Support Local Journalism. Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club.

Neil Hamburger 

Laugh Out Lord (Drag City/Glory Home)

"Why are M&Ms filled with chocolate? . . . Because it would be illegal to fill them with shit." If that line busts your gut, bring a suture and some gauze, because Neil Hamburger cuts with just such zingers.

Hamburger tries on a different comedy coat for each of his records, like his "dirty" humor masterpiece, Raw Hamburger, or this follow-up stab at "religious" humor. Of course, there are only about two or three jokes on the whole album that have anything to do with religion. ("But times really have changed, with the internet and everything. It used to be, when you died, you went to hell. Now, when you die, you go to AOL.") At this point, Hamburger's act has completely devolved into slumped-shoulder ruminations on his sad-sack life.

The real man behind the Ham is a bit of a mystery -- some say he runs Drag City Records, or maybe he's in a band on that label. What is known is that this is some elaborate performance piece, out to destroy stand-up comedy once and for all. His "jokes" and attendant disappointed sighs are told over bored audience chatter -- clinking glasses, coughs, and all. But most who show up at his gigs "get" the shtick and laugh heartily, which sort of spoils the effect of the groan-inducing guilty pleasures of his records. Some even claim that his jokes are getting better. Let's hope not.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Cleveland Scene. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Cleveland Scene, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at [email protected].

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club for as little as $5 a month.

More by Eric Davidson

Read the Digital Print Issue

January 5, 2022

View more issues

Most Popular

No recently-read stories.

Visit the archives…


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.


Staff Pick Events

  • Cleveland Pops: All That Jazz @ Severance Music Center

    • Sat., Jan. 22
  • The Sonder Bombs Release Party @ Mahall's 20 Lanes

    • Sat., March 26
  • Kacey Musgraves @ Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse

    • Sun., Jan. 23

© 2022 Cleveland Scene: 737 Bolivar Rd., Suite 4100, Cleveland, OH 44115, (216) 505-8199
Logos and trademarks on this site are property of their respective owners.

Website powered by Foundation