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Neil Hamburger: Raw Hamburger

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Neil Hamburger

Album: Raw Hamburger
Label: Drag City

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There is, believe it or not, an alternative stand-up-comedy scene, and Neil Hamburger is a big part of it. Hamburger is one of the funniest things going these days, and no one else is even trying what he's perfected—the trick of creating hilarious, top-notch comedy by playing the worst comedian in the world. His timing is painful, his delivery is labored, and his jokes aren't jokes, but that's the whole idea. It's anti-humor, the brilliant, insightful form of comedy currently practiced by only the most daring, and among stand-up comics by few other than Hamburger. Raw Hamburger is his Lenny Bruce turn, upon which he explores the comedic potential of profanity and forbidden topics; he finds it in the fact that these things haven't been funny for years, if ever. Hamburger isn't afraid to use old material; he's invented a sort of humor-necrophilia in which he lovingly fondles gags that have been dead for years, like VCR clocks, airplane food, fat wives, and the idea of stand-up comedy in general. It's painful, it's hilarious, and it's unique. Raw Hamburger's only flaw may be that of all great comedy: It's so hit-or-miss and so smart at the same time that many won't get it.