Neil Hamburger | Constellation | Stand-Up | Chicago Reader

Neil Hamburger Brief Run (Theater) Critic's Choice Recommended The Short List (Theater)

When: Fri., Sept. 17 2010

It's a comment on how irrevocably choadish the neighborhood has become that so many attending the Do Division Street Fest this past June seemed to have no appreciation for America's Funnyman, Neil Hamburger. As Hamburger (aka Gregg Turkington) regaled the audience with jokes like "Why did Julia Roberts rub shit on her vagina? Because she was horny," I personally saw more than one Carrie Bradshaw clone turn to her friends and say, "Ohmah gah, this is so not fun-nay!" Did they not see him in Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny? or on Jimmy Kimmel Live!? The act has been around for so long--Hamburger first appears on Turkington's 1992 underground classic record, Great Phone Calls, begging the doorman of a comedy club to listen to a small sample of his act--that until then I'd have assumed anyone enjoying a fine afternoon of independent rock 'n' roll music would be, you know, hip to it. Here's a tip: he's funny because he's so not fun-nay. And it's been fascinating to watch the paradox become more profound with each passing year. What started out as a hilarious parody of the inherent lameness of stand-up has evolved into a more nuanced portrait of the loneliness of the long-distance comic--bombing yet soldiering on, night after night, through divorce, management troubles, and audience reactions ranging from indifference to hostility, hoping against hope that maybe this next joke will resonate. Also on the bill: the Kenny "K-Strass" Strasser Yo-Yo Extravaganza and Major Entertainer Mike H. --Brian Costello

Price: $15


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