Neil Hamburger has made a career of the non-joke. A kindred spirit of legendary lounge act Tony Clifton, Hamburger revels in the dark, laughless shadows of comedy, a place where incest gags and poor delivery reign supreme. With a stiff drink in one hand and a microphone in the other, the famously phlegmy showman regurgitates tasteless one-liners that leave stains on the walls and a foul taste in the audience’s mouth. Like the company that he keeps—Hamburger has collaborated with Tom Green and duo Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim—no line is too sacred to cross. And yet over the past 20 years, Hamburger has cultivated a sizable following willing to endure his ersatz punch lines and desperate ramblings in order to find masochistic pleasure in discomfort. He’s in town promoting a recently recorded 12-inch released on Jack White’s Third Man Records, proving once again that the unfunniest man in show business may indeed have the last laugh.
Neil Hamburger performs with Duncan Trussell at 8 p.m. at the Black Cat, 1811 14th St. NW. $12. (202) 667-7960.