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ALBUM REVIEW: Hannibal Buress

Hannibal Buress
Courtesy Stand Up! Records

Hannibal Buress, is named after a famous general and not the fictional killer. Opening to a live crowd in Chicago, Buress explains that while he was standing next to the venue’s marquee with his name on it, a passer-by mentions that they had no idea who he was. “That’s me!” he calls out, “And I don’t know who you are either. Bet you didn’t know that was going to happen?” Buress has become the premiere non-sequitur joke teller, steadily streaming out perfectly spaced sentences, pausing only to let the laughter pass. “Can you ever just have trials?” he asks the audience, “or do they have to come with tribulations?”

At just 27 years of age, he has already been a contributing writer for Saturday Night Live and 30 Rock, while also making a handful of appearances on the late show circuit, doing well on all of his 5 minute sets. Each track on My Name is Hannibal seems almost tailored for the same television stage, where his well crafted punchlines quickly explode before peeling off to a commercial. Perhaps his only gimmick, if comedians have those, is that he is a very polished writer; leaving him clinging to his material as much as it is glued to his lazy drawl. My Name Is Hannibal is a fast paced but thoroughly spaced-out album that goes beyond trying to please a crowd, and instead tries to keep all of them on the same ride.

From his first time seeing Hasidic Jews on the streets of New York, “What are these Amish dudes doing with Blackberrys?” to his ongoing beef with pigeons, “It’s impossible to kick a pigeon, they’re too quick!” Buress’ unique observations transcend popular culture and find a perfect realm of existence in the word of stand-up comedy. This first album from Hannibal Buress is just under an hour long, but starts almost as quickly as it ends, with boisterous laughter and a quick clean exit. (Stand Up! Records)