Known as America’s Funnyman, Neil Hamburger has, for nearly two decades, maintained a relentless touring schedule to bring laughter to America’s bars, pizzerias and even greyhound race tracks. He’s appeared on television and onstage at Madison Square Garden. He’s released comedy albums on Drag City Records and he’s even lent his name to an iPhone application. He’s certainly a tireless worker. What keeps him going? The same reason most of us go to work each day: to pay off debt.
The poor guy owes tens of thousands of dollars to an unscrupulous talent agency, alimony to an ex-wife and an unspecified amount to a rental-car company for a collision involving a horse. Who’s the winner in this tragic arrangement? We the laughing public. Let’s hope Hamburger can never manage to keep the creditors at bay. Let’s hope that his life remains an endless nightmare of financial toil so we can keep on enjoying his act and laughing at his pathetic life.
Hamburger was kind enough to accept a phone call. We chatted about many things, in a conversation steered by America’s Funnyman. Here are just a few of the interesting things that came out of his mouth.
On Charlie Sheen:
“This guy’s collecting money for slobbering his way through a sitcom, vomiting between every take. They don’t show that, but I guarantee that the director says cut and he turns his head to the side and gets it all over his neck. And they have to get someone to clean it up for the next take. The guy’s walking around, permanently covered in VD because of his obsession with this pornography star.”
On Sheen’s Pornography Starlet friends:
“Well a lot of these people have disease. You can’t be a druggie and have sex with Charlie Sheen. That’s how you get disease right there. They smell like a wet dog. It’s not even because they have a dog, they just smell like a wet dog. Because they’re living the life of a wet dog.”
“I’m not the person to ask. I’m divorced. That’s like going to a pastry chef and saying ‘bake a wedding cake.’ And after this guy spends a couple hours baking a wedding cake and later, it just falls flat, there’s no air in it. The wedding is ruined. You’re going to ask this guy how to bake a cake? I failed. I have no advice.”
On Britney Spears:
“Where has it even been said, that the right thing to do is to find someone who is seriously mentally [ill], take them out of the insane asylum, put a G-string on them, and have them grind a bunch of dancers and grind dildos on stage? The woman needs help. Instead they put her in fishnet stalkings and a pointed brassiere and push her out on stage. They’re putting a mentally ill woman out there to sing to a tape while her audience masturbates to it. That’s not right.”
On his iPhone app, “Shaky Advice from Neil Hamburger”:
“The way it works is you pay 99 cents and you put it on your iPhone. And then you ask it a question. For instance, ‘Should I go to a baseball game tonight?’ And then you shake your phone. You shake it as hard as you can. And then there will be a short video clip, starring myself, giving the answer to your question. It’s very scientific. If you were to say, ‘Should I eat dog feces for dinner?,’ it’s very likely I will answer ‘no.’ Once you pay the 99 cents, it’s yours for life. You can literally ask it 100,000 questions. I think that’s a pretty good value. Even if you’re not satisfied, big deal. You’re out 99 cents, go fuck yourself.”
20 nights of summer laughter