Notes on “Left for Dead in Malaysia”

In these troubled times, it’s more important than ever that people have the opportunity to enjoy a good laugh. Well, my job is making people laugh.” These are the opening two lines to Steve Moramarco’s short film “Left for Dead in Malaysia” starring “America’s Funnyman” Neil Hamburger. Music for the short film includes a song from Mimicry Records’ recording artist, The Secret Chiefs 3.

The film opens in an “exotic” nightclub in Kuala Lumpur and quickly moves to Neil Hamburger on-stage drinking and visibly uncomfortable. His manager, Art Huckman, seems to be the only English speaking audience member in attendance. While on-stage, realizing that apart from himself and his manager, no one speaks English, Hamburger’s “jokes” move quickly away from humor and into self-focused rants in his own language. At one point he even consults a phrase book, but quickly gives up.

From across the night club, we see a mysterious figure with an eye patch adding tension to the situation. Huckman, meanwhile disappears into another part of the club, transfixed by two hostesses. This scene is juxtaposed with the eye patch wearing man, laughing maniacally. I assume that this mysterious figure would portray the villain in the full-length.

It seems that this film was to be a precursor to another film called “Funny Guy-Itis,” although it has been awhile now since this short film was made and it seems doubtful that the “Funny Guy-Itis” project is still underway. Meanwhile, Hamburger has been gaining more and more television attention, through his visits to the Fox TV show, “Red Eye” where he offers various social commentary on American pop culture. Also, anyone who used to watch the Tom Green channel, will be well familiar with Neil Hamburger’s frequent appearances and short-lived cult show, “Poolside Chats with Neil Hamburger.”

The “Left for Dead in Malaysia” short is featured on the “The World’s Funnyman” DVD released through Hamburger’s record label, Drag City. The DVD features the hour long “That’s Not Gold, That’s Dung!” live show in Australia, Canadian and Australian documentaries about his work, and more. If you are interested in Neil Hamburger’s stand-up and want to gain some perspective on his work, this DVD is a nice place to start.

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