neil hamburger poster

The incredibly strange and strangely incredible comedian Neil Hamburger headlines The Independent this Friday night for what may be his biggest local show to-date.

Even though he’s circled relatively mainstream awareness over the years — appearing on late night shows, working with Tim & Eric, playing numerous festivals, and opening for bands as big as Tenacious D — it’s fair to suspect that Hamburger will continue to tackle, among other topics, pop culture’s biggest stars, taking them down a peg or two in his inimitably off-color fashion. I’m not sure if it’s still in his act, but there was a joke involving a pop star and Thanksgiving dinner a few years ago that still haunts me to this day.

One fact about Neil Hamburger that all too often goes unmentioned is that he’s a San Francisco original, a creation born out of late night prank phone calls that Gregg Turkington made while living here in the ’90s. For more on that, check out KQED’s great interview with Turkington earlier this week.

But back to Friday night: Having seen many Neil Hamburger sets over the years, he’s one of the most captivating live performers around, and embodies, perhaps perversely, the well-earned title of “America’s Funnyman.”