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Nothing To Show
Nothing Up My Sleeve!
Show type: Edinburgh Fringe 2010
America's Funnyman has thrilled and bewildered audiences worldwide with his hilarious, subversive and uncompromising comedy, now he makes his festival debut.
A phlegm-filled sack of putrid self-loathing, Neil Hamburger is the perfect satire of a slick, professional nightclub comedian. If you’ve ever suspected that behind the glossy veneer of fake bonhomie of those permasmile acts lies an ugly, embittered, grotesque soul – well Hamburger is that demon made flesh.
In some living Sisyphean hell, every night he dons his tuxedo, greases down his hair and ploughs through the vile set that disgusts even him, just so he can earn a three-piece chicken dinner. Three minutes in to this performance, he asks out of desperate hope of release from this misery: ‘How are we doing for time?’
His contempt for his own pitiful existence is surpassed only for his contempt for the audience who compel him trudge through his despicable cavalcade of jokes. And my, these gags are certainly not for the faint of heart, as he plumbs the depths of depravity for the sake of a laugh.
He often needs hugely convoluted set-ups to place his celebrity victims into positions where he can slam them with the most viciously evil insults. Some of these are the usual suspects – Madonna or Michael Jackson, say – but he’ll pull no punches with even the most obscure targets. Hamburger is a man who seems to harbour a genuine acrid resentment for the minor success of Smashmouth or Blink 182.
The monstrous creation of character comic Gregg Turkington, Hamburger is hilarious because of the seemingly limitless extent of his extremes. The jokes get laughs because they go so far beyond the pale that they come full circle back to being funny again. But then sometimes they get laughs because they are so abysmally poor in the extreme, too.
They are all delivered with an overblown Vegas theatrically that ill-suits the shambolic figure on stage. The punchline isn’t just ‘Robin Williams’ but ‘Miiiiister Rrrrobin Williams!’. And if you’re lucky, the man who gave himself the title America’s Funnyman will tag it with his catchphrase that neatly misses the style of his material entirely: ‘Thaaaat’s my life!’
Hamburger will, however, divide opinion. There is a good chance you’ll hate this character as much as he hates himself. Walkouts are common, and his reputation is almost entirely based on him antagonising music fans by warming up for acts such as Tenacious D and Faith No More. Although ‘warming up’ is probably an inappropriate term given the hostility he engenders.
But savvy, open-minded Fringers who want to witness something truly extraordinary should devour Hamburger with relish.
|Date of live review: Sunday 22nd Aug, '10|
Review by Steve Bennett
I really enjoyed this act & the review's spot on.
I saw Turkington doing Neil Hamburger during the aforementioned warm up slots for Tenacious D. One of the most fascinating and bizarre performances I've ever seen. Calling a stand up "brave" is a cliche that is rightly mocked, but watching Hamburger dodge bottles and coins for a full thirty minutes in between astonishingly off colour jokes carefully selected to enrage the audience as much as possible (gay jokes about Metallica, gags about Cobain's suicide etc) I genuinely feared for his safety. The sheer over-the-top viciousness of the material and the uncalled for brutality of the punchlines IS genuinely funny though and I'd definitely see him again.