Title: Neil Hamburger – The World's Funnyman
The setup: If jokes are surprises, little uprisings against conventional thinking, then what could be more surprising than not being funny? But, for most comedians, the path of so-bad-it's-good is a dead end – though it is forever tempting. Bill Bailey and Steve Coogan both dallied with the idea in their early careers, and have since abandoned it. Not Neil Hamburger.
Hamburger was created in the early 1990s by the Australian-American comic and musician Gregg Turkington. Where Coogan's Duncan Thickett character was a novice standup beset by nerves, Hamburger is imagined at the other end of a dismal career. Hair strands smeared across his forehead, drinks clutched under his arm (and often dropped), a martyr to catarrh (which he coughs up and swallows down