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  • mono 7:36 pm on September 28, 2008 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , Kuala Lumpur, Left for Dead in Malaysia, Neil Hamburger, , Red Eye, , Tom Green   

    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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  • mono 11:07 pm on August 19, 2008 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Americas Funnyman, , , Influences, , Neil Hamburger, Sings Country Winners, Three Questions,   

    Three Questions with America’s Funnyman Neil Hamburger 

    Neil Hamburger

    One person who has continually impressed us at “The Eyeslit-Crypt” and throughout the years is the prolific artist/entertainer, “America’s Funnyman,” Neil Hamburger. From his older material on Amarillo records to his new country album on Drag City records and everything in between, Mr. Hamburger has consistently amused us with his razor sharp observations of contemporary news and pop culture, his charming fashion sense and his ability to send us into epileptic fits of uncontrolled laughter. Several months ago, we briefly wrote about “Poolside Chats with Neil Hamburger,” which I still believe to be the most interesting and engaging call-in/talk show that I have ever seen.

    We caught up with Neil Hamburger for the second installment of our “Three Questions” series (although, it is actually four questions). This comes on the heels of his glorious album “Sings Country Winners,” which has been one of my perpetual soundtracks for driving my pick-up truck through the lonely backwoods of Northern Michigan while on vacation. One thing that struck me was the range of “country” music that is employed on this album. Moving beyond parody, this album actually seems to open a true country space, an authenticity of country, channeling the ghosts of the great country singers of old.

    So, without any further ado, I present to you “Three Questions with Neil Hamburger.”

    1. What musicians, if any, inspired you on the “Sings Country Winners” album?

    Neil Hamburger: We were inspired by the “Bakersfield Rebels” compilation CD (low budget Bakersfield country circa 1969), as well as Porter Wagoner, Glen Campbell, Merle Haggard, John Entwistle, Ferlin Husky’s “Walkin’ and Hummin’ album, and in particular, the Telly Savalas track “Rubber Bands and Bits of String”.

    2. Do you read a lot on the road? If so, what are some Neil Hamburger literary recommendations?

    Neil Hamburger: I read a lot of newspapers, usually at least a week out of date. I find them in recycling bins after midnight, in residential neighborhoods.

    3. What is your favorite food while on tour?

    Neil Hamburger: Rice, or chickpeas.

    4. Or, if you are interested, It would be great to hear what Neil Hamburger thinks about “noise” music.

    Neil Hamburger: I think it’s awful.


    We, at The Eyeslit-Crypt, would like to thank Mr. Hamburger for taking the time to share his thoughts with us and, of course, we wish him all the best in his comedic and musical endeavors.

    Fortunately for those of you lucky enough to be in North America, Neil Hamburger is hitting the road again. Please see his Myspace page for tour date information and remember to help support Neil by digging deep into your pockets and spending some money on a man worthy of your hard-earned money.

    Neil’s Myspace with updated Tour dates
    Music Video for “Jug Town”
    America’s Funnyman Site
    Drag City Records: Neil Hamburger

  • mono 9:53 pm on March 22, 2008 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Andy Dick, , , , , Neil Hamburger, Obscene Voice, , Reflections, Semblance of Failure, Trouble With Being Born,   

    Reflections on “Poolside Chats With Neil Hamburger” 

    Poolside ChatsImage via Wikipedia

    The beauty of “Poolside Chats with Neil Hamburger” is the over-arching technical distractions, communicative disruption of the callers and anomalous-humorous confrontations perpetuated by the shows host Neil Hamburger. That is to say, overworked by “garbage” minded call-ins, faulty microphones and having access to an open bar, Hamburger assaults, demeans and controls the show creating and effectively working his comedic slander through a, what could be called:  semblance of failure.

    The episode with the talented musician/actor Bonnie “Prince” Billy (Will Oldham) perpetuates this semblance of failure by starting off with microphone problems followed immediately by a slew of humiliating phone calls, a bloody drug-using Billy, an uninvited Andy Dick and the presence of “the pool guy” who lurks in the background throughout almost the entire episode. Moreover, credits roll midway and one guest, distracted, licks a spider.

    E.M. Cioran in his book “The Trouble With Being Born” wrote, “An existence transfigured by failure.” It is this transfiguration that “Poolside Chats” seems to feed off. That is, the beauty of this show is its insistence upon failure (the failure of interesting callers and the failure of electronic equipment that plagues almost every episode), its utilization of failure (by always calling attention to it) and a general sense of humorous dis-comfort reliant upon the tone of disaster.

    Moreover, it is the unpredictability of the “obscene voice” that is the most unsettling aspect of this show. That is to say, the voice of the callers float over the scene, disruptive and unpredictable adding to the uneasiness of the experiencing of the show. The viewer cannot see the callers, but must suffer the gaze of the host and his guests. The disconnection of voice and body creates an ominous yet comedic atmosphere.

    Cioran also writes: “Failure, even repeated, always seems fresh; whereas success, multiplied, loses all interest, all attraction (Cioran 79).” It is this repitition that this show flows through and forever refreshes. This show is intimate, unrehearsed and chaotic, plentiful with a brutal and awkward honesty.

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