The good works of Tim Heidecker and Neil Hamburger
More Roll Call
- 6 highlights of UWM’s 35th Annual Latin American Film Series
- He’s your man: 4 films featuring the music of Leonard Cohen
- 3 offbeat films you won’t want to miss at UWM Union Theatre this winter
- Urban hermits, twisted testicles, and the 2012 Milwaukee Zine Fest
- The A.V. Club’s guide to Milwaukee fall album releases
After the massive Shrim healing wrought upon our world by this year’s Tim And Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie, it’s more difficult than ever to detach the Tim Heidecker from the Eric Wareheim. But Heidecker’s mind shattering extends beyond the partnership that yielded Tim And Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! and Tom Goes To The Mayor, with much of his finest, most charitable endeavors shared with anti-comedian Neil Hamburger (né Gregg Turkington). Hamburger—whose 2011 live album was recorded at Jack White’s Third Man Records in Nashville—has turned up frequently on Awesome Show, appears (as Turkington) on the On Cinema podcast with Heidecker, and the pair are currently touring together, with a stop planned for July 29 at Shank Hall. In advance of the show, The A.V. Club examined some of the other good works of the Heidecker-Hamburger connection.
Raising money for Japanese tsunami relief
When the world was left aghast at the unfathomable destruction and human suffering brought upon by the earthquake and resultant tsunami that hit Japan last year, many good people rushed to help in any way they could. As Tiny Mixtapes reported, for Hamburger that included offering a rare recording from 1994, super early in his career, for the low asking price of a $5 donation to an organization like the Red Cross providing aid to those affected by the storm. As more incentive, Hamburger and Heidecker recorded a new 10-minute comedy track and promised it would become available only after they had proof of $10K in donations to Red Cross Japan. While Gilbert Gottfried was busy losing his AFLAC gig due to jokes at the Japanese people’s expense, actually funny comedians were showing the world how much they cared.
Warning against viewing Yogi Bear
At the dawn of the live action-animation shit voyage Yogi Bear took to the big screen—with Dan Aykroyd voicing Yogi and Justin Timberlake talking for Boo Boo—the future seemed so unclear. Would this “motion picture” reverse the cycle of life on Earth? Could it come to life and eat all the babies? Those questions lingered so immensely that it must have come as a huge relief when Heidecker and Hamburger took to Twitter to deliver countless, totally hilarious warnings of the ramifications of Yogi Bear. The tweets included updates about which nations sentenced the stars of Yogi Bear to death, news that Taco Bell was adding the stars’ feces to meat to simulate the viewing experience, and requests to pray for Yogi Bear actors “whose shame and self-disgust is crippling all aspects of their personal lives.” Despite the tremendously funny T.J. Miller being the movie, Heidecker and Hamburger saw the film for the apocalypse that it is and did mankind the great service of warning against its evils in the funniest way possible.
Attempting to save the game show
Following the success of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, every primetime game show seemed to adopt the same glittery airplane hangar set and celebrity host formula. It was as if Regis Philbin’s matching tie and shirt foretold the deep, dark depths, with Guy Fieri hollering up from the bottom. But Heidecker and Hamburger saw a different fate and concocted The New Big Ball With Neil Hamburger for Adult Swim on the Cartoon Network, a strange, impassioned game show Heidecker described as a mix of a “Japanese bizarre game show and The Price Is Right,” which everyone knows is the best game show of all time. Maybe this show would have heralded in some freakish hybrid of Win Ben Stein’s Money and Viva Variety and perhaps it could have developed the cultish following of Jeopardy. No one will ever know because the network rejected the pilot, which, if it was because it was just too odd for Adult Swim, is really saying something. It’s a shame, but credit has to go out to Heidecker and Hamburger for taking a noble shot at injecting some well-deserved weirdness into the primetime game show formula.