Label
Drag City

Great Moments at Di Pressa's Pizza House, the new album from America's Funnyman Neil Hamburger opens with some classic Hamburger bombs - terrible swipes at Mick Jagger, Robin Williams and Madonna punctuated by lengthy silences and throat-clearing.

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  Great Moments is a concept album about Di Pressa's Pizza House. Through interviews, anecdotes and historical recordings,  it chronicles the story of a pizza parlor both loved and hated by staff and customers alike. In typical Hamburger style, the anecdotes, from a cast of weirdoes that give the Ham a run for his money in the pathetic department, are so ineffectual and aimless that the editor hilarously cuts speakers off mid-sentence. 

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  Carnival music abounds, but plays in sharp contrast to the somewhat dark and seedy history of  Di Pressa's, a pizza parlour whose garlic butter, one embalmer/food critic recalls, smelled exactly like pockets of a ir released from a corpse that's been dead for 72 hours. Di Pressa's was a parlour so dirty that the local food inspector considered chaining the front door to protect the public.  

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  But it wasn't all bad news, we learn over the course of the record. Di Pressa's was a pizza parlour with heart. They hosted local clubs like Alcoholics Anonymous - it probably made sense since most of the members were staff at Di Pressa's, and featured a bizarre cast of entertainers. 

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  It's no wonder this dive went under - they had a staff of entertainers that made Neil Hamburger look like the Funnyman he claims to be: Organist Gus Huddle died of AIDS  at the age of 99, Leroy Brothers was a white comic with a black act and made unseemly cracks about white girls and honkies.   

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  And then of course there was Neil who was apropraitely paid in Di Pressa's pizza - his wife threw his paychecks in the garbage. The album naturally features recollections of the original owner and namesake,  who committed suicide in the restaurant with a gunshot to the head. 

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  I don't know if Hamburger is finally getting it or losing it, because this is the first album of his that I laughed at. In fact I guffawed, and I yukked it up  and had a real hoot.