October 2006) -- asks great questions, including why Hamburger used to be observational, but now is straightforward jokes, and rather blue. Hamburger responds: "Eventually, what happened was some of these Rock and Roll musicians started putting me on their concert bills, and suddenly, you're performing for large crowds. All of a sudden there are people coming, and we've built what they call a 'cult following,' by 'cult' I don't mean there's a mass suicide or any funny business like that. I mean there are people who come to my shows, they buy the merchandise, and are very excitable. So when we hit that level of success and we're not really a success, by any standard definition of the term, but to go from playing pizza parlors for six people with that style to finding out that I could perform in Rock and Roll Clubs to a hundred people, then you've got to change the act for what people want. What those kinds of people want is filth humor and the humor that has to do with the current musicians of the day, and that type of thing. So, naturally, it evolved, like any comedian who's had a career as long as mine would, you'd find a certain level of evolution. If you don't evolve, you're like Carrot Top, and it means you're successful, and you have no reason to change. In my case, we're doing everything we can to avoid financial ruin... That is why we went blue. At first, I was really uncomfortable with it; I didn't have those tools in my suitcase, as you may have heard on my first of many X-Rated albums, Raw Hamburger. I was still learning the vocabulary of the filth comedian. But now, I've spent a lot of time in the sewer, and I'm ready for anything... among the bowel movements and spilled bodily fluids and those sorts of things, you do have room to put out the Truth, as Mr. Pryor was able to do. Look past the filth, and you'll find a deeper meaning, and for Mr. Pryor, I believe his track record backs it up. He was able to do just that, though I did not care for See No Evil, Hear No Evil." Kyle also asks him to find a punchline for "Why did Neil Hamburger cross the road?". Hamburger responds: "To get in line at the welfare office."

-- Ben Kharakh again, "Neil Hamburger, Comedian" (18 August 2006): a too-long interview, but worth a skim -- Hamburger says many hilarious things -- complains about management, talks about selling for Amway, offers to wash cars for fans, etc. What does he think about on those long 700 miles-a-day drives? "A lot of self-criticism, theories about what my ex-wife is doing sexually, and thoughts about the success of other comedians." Does he keep up with current events? "Sometimes, if you go to these trashcans in the rest areas, you can find some of these USA today papers and that's where I get a lot of the information. Some of the jokes come directly out of that paper." What does he do after a performance? "I generally don't have a choice. It's not what I like to do it's what I have to do, which is get to the next show. If you've got a lot of driving the next day, you might drive a couple of hours afterward just to get a head start. Or you can drive to a rest area or parking lot where you can get some sleep. The Days Inn often has parking lot where so many of their clientele have beat up old cars that they won't notice if another one pulls in. And they're not going to notice me sleeping in the car unless they peer into the window. You can't sleep anywhere or you'll get arrested for loitering or vagrancy. You got to find a place that no one will notice and then you can get that sleep."

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2 Comments. [ Add A Comment ]

Comment by Anonymous

June 10th 2008 20:52
his name is mark PRINDLE not mark PRINGLE

Comment by Anonymous

September 7th 2010 15:46
Yeah but his cum tastes like Pringles.

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