Neil Hamburger – Toff in Town 19 July

What did Larry Mullin Jr say to Bono when he saw him at the urine drinking club?

U2

Why did the nurse euthanize her patient?

Because he was a member of Dire Straights

That is just a snippet of the new material Neil Hamburger gave the loyal full house at the Toff in Town. For those unfamiliar with Americans Funny man, those two jokes will tell you whether you/ll laugh or cringe at Hamburgers act.

Ugly Dave Gravy in his book mentioned he doesn/t like joke books, as there is a massive difference between reading a joke and hearing it. Hamburger is a perfect example of this. Reading the above jokes, or hearing em second hand does not do justice to what a genius his act is. Hamburgers act is sad, lame and pathetic, and that/s what make him hilarious. A hack Vegas comedian complete with comb over and tuxedo and glasses, never has failure been so funny. To some it will be painful and depressing and Neil would be the MC at the comedy club in Hell. For those that get it you won/t stop laughing which is what I did and the crowd at the Toff did as well.

I first heard Neil when he was on Jay and the Doctor, I listened to this guy with a funny voice thinking this gut aint funny what the fuck is he on the radio for. Later I saw a Frenzal Rhomb gig with him telling jokes before the band. After a minute it gets hostile as the audience wants to see the band they paid to see. All of a sudden it clicked ah I see. Straightaway I tried to find any Hamburger material I could find. Hot February Night is the greatest comedy LP of the last 20 years. Neil opening for Tenacious D at Madison Square Garden.  A full house of 20,000 people aving to put up with R Rated dad jokes for 30 minutes before the main act comes on. After five minutes of performer audience cooperation its gets ugly with boos, jeers and insults as Neil is in an uphill battle to finish his set. When he says if you laugh at my Courtney Love Joke i/ll get off, the crowd agrees and when he gets a massive pop he says i/ll give you another 5 minutes, and at that point they want his blood. It/s the most painfully funny thing I ever heard and made me consider Gregg Turkington, the man behind the glasses, a genius. So much so when he played at the Melbourne Comedy Festival a few years ago I saw him three times. A lot of the jokes where the same but I didn/t care, each night I thought I was gonna die of laughter.

Neil calls it hate comedy, some call it anti comedy or performance art, either way it/s brilliant.

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Neil Hamburger with disgraced reviewer

I catch the end of Dr El Suavos DJ set, where he picks on a blokes whoes a banker, I think I cant remember. When Doc mentions Neil is almost ready the crowd are pumped, but it turns to hate when he mentions Dave Hughes has been a replacement. Dave aint worthy to hold Neils gin n tonic glasses. The bad Doctor also mentions Adam Richard which gets more jeers but mentions the good review he gave Neil at the Comedy Festival. Which I saw at the time, which had be scratching my head. Adam made a career giving Big Brother and celebrity gossip updates, essentially kissing whoever/s “celebrity” arse he can find for his pissweak material, something Neil would ever do. But on him for the plug.

Neil enters with three cocktail glasses in tow, and a number to open. Off the bat regular target KISS cop it New targets include Bad Company and Queen, while one of my least favourite  people Mike Love copped it, onya Neil. Possibly Neils greatest inspiration Gene Simmons gets a full ten minutes of venom, including the dirty tactics behind Genes new restaurant in a Los Angelus Airport. One heckler had the nerve to ask what Gene Simmons did to him, blocked me on Twitter came the reply. The first heckler got a full three –four minutes roast, with Neil asking after the show for this fella to put on his own gig and see how many people show up.

Classic Hamburger jokes such as at what point do Enrique Iglesias fans throw up and why didn/t Liza Minnelli put her vodka bottles in the recycling bin all get a run? Unfortunately we don/t get the birthday Joke as it was no ones birthday. One bloke said it was his birthday yesterday but he didn/t ask if it was his birthday yesterday so he got a lashing. The end result was Neil telling a joke which ended with getting Foo Fighters tickets on your birthday, something I would never wish on anyone.

I was also glad to see one of my favourites Ace Frehley wasn/t on the joke card. One of the cocktail glasses breaks, my mate Jeff and the bar staff jump to action and replace the drink. One more song and we/re done, another killer gig. Some jokes ive heard before but I didn/t laugh any less then i did the first time I heard it. This man can/t do a bad gig. Well, a gig that doesn/t ave the crowd in stiches.

After the show I buy Neils new tape, and bug him, or Gregg as hes dropped the character but still in uniform for a picture. Theres a reason I saw him three times at the comedy festival. Hes for my money one of the five best comedians of the last twenty years. A real alternative act, smart and witty and where everyone cops it, no more than the bloke with the microphone. As Neil describes its hate comedy, and he possibly has the most hate for himself. Him or Gene Simmons.

If you aint seen him live I can/t recommend his show enough, a must see.

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