: We arrive exceedingly early to see the Neil Hamburger
/ Dr El Suavo double bill at the Northcote Social Club so we decide to check out the supposedly Best Pizzas in the Free World at Pizza Meine Liebe
on High street, Northcote. We amble in and are confronted by a woman wearing a red shirt- the maitre d' I suppose. 'Do you "gentlemen" have a reservation?' she asks.
'....we'd just like to have a few pizzas.' She looks at us for a while with a stare that could crack walnuts and makes a decision, 'Dylan will look after you,' she says, pointing at a bespectacled waiter and hisses under her breath, '(make sure you place them way, way out the back. Their odour is upsetting the customers- even those ordering a plate full of anchovies)'8:32
: Nick, Chris and I are sitting in the back room, past crates full or canned tomatoes, where a table has been plonked near an unused fireplace. There is a mirror with a scene from 2001: A Space Odyssey
: Pizzas arrive. Verdict? Pretty damned good. But for what is essentially a flat piece of bread with tomato paste, mozzarella cheese, scallops, basil and meatballs I think $19 is a bit steep. My budget to go to Russia has been blown.9:30
: The Northcote Social Club. We pay $18 to get into the backroom (yes- two and a bit hours of entertainment is cheaper than our pizza) and manage to get seats close to, but not at the very front of, the stage. There is only about a dozen or so people here. Hope it gets busier.9:50
: It gets busier. We have been listening to lounge music, swing music and the kind of generic stuff you hear when you're watching a Warner Bros. cartoon and there is a typing pool. Synchronised swimming tunes. A solo burlesque dancer gets on stage and starts strutting her stuff, showing her panties. 10:00-ish
: A young guy with tattoos gets up on stage and starts hammering nails up his nose. He then asks audience members which they'd like to see him lift a bar stool with: his ears or his pierced nipples.
'Penis!' yells the crowd, 'Lift it with your penis!'
'Did I hear 'nipples'?'
'We said lift the bar stool with your cock!'
'Nipples it is!'
The young guy then proceeds to lift the bar stool with his nipple rings. Applause. Then he swallows a sword. Ooooh. Aaaah. Then he juggles three swords while he had a nail stuck up his nose, lifting a bar stool with his nipple rings and chomping down on sword.10:20
: I run into my old friend Rockin' Rob. No surprises there. He's into B-grade entertainment.10: 22
: Dr. El Suavo! This guy wears a Mexican wrestling mask and a leopard-skin fez and proceeds to do tricks a typical 11-year old kid with too much time and not enough friends can do. (Note: This is his shtick, yet some members of the audience seem blissfully unaware) He uses a guillotine to cut a carrot. He links rings together. He uses a toy ray gun to make things "disappear".
'How did he do that
?' asks one audience member in obvious sarcasm.
'I can see the hole from here!'
They pelt him with m&ms as he resorts to a rubber chicken
to save his show.
'C'mon chicken! Save my show!' he begs as he holds the chicken shakily.
'Not the rubber chicken!'
He then asks an audience member to wrap him up in a straight jacket
. 'I'll just go around the audience with my straight jacket on.' says Dr El Suavo as he spends the next five minutes frightening audience members (you'd be freaked out too if a man with a Mexican wrestling mask, leopardskin fez and straight jacket suddenly appeared next to you and said 'Boo!'). He gets to a couple of girls standing near us and says, 'Grrrrrrr!'
They turn around.
One splashes him with beer.10:53
: Dr El Suavo 'escapes' from the straightjacket.
Some weak applause.
: Burlesque dancers. It's the chick who was on before with another girl. They're dressed as scientists- lab coats, Einstein hair, glasses. They dance to a camp French song about Dr Jekyll& Mr Hyde. They drink potions. Transform into sexy chicks. They dance more.11:34
: The main attraction- 'America's Funnyman' Neil Hamburger
. He shuffles onto the stage- bad combover
, cheap tuxedo, sweat dribbling from every pore. He hacks and coughs. Neil Hamburger is drinking a glass of water and has two other glasses in the crook of his arm. As he grabs the microphone the microphone stands falls to the ground. He reaches for it, spilling water all over himself. Laughter from the audience.
The sweating face of Comedy11:38
: Neil Hamburger
is still struggling with the mic stand. A girl nearby is literally clutching her sides from laughing too hard.11:40
: The show officially begins. As with all Neil Hamburger shows (or so I'm told) the heckler count is pretty high but he dismisses them with a bout of coughing. His mood ranges from rage to a defeated whimpering. 'WHAT do you call,' he yells, 'a cross between the Red Hot Chilli Peppers and an octopus?'
'We want our money back!'
'Start telling us jokes!'
Neil overcomes all this by coughing out half a lung and presses on with "comedy": 'A junkie with eight arms to shoot up with.'
I implore you Rubber Chicken...save my blog!