>A Few Words On Bob Druwing

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Bob Druwing’s glorious Tim and Eric debut.

I have no idea why I find Bob Druwing so fascinating. Before the third season of Tim and Eric Awesome Show, I had never seen his face before in my entire life. Not even once. Now he is a new obsession. Of all the bizarre Z-list regulars Tim and Eric love to parade out, salt-n-pepper haired Mr. Druwing stands out to me.

I don’t know. He seems like a perfectly normal human being as opposed to a bizarre, ugly failure, which might be why he stands out in the Tim and Eric universe; compared to David Liebe Hart the failed puppeteer, James Quall the failed comedian, or Ron Austar the failed… uhh, something (children’s performer?), Bob Druwing just seems like a nice, trim, middle-aged man. With a funny mustache.

…well, OK, maybe he’s kind of a failure. If his website is any indication, he’s something of a Jack-Of-All-Trades: screen actor, voice-over actor, musician, cartoonist, you name it. And considering that the most prominent roles he’s received have been bit parts on Tim and Eric, I guess we can safely say that he hasn’t quite succeeded in any of these fields. Adding a bit to his “pathetic” tally is his bizarrely transfixing performance of a song he presumably wrote, “I Wanna Be In Love,” posted in Tim and Eric’s “DannyMothers” Youtube account to promote their first season DVD. (So I guess he’s a failed rock ‘n roller?)

But calling Mr. Druwing pathetic would not be doing him justice. And it would be pretty mean, too! From the looks of his video resume (yes, I searched for Bob Druwing on youtube), he seems to be a pretty competent actor. He also finally got a prominent role in Tim and Eric’s season 3 finale, credited as “Lindsey Porch” and singing the hilariously creepy (and oddly Jens Lekman-esque) “I Can Wait,” which has to be one of my favorite Tim and Eric songs ever. (Sing along with me now: “No, they can’t call it raaaape / if she concedes her body to meeee!”)

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Where else can you get your Druwing fix? Well, he’s also in the new Tim and Eric Ben Folds video, popping in-and-out of the drum kit. And, according to his website, he just wrapped up filming for Tim and Eric’s fourth season. So thankfully, we will be seeing more of Mr. Druwing.

And yet, I still don’t know why I love Bob Druwing so. Why not Ron Stark? Or that lady that play’s Casey’s mom? Or Richard Dunn?? (Okay I do love Richard Dunn to death, but I digress.) These questions will never have answers. As long as I can hear Mr. Druwing – a seemingly normal and on-the-level type of guy – sing a song about masturbating in his car, I will be satisfied.

And you know what, “I Wanna Be In Love”‘s been stuck in my head for days. No joke.

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>A Few Words on Neil Hamburger

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There’s been a lot of so-called “anti-comedians” out there since Andy Kaufman defined the archetype – people who use comedy as a tool to disrupt, confuse, and anger rather than entertain. Andy Kaufman did it best, to be certain, inspiring a slew of Kaufman devotees determined to view any form of “comedy” as one big existential joke. While the whole “anti-comedy” attitude has meshed pretty well with the sensibilities of modern stand-up comedians (read: Zach Galifianakis), there is a danger of using that “comedy is stupid” belief as an excuse to, y’know, not be funny at all. How hard is it to get onstage and say “Why did the chicken cross the road? WHO THE FUCK CARES!” just to get the audience to turn on you? Not very. Anti-comedy, as it were, is in danger of becoming cliche.

When it comes to America’s Funnyman Neil Hamburger, however, the “anti-comedian” tag isn’t quite apt – mostly because, like Kaufman before him, he’s actually genuinely funny. Sure, his whole “schtick” (as it were) is that he’s a really lousy comedian, a concept that naysayers still claim to be a poor man’s Tony Clifton. But Neil Hamburger takes the concept of Tony Clifton and powers it through the Earth’s atmosphere, burning it to a crisp until its remains emerge into space fouler and cruder than ever before. Where Tony Clifton was a hammy, obnoxious, over-the-top lounge act, Neil Hamburger is a mean, spiteful, and unbelievably foul-mouthed stand up comic. And where Clifton was nasty and energetic, Hamburger thrives on sad, slow-moving failure, characterized by his defeatist look on life and his narcissistic, painfully ridiculous jokes.

Hamburger, portrayed by music critic Gregg Turkington, is a hilarious creation on many levels. For one, his physical appearance is phenomenally scummy: oversized glasses, exceptionally greasy hair, and a tacky tuxedo perfect his “failed comedian” image, not to mention a glass of scotch he constantly sips onstage. He’s also got a great scowl, or pout if you will, giving Hamburger a look of constant sadness and dejection – he’s one of the few comedians that can make you laugh just by looking at him. There’s also his bizarre vocal delivery, which ranges from a corny, over-the-top old-timey comedian’s voice to a disgruntled, loud, angry voice of a man who hates everybody. But of course, none of this would matter if the material wasn’t rock-solid – and I assure you, readers, that you will never hear a “blue” comedian better than Mr. Hamburger.

Neil Hamburger, quite frankly, is the best sculptor of out-and-out disgusting hilarity to come along in a long time. While some of Hamburger’s jokes are just silly takes on “Why did the chicken cross the road?,” my personal favorites of his are his celebrity riffs. Hamburger is particularly adept at taking common lousy celebrity cliches that worse comedians revel in – y’know, Michael Jackson’s a pedo, Paris Hilton’s a whore, etc. etc. – and delivering them in the most gut-wrenchingly ridiculous fashion that they somehow turn from standard “anti-jokes” into true works of comedic beauty. Any comedian can set up a joke with “Why did Michael Jackson dangle his infant son from the window of his hotel room?”; only Neil Hamburger can follow it up with “He was punishing him for refusing to eat his plate of sperm.” Hell, sometimes the punchline isn’t even the funniest part of his jokes – set-ups like “Why did Mick Jagger urinate on his own daughter?” or “Why did God send Terri Schiavo to Hell?” barely even need a punchline, and when he attacks less obvious targets like the Red Hot Chilli Peppers or Gerald Ford, it only makes things better. But what pushes these jokes over the edge is Neil’s delivery – rather than reveling in the sheer grossness of these jokes, as a lesser comedian might do, Neil delivers each punchline with a profound sadness, as if dog food coming out of Madonna’s breasts were some kind of crushing truth.

Of course, audience reactions to Mr. Hamburger are mixed. Now, admittedly I haven’t been a Neil Hamburger fan long enough to be considered an expert – I saw him in his brief cameo appearance on Tim and Eric Awesome Show Great Job! last year and I’ve been hooked ever since – but from all the fantastic Youtube videos I have drudged up of him over the past year, he seems to have two different modes. In one, he’s delivering his jokes in a corny croon to a bunch of people that don’t get it and barely laugh; in the other, he’s venomously screeching out his jokes in his full glory while an audience of loyal fans laugh and yell with joy. While the former is funny in a kind of fish-out-of-water way, the latter finds Mr. Hamburger at his crude best.

Recently, Mr. Hamburger has released a musical country album, Neil Hamburger Sings Country Winners. From what I’ve heard of it, it is fantastic – Neil’s grumpy voice fits inexplicably well with old-fashioned country. But I could sit around and yakk about Mr. Hamburger’s prowess all day and we wouldn’t get anywhere. If you don’t know Neil Hamburger, the only method of conversion is for you to hear the man’s silky smooth voice for yourself.

Here’s a semi-recent appearance by Neil on Jimmy Kimmel Live, a perfect example of a crowd that doesn’t quite “get” it:

>Album Review: "Awesome Record, Great Songs!" by Tim and Eric

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The faces of genius.

NOTE: THE FOLLOWING IS DIRECTED AT TIM AND ERIC FANS ONLY

We all knew this day would come. I can’t pinpoint the exact moment I realized it, but I’d wager that once I heard Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!‘s “Sports” theme – a nutty little techno ball-buster featuring a video of Tim Heidecker, Eric Wareheim, and a bunch of hairy dudes miming their instruments in ridiculous New Wave garb – I knew that Tim and Eric were two of the most talented songwriters of their generation.

Ok, maybe that’s a bit of an overstatement. But not much of one. Come on, you know what I mean. I’d wager that the songs on Awesome Show are some of the funniest – and catchiest – to come from a sketch comedy show in a long long time. Hell, Awesome Show is almost more of a musical show than a sketch show anyway. Tim and Eric have produced a shit-ton of various musical bits over the course of two seasons, and I’d wager that about 90% of them are great. And now they’re all on CD and claimed for musical history! Huzzah!!

Now, I’m sure I don’t need to explain the appeal of these songs to you, fellow fans. If you, like me, consider Awesome Show to be the best sketch comedy show since Mr. Show and UCB, I’m going to guess that you’ve been passing around CDs of music ripped directly from the show since season one wrapped. So you might be saying, “shit, Sean, why would I need another Tim and Eric CD? I’ve got all these songs ripped already!!”

Well for one thing, you’re a putz. Tim and Eric deserve your money and you fucking know it. Secondly, it’s an official CD approved by Mr. Heidecker and Mr. Wareheim themselves! NEAT! And thirdly, there’s a lot here that you’re not going to hear from the show. Extended lyrics, remixes, covers, guest vocalists – and not only that, but each song is edited down to its very essence, narrowing the tracks down to about a minute-and-a-half each without any unnecessary sketch banter (honestly, if you’re a Tim and Eric fan, you’re going to know where “Pizza Boy” and “All Of My Life” are from – you don’t need context). Also, the sequencing on this CD is very appealing, bucking chronological order in favor of an appeasing mish-mash of various songs from the first and second seasons of the show; it allows for an appealing kaleidescope of Awesome Show‘s music, showcased in all its glory.

“But what songs are on this thing, Sean?” (“How does it taste, Steve?” – a little in-joke for all you guys, hehe.) That’s a fair question. To put it bluntly, this baby’s got all your favorites: you’ve got every Kidz Break, every David Liebe Hart song, and almost every Casey and his Brother; you’ve got the popular weirdo singalongs of “Do Dah Doo Doo,” “Sit On You,” “Beach Blast” (yes, that’s James Quall’s acapella surf ditty), and “Long Legs”; you’ve got the crazy dance-techno freakouts of “Beaver Boys,” “Pumpers and Tumblers,” and “Sports”; you’ve got guest appearances in David Cross’s “Pizza Boy,” Maria Bramford’s “The New You,” Aimee Mann’s “Hearts,” and Bob Odenkirk’s “Here She Comes”; and, of course, you’ve got some wonderful one-off songs, including the inimitable disco-breakdown “Petite Feet,” the best-friend vacation theme song “Raz,” the weird “Everybody’s Talkin'”-takeoff “Lost at the Wheel,” and the absolutely disgusting “Love Slaves.” If you’re in any way a fan of Tim and Eric, the song choices here will not disappoint.

Oh yeah, and they’re extended too! I mentioned that earlier! For instance, every David Liebe Hart song is extended, making songs like “Marcama” even creepier (hearing Hart say “You and I can make a nice milkshake together… we can make little whipped-cream babies” to a female puppet is nothing short of life-changing), and other random songs like “Do Dah Doo Doo” and “Dirty Socks” feature extra lyrics that only make them more entertaining. There are some wonderful remixes here as well that you might not expect – “Rolo Tony,” for instance, features Tim and Eric’s legendary jingle dialogue laid out over a techno beat, finally segueing into the awesome “Rolo Tony Brown Town” credits music (also featured here in its full form as a bonus track). One of my favorites here would be DJ Douggpound’s take on the Awesome Show opening theme, which magically shifts from a basic dance remix of the theme into a dense sound collage featuring layers upon layers of various song snippets not featured anywhere else on the disc. These include, but are not limited to:

– The “My New Pep-Pep!” theme
– The “B’owl” theme
– Glen Tennis’s “OH BOY!” exclamation
– The “Lazy Horse Mattress” theme
– Eric’s “Goodbye!” ringtone from Tim’s funeral
– That creepy “OOH MAMA!” music
– Zan’s “What Do You Call That?” instructional video
– The “Gravy Robbers” background music

…and many many more. It’s like one long Tim and Eric fangasm. Other great bonus tracks here include the Shins’ cover of “Wipe My Butt” (I’m not a big Shins fan, but hearing them sing “My brown crusty stains are an environmental issue” with a sweet acoustic backing gives them some major cool points in my book), Built to Spill’s crazed rock cover of “Come Over,” an 8-bit version of “The Snuggler,” two great re-mixes of “Sports,” the rock version of “Salame,” and much much more that I’ll let you discover for yourself. If you’re like me, you might be upset with the exclusion of some great songs – including but not limited to the “Tony and Tim” theme, which doesn’t show up here in any form (maaaaaaaan) and Tim and Eric’s inexplicable beat-boxing from the “Abstinence” episode which only appears briefly in the “Awesome Show” remix. But y’know, that’s nitpicking. I will reiterate – if you are a Tim and Eric fan, buy the fuck out of this album and wear the motherfucker out. Throw it on your iPod or Zen or whatever and sneak “Sports” and “Come Over” into your party mixes. Make your friends bow to glory of Tim and Eric. (If they stop being your friends, well, maybe they never were real friends.)

NOTE: THE FOLLOWING IS DIRECTED AT PEOPLE WHO KNOW LITTLE TO NOTHING ABOUT TIM AND ERIC ONLY

OK, I don’t know how your tastes run. But lemme ask you this – do you like comically bizarre music? Do you have any interest in the likes of Ween, Frank Zappa, or the Zip Code Rapists? Do you chortle at ridiculous karaoke public-access videos from the late ’80s or so? To you have an appreciation for a catchy techno beat?

Well, then you might like Tim and Eric. They’re great songwriters. But then again, maybe you won’t like them. Their sense of humor is incredibly divisive. I can’t really explain why I find a middle-aged woman singing “I’ve done my chores, I’ve swept the floor / you make me wet when you come in the door” incredibly funny. Or hearing a a awkward little man-child scream in the middle of a song about hamburgers. Or hearing a chorus of singers chanting “I bet they’ll french kiss all night long” and “I wish we knew which hole he’s gonna poke her through.” Maybe you don’t find this funny at all. I can understand that. Kind of.

But you’ve got to admit, these songs are catchy. They’re zippy, fun, and they don’t linger too long. Give ’em a try! You might like them, if you like weird shit! Or you might not like them at all, and resent me for the recommendation. That’s fair. But honestly, you won’t find better music coming from a TV show nowadays. I swear it.

NOTE: THE FOLLOWING IS DIRECTED AT PEOPLE WHO PREFER TO WATCH “FAMILY GUY” OVER “TIM AND ERIC” ONLY

We have nothing to discuss.