|Hannibal Buress: Still Saying Stuff|
|Published on Friday, 24 August 2012|
If it weren't quite so English a term, Hannibal Buress would come pretty close to embodying 'louche.' His presence on stage is smooth and slow, his pace languid and deliberate, and his speech low and American. He steps slowly around the stage, treading heavily on his microphone cord: this would be a recipe (or perhaps a set-up) for more frenetic comedians to hurtle over said cord. Buress is, if not oblivious, sure enough of himself to appear entirely unaffected by the presence of potentially lethal electronic equipment.
This is perhaps not unlike his stand-up. It wouldn't work on more hyperactive comedians (which is surely almost all of them), and a big part of why it does work is that Buress is very, very cool – and very, very sure of himself. The combination is stellar.
Buress turned twenty-nine at the start of this year. He had hitherto been involved with the production of the Eric André Show, Louie, and, most recently, Tina Fey's 30 Rock. His comedy CV also boasts stand-up appearances on the shows of Jimmies Fallon and Kimmel, and virtually every Late Show worth its salt.
This monumental level of success can essentially be attributed to the fact that Buress is unbelievably talented, and a joy to watch. He tackles potentially thorny issues in a way that is, though rather irreverent, nonetheless effective and very funny, while an extended monologue on his romantic sexploits maintains some level of humility. And even if it didn't, I'm not sure that any of us would really give a damn. Buress is just that good.
Hailing from Chicago, Buress’s commentary on Britishness (the use of the word 'literally', Scottish pounds vs. English pounds) is perhaps not strikingly original. The delivery, on the other hand, is something else. This allows him to tackle potentially more risqué material in a manner that is so mellow as to approach tastefulness. It is a rare man who can ruminate on the merits of 'period-sex' with a virtual stranger, to a room full of complete strangers, in a way that is discreet, funny, and actually very charming.
Hannibal Buress is not breaking boundaries. This is not a subversive work. But neither of these things are bad. What Hannibal Buress is doing, is truly excellent stand-up. The Pleasance 'Upstairs' is, admittedly, not a huge venue, but for Buress it was packed, and every face left smiling.
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