Thursday, April 15, 2010


(Interview originally conducted in June 2006 @ High Tone Memphis, TN)

Ladies and gentleman... Nnnnnnnnnnneeeeeeeeiiiiiiill Hamburgerrrrrr. On a recent trip through Memphis I found out Neil was in town for a show. After his performance, which included spitting up on, throwing drinks at, and verbally abusing some clueless hecklers, we sat down to discuss his past, future, and the women of the Flying J truck stop.

Alright, so, I am here with "America's Funnyman" Mr. Neil Hamburger.. So.. Neil... What is your opinion on the afterlife.. if one does exist.. and if so, what would it be like?

Well, it's gotta be better than this. I feel I've already gone to hell, ya know, with my career and with some of the failed projects I've been involved with, some of these albums that have not sold enough to even pay for the cost of hiring a taxi to take them to the dump, ya know? This is hell and uh... I look forward to any sort of chance to relax and rest and hopefully ya got some of the topless girls in hell that I don't seem to encounter here on earth, ya know what I'm saying?

That's great. So you have an optimistic outlook there on the afterlife.

Oh, it's a very optimistic act that I have in general.

Right. So what did you do before you became "America's Funnyman"?

Well, I was miserable, which has continued actually through this career as "America's Funnyman", which is a copyrighted phrase. But uh... I did some work in the fast food industry. Some low paying work and..

Taco Bell?

No, no Taco Bell but some of the other chains.. I don't want to mention them here because they don't mention me. They don't hire me to do ads for them at this point so why should I advertise them in your magazine? You know what I'm saying?

Yeah, good point. Fuck it. Fuck corporate chains.


So, speaking of food, you're on the road a lot. What are some of your favorite places to eat, different places to go?

Well, I like to eat in the front seat of my car because I usually don't have the time to go to actual restaurants you know because you got.. when you're driving 700-800 miles a day you can really throw your schedule off...yeah you go to one of these restaurants, sit down for a couple hours... so know what I'm saying? So sometimes I'll go move into the back seat of the car and eat but generally if I'm driving... you know you wanna stay in the front seat while you're driving.

Ok. So, another traveling question: Flying J or TA?

I think I like the Flying J. I bought a television set there for nineteen dollars and ninety nine cents. COBY brand. C-O-B-Y. And uh.. little black and white with a five inch screen and you plug it in to the cigarette lighter and you can find out what's going on in the world there and uh.. TA you know you have the whole "tits 'n ass" thing which is uh.. appealing, but then you go there and there is no "tits 'n ass", you know? It's just a lot of stale Payday bars... you know? So the Flying J works for me.

Oh, I agree. I prefer it too. So, if you would sum up in two words the following cities:

New York City

Well, you know they say if you can make it there you can make it anywhere, you know the song I'm talkin' about? But I have found that that is not true. The New York City crowds are very... easy, you know? They come out in huge numbers and they laugh and's always a good paying show and a good time. If you can make it in uh.. you know.. Sioux Falls, South Dakota you can make it anywhere. And I actually did a show in Sioux Falls last month and I'm happy to report that the response was much better than I ever could have anticipated.

So if you had to sum up New York City in two words maybe you would say "very easy"?

I would say I can't afford uh... I can't afford it because of the.. you know.. it's very expensive. The parking? Have you parked your car there?

Lucky, I don't drive.

I parked.. you know I travel in a car. I can't take the Greyhound Bus anymore you know it's too painful on the back but uh.. I had a car parked in New York City and the parking was two thirds of what I got for the show and then when you give the other third to the management and the booking agency there's not much left, you know what I mean? It's a tough way to live. Warn your readers.

I know. Ok, and one other city I'm curious to know what you think of:

Boise, Idaho

You know that is a town I have been through but I have not yet done a show there.

That's wise.


If you wanna listen to what I have to say, I would say Boise is a good driving day. You don't need to stop there.

Well, I was offered a show there once and it fell through but you know that's where the Albertson's grocery chain has their headquarters so you probably.. I'm sure somewhere in the town is an outlet for dented cans so... which is something that I'm always interested in, that is getting a fruit cocktail at a discount price because that is what I use mostly as food at this point.

Ok. Have you ever received any strange gifts from fans or followers?

Oh, all the time. You know people bring me all kinds of things. Some of the women, you know, with their uh.. some of the ideas they have are sort of strange. Some of the gentleman will give me CD's of the music they've made with their.. with their miserable bands and that sort of thing but I got a twelve dollar tip in Chapel Hill, North Carolina the other night. A young woman bought some merchandise and tipped me TWELVE DOLLARS. And because all the money for the shows goes straight to the legal bills and the ex-wife and that sort of thing, these tips are mine to keep. So this young woman paid for at least twelve meals for me because I do tend to eat a lot of, you know, 99 cent fruit cocktail.

Um... so what is the best way to win a woman's heart?

Well, it's probably to avoid getting on stage and telling the jokes that I tell. Avoid releasing albums like "Great Moments at Di Presa's Pizza House". Avoid touring the clubs I tour in because quite frankly I have not been around women very much in the last few years. It's been a very lonely lonely life and.. occasionally when they ask to pose for a photo with me, it's a great treat. But for the most part the women I know are the women at the Flying J truck stop. The sort of obese kind of women that work behind the counter there, and I am on a first name basis with quite a few of them as I do tour through the same regions again and again.

You ever take advantage of the.. you ever get to score the free shower at the truck stops? Like you just.. they kinda feel sorry for you... they'll just give you the free shower. Has that ever happened?

Well, what I have done is in the past is I go over to where the trucks are and I walk out from behind one of the trucks and into the building and then they assume I was in the truck and that's how you get the free shower. So...

That's a good idea. So you've toured with a lot of bands in the past. Are there any bands currently that you haven't been on the road with that you would like to come with you?

I would like to tour with Frank Sinatra Jr.. He has been my idol for many years. I would like to tour with Kenny Rodgers. Now that he has had the plastic surgery I think that his act has doubled in quality. And other than that uh... probably not... you know I was very excited recently I did a show in Los Angeles with Petra Haden and uh.. she made a really great album recently and to be on that bill was a real feather in my cap I have to say.

In your opinion who truly plays "music of the night"? IF there is an artist that plays "music of the night"...

Music of the night? That would have to be the Doobie Brothers because you know those guys are filthy, dirty, and really disgusting human beings and you know it is the night that disguises that I think. In the night they might appear to be just shadows but in fact they're filthy, dirty, bearded, stinking, venereal disease-ridden men with permanent erections and it is only in the cover of the night that they can get away with what they do, which is to play their music... their great hits...

Ok... where do you see yourself next February?

Next February? I'll be touring Texas in February, that's on the schedule. So probably Denton, Texas and Houston, Austin and perhaps we'll do a show in Mobile, Alabama. So come on out... if this comes out in February hopefully the readers will come out to those shows and save me from financial ruin and embarrassment.

This will definitely come out before February. Um.. Ok, how about in the next 23 years?

Well, I'll probably back here at this club doing the show again because let's face it: I'm not gonna get out of debt anytime soon and the bills have to be paid and I would love to retire but that's not gonna happen either so it's gonna be doing these shows on a continuous loop until death strikes me down and at that point, good, I can get some sleep.

And then you'll be in hell with the topless women.

Exactly. Exactly. If I'm lucky.

Ok. Last question. If you could finish this joke for me: Why did Neil Hamburger cross the road?

Well, because he had another show to do.

There you have it. Alright. Thanks a lot.

Thank you. I hope you can use some of these. I do realize some of the answers were substandard.

No. It's perfect.

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