Hannibal Buress: Still Saying Stuff
Artful segues and bad impressions from the US comic
This article is from 2012.
2011 was Hannibal Buress’ first year at the Fringe and it was a dream one, with sell-out performances and a Comedy Award nomination for Best Newcomer. He claims to have been reluctant to return this year because it’s ‘just too many shows’, but on the basis of this assured performance, he’s on to another winner.
There’s no theme or postmodern gimmick to Buress’ routine: he just stands up and says funny stuff. He can’t even do accents, which makes his impressions of the British characters in his stories even more amusing. Buress’ targets range wildly – from the many women he’s slept with to the suspiciousness of going to see a kids’ show as a lone male – but he artfully segues into each one.
Since 2010, Buress has written for acclaimed NBC comedy 30 Rock, and this hour has much of the same slickness as that sitcom. Inevitably, some stories work better than others and, annoyingly, the women that feature are usually sex partners or hotel cleaners. Holding these disparate thoughts together is a tall order, but Buress succeeds effortlessly. Whether he’s talking about having to relieve himself on an aeroplane or getting mugged when he was 13, it’s all delivered with the same calm confidence and perfect timing.
He’s also uncompromisingly American in his references. He does a brief but hilarious impression of 30 Rock’s Tracy Morgan (who plays Tracy Jordan) and there are other, non-alienating mentions of NBC stars of today, like Community’s Donald Glover and Parks and Recreation’s Aziz Ansari, as well as US comedy legend Eddie Griffin. It’s a clever strategy: Buress is making us think of himself in the same breath as these acclaimed comics, who have already found widespread success. Judging by this show, he’s not far behind them.
Pleasance Courtyard, 556 6550, until 26 Aug (not 13), 9.45pm, £10--£10.50 (£9--£9.50).