It was to be a truly awesome show. For the sold-out crowd of adult swimmers and cult comedy fans, a special evening with Yankee clowns Tim Heidecker and Neil Hamburger was about to commence. The pair are offering English fans the rare chance to catch them while on a short tour of the UK.

Best known as one half of surrealist comedy duo ‘Tim and Eric’, Heidecker crashes into his UK solo debut with a self-indulgent affair rivaling his decadent and ridiculous onscreen characters.

Tonight’s Heidecker is an egomaniac, doing slapstick battle with his microphone in a floundering introduction, which (set to Paul Simon’s ‘You Can Call Me Al’) lasts nearly five minutes and sets the scene for the angsty has-been whom will be accompanying us for the evening. In complacent metahumour throughout, Heidecker parades like a cocky comic veteran, all too aware of his decline into the vaults of obscurity. For the next hour, Heidecker tries to ‘mix things up’.

Cringe comedy is Heidecker’s speciality. As he nosedives into his ‘comedy without a net’ skit (a ‘Whose Line’ disaster movie of ill-prepared improv) bad jokes and awkward jokes fizzle flat, and at one point he even resorts to Paul McKenna trickery to enchant his audience. But far from falling asleep, the crowd are enraptured. They relish Heidecker’s schoolboy gags and insolent audience participation. In Jekyll and Hyde fashion, Heidecker confronts the self-effacing jester of his story, with the blasé comic bastard we’ve come to know and poke fun at this evening.

Heidecker’s outdated observation comedy is a perfect match for next guest, Neil Hamburger. America’s self-proclaimed ‘$1 funny man’ scuttles on stage in a soiled tuxedo and delivers a rollicking routine smeared in highbrow toilet humour and pop culture references. Hamburger pummels his audience with anticomedy punch lines; a perverse twist on playground ‘knock knock’ jokes, and seedy side-splitters that would make your mother wince.

His ammo of lewd one-liners swell into convoluted tales towards his joke’s victims. Hamburger surpasses himself with each pop at his next target; those lucky enough to make Hamburger’s hit list include Foo Fighters, Ozzy Osborne, and Madonna. For a good ten minutes, the monstrous, nightmarish, ugly, hideous Gene Simmons takes quite a hammering.

For the next forty minutes, Hamburger prattles on like an unwanted uncle at Christmas dinner. His gravel tones coast over risqué topics (a joke involving E.T and semen sums this up quite nicely…) and his ‘legendary’ catchphrases light up the room. Like an ironical geography teacher, Hamburger whines through fringe insults and a subtle running visual gag of holding glasses of water under his arms throughout.

Great job.

//

Tim Heidecker and Neil Hamburger performed at Gorilla on Sunday 3rd September 2017.

Fancy listening to some of the best artists performing across Manchester in the coming months? Listen below for our latest playlist previewing those in town for this month’s best shows!

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