Keepin’ It Clean
Fractured funnyman Neil Hamburger steps into the Jack High Room from Thursday, May 9, ’til Sunday, May 12, for the Perth International Comedy Festival. Bookings via BOCS.
It’s hard to believe that the last time Neil Hamburger graced us with his presence was at the Big Day Out in 2003, where he was the surprise opening act for punk heroes Frenzal Rhomb.
Despite his much-vocalised hatred for the riff raff of society, Hamburger has a soft spot for Jay, Lindsay and the Frenzal crew. “Those guys are the best,” he says. “They really look like dirty sorts of people but they’re actually very, very clean and careful about staying clean, you know? Some of these people that you might tour with, or some of these rock people, you can see the fleas in their hair and the lice and that sort of thing if you sit behind them on the plane. But those guys, they take several showers a day each. You could eat an egg off those guys, they’re just that clean!”
Hamburger, also known as America’s Funnyman, is an avid commentator on the latest trends in pop culture and promises to bring only the latest Britney Spears jokes to Perth. He tells us who else he’s been following of late. “The guys that are all over the news right now,” he says. “You know, Steve Tyler - that disgusting lead vocalist of Aerosmith. Have you ever seen him? Yuck. If you do [see him] you’re going to need laser eye surgery, because he’s really unpleasant and a bad singer too. I wouldn’t open a can for them.”
No stranger to the recording studio himself, Hamburger will have a couple of releases out by year’s end. “We did a new record with the comedian Margaret Cho,” he says. “It was a duet. Just a couple of songs. That’s coming out this summer. And I just did a live comedy album produced by Jack White - he’s a hit singer now. He’s got quite a set-up in Nashville, a beautiful studio with quite accommodating staff and we did this record one night before a live audience. It came out very, very good. That’s what we want. We’ve done a lot of records that people bring up to me after the shows and they say, ‘I bought this record and fuck you - I hate this record’.”
Despite the mixed reviews his career has been plagued with, Hamburger stresses the importance of recording your material. “Because you don’t know when this planet is doomed,” he says. “If the Earth goes off its axis, that’s the end, you know?”
If there was one upside to the world ending for Hamburger, it would have to be that it would mean that the Red Hot Chili Peppers would no longer be around. “We did a month’s worth of shows in the UK in August and there was a journalist there who bought the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ new single, something about some stupid idiots - I don’t know what it was called,” he recalls. “They played it for me with a blindfold on and said, ‘Well, what d’ya think of this?’ trying to trick me into saying something good without letting me know it was the RHCP. You can put all the blindfolds in the world on somebody, anybody who hears this music is going to throw up over the place - because it’s just that bad. You can’t trick people, you can’t package a dog feces in some sort of package with a ribbon and expect anyone would want to eat it. That’s what the Chili Peppers have done for their whole stinking career and it’s too bad that it’s worked so well for them, and it certainly has, and I would tip my hat to them except I’m not going to because their music is awful.”_MATTHEW HOGAN