Tim Heidecker and Gregg Turkington are both one-of-a-kind, incredibly talented comics who have garnered a following for so skillfully pretending to be without much talent or skill.
Best known as one-half of the comedy duo behind Adult Swim’s cult-hit series Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!, Heidecker is teaming up with Neil Hamburger (the stand-up character played by Turkington) a unique show at The Pyramid Scheme that quickly sold out when it was first announced this summer.
“It’s a dream come true,” Heidecker said of getting to perform with Hamburger. “It takes the pressure off because he is so damn funny, I know the audience is guaranteed a good time. (And) off-stage he’s very easy and well-traveled, so there’s no problems there.”
Like his good friend Turkington, Heidecker also portrays a persona – conveniently named Tim Heidecker – when he does live stand-up. He bases the character on hack comics and deliberately bombs each time he performs. Paired with Hamburger’s notoriously confrontational style, their show promises to challenge the conventions of comedy – and good taste – just like all his work.
“I think the two acts work well together because they are a bit of a deconstruction of what entertainment should be, but from pretty different angles,” Heidecker said of his stand-up shows with Hamburger. “There’s a deep satisfaction in performing something for a unique audience that will never happen exactly the same way again.”
Playing a character who doesn’t really draw on any of his own personal experiences, Heidecker has to put in considerable mental gymnastics to keep the bizarreness of his act intact onstage.
“It takes a little bit of focus to make sure you’re staying true to who the character is, but it’s fun to evolve and build the character with new material,” Heidecker said.
Ridiculously prolific, Heidecker has a nearly inexhaustible wellspring of creativity that extends well beyond the regular standup realm. His work on the pioneering Awesome Show (with fellow comedian Eric Wareheim), and their subsequent 2012 feature-film Tim and Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie, helped popularize their unique brand of humor, earning them a slew of adulators and imitators online in the seven years since ending the show. The team celebrated a 10-year anniversary for Awesome Show in September.
“It was really fun and satisfying,” Heidecker said of revisiting the show. “I was a bit resistant to revisiting old characters, but once we got into it, we could see how happy it made people and I’m very glad we did it.”
In addition to his work on Awesome Show, Heidecker has also appeared in the hit 2011 movie Bridesmaids and the 2012 indie-drama The Comedy. He has released multiple albums of original music alongside Wareheim and composer Davin Wood, as well as two solo LPs, and a 2012 record parodying the presidential run of former candidate Herman Cain.
Together with Turkington, Heidecker has turned their long-running film critic parody podcast On Cinema into another show for Adult Swim. The pair also appear together in Heidecker’s latest project: Decker, where he plays the title character, a conservative CIA agent dead set on defending America from its enemies.
Designed as train-wreck television, Decker blurs Heidecker’s well-honed love for despicable character-creation with the low-budget ludicrousness of his other TV work. The show blatantly hits on his own, actual political views, and the character borrows more than a little from our current commander in chief.
“(Donald) Trump totally infects my manner of speaking, the tone and word choices,” Heidecker said of how the president inspired his Decker character. “He’s got a certain arrogant, yet extremely stupid delivery that I can’t resist dipping into.”
Decker wrapped its third season this past summer. Heidecker’s current project with Wareheim, Tim and Eric’s Bedtime Stories, ends its latest season this month, on Adult Swim.
Tim Heidecker & Neil Hamburger LIVE!
The Pyramid Scheme
68 Commerce Ave. SW, Grand Rapids
Oct. 13, sold out
pyramidschemebar.com, (616) 272-3758