Arts & Culture » Culture

Unfunny man


Stand-up comedians have raided just about every gimmick available: Carrot Top’s goofy props, Chris Rock’s filthy mouth, Margaret Cho’s imitation of her mom. … It seems like it’s all been done.

Neil Hamburger, however, has found one stone left unturned in the comedy world.

This funnyman’s shtick: He’s not funny. Really not funny — which, in turn, makes him quite funny.

Confused? That’s probably the way jokester Gregg Turkington wants it. Turkington is the creator of Hamburger, his profoundly unamusing alter ego. Hamburger, bedecked in nerdy black specs and a frumpy tux, spews forth such total bombs as “Why did the Backstreet Boys engage in anal sex? Because they were feeling disconnected from their music!”

It’s definitely a “you had to be there” type thing.

During a phone interview, Turkington stays in “Hamburger” mode the entire time, his dry wit unrelenting. He cautions potential audience members of the danger of one of his shows:

“People are laughing so hard their sides are splitting, so we try to book these shows as close as possible to medical facilities.”

Hamburger then goes on to describe the possible infection that can occur when one’s intestines go spilling out onto a filthy nightclub floor.

“I would recommend if you come to my show, you bring some rubbing alcohol or hydrogen peroxide. One guy at a show last week, his side split and he tried to disinfect it with his vodka tonic.”

Hamburger is hopeful his show at the Magic Stick will be well-attended, “because I’m sinking into financial despair.”

And, the audience can expect a couple of laughs.

“I had to get a new suitcase, because the old one split with all the laughs I was carrying.”

Split sides, split suitcases?

“Yeah, there’s a lot of splitting,” Hamburger admits. “Hopefully there won’t be a lot of spitting, but I’ve had that too.”

Neil Hamburger performs on Tuesday, Oct. 19, at the Magic Stick, 4120 Woodward Ave., Detroit. Tickets are $8. For more information, call 313-833-9700.

Sarah Klein is a Metro Times staff writer. Send comments to [email protected]

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