It isn't every day that Memphis gets to experience a genuine groundbreaker within the realm of stand-up comedy. Save for Andy Kaufman, Neil Hamburger has gifted the world with the strangest career ever to grace the genre.
Starting off as a very underground spoof of Borscht Belt/pre-Vietnam-era Vegas stand-up comedians and then the entire history of awful comedians, Hamburger turned flopsweat into something funny, unique, and very strange. Over the past 13 years, he (aka Gregg Turkington) has parlayed an "either you get it or you don't" cultish following into major motion picture appearances (Tenacious D in the Pick of Destiny), a hilarious DVD (The World's Funnyman), and seven albums (all on Drag City, Hamburger's home for his entire career). He regularly kills on Jimmy Kimmel Live! and Tom Green Live (Green's very popular Internet show) and riffed supreme on Fox News' Red Eye program. (Hamburger congratulated Red Eye host Greg Gutfeld on his recent Emmy Award, "even though you won it on eBay.") Still not biting? Search YouTube for clips of Hamburger's act.
Depending on your capacity for purposely poor timing, perpetual coughs and throat-clearings (directly into the microphone for a near-deafening impact), truly offensive material, spectacular crowd counter-heckling, and at times, simply amazing jokes, this performance is not to be missed.
Neil Hamburger, Tuesday, June 26th, 9 p.m. at the Hi-Tone Cafe