Humour and the Unacceptable in Neil Hamburger’s Routine

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Daniel Derrin


This paper addresses the comic routine of Australian born U.S. comedian Gregg Turkington’s alter-ego, ‘Neil Hamburger’, from the perspective of Aristotle’s ancient conception of the risible as a species of the unacceptable, or the unseemly. In doing so, it explores two thresholds of acceptability, subjective and social, which are relevant to an understanding of Hamburger’s comic style. The paper argues that Hamburger’s style willfully violates those thresholds, risking the audience’s laughter, and yet working towards the visualization of a less normative kind of ‘unseemliness’ that underlies Hamburger’s politics: reverence for celebrity and the sacred.

Article Details

The Unacceptable Special Issue July 2014 (Peer Reviewed)
Author Biography

Daniel Derrin, Macquarie University

Daniel Derrin is a graduate of Macquarie University and teaches media studies in Macquarie's department of Media, Music, Communication and Cultural Studies.