Hannibal Buress has a fairly reasonable dispute with a police officer about the nature of speeding through Indiana, which he outlined last night during his performance on Jimmy Kimmel Live. Buress also recounts a couple of times his debit card fell into the wrong hands of would-be criminals, as well as one time when he was younger and found someone else's card in an ATM. What would you do? What. Would. You. Do.
Roll the clip!
Catching up from the weekend before the next blizzard blizzards New York, here's a clip of Hannibal Buress on Late Show with David Letterman. Surprised, albeit pleasantly, to hear the pickle juice joke make a comeback!
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We set up shop in the basement of Comix, dreamed up the impossibly creative title "The Comic's Comic at Comix," and invited the comedians into our lair.
First up, both when it happened and when you're seeing it, is my sit-down with Hannibal Buress, a great young stand-up comedian who wrote for SNL during the 2009-2010 season, and this summer joined the writing staff of 30 Rock. I'm not the only one saying great things about Buress, who showed up in episodes of Louis CK's Louie and also got Chris Rock to not only stop by his Sunday night showcase at The Knitting Factory in Williamsburg, but also talked up Hannibal and his show to Howard Stern. And yet, Hannibal Buress remains relatively humble and modest.
Let's hear what else he had to tell me!
Want to see more interviews like these? You're in luck! We'll be rolling out new videos the rest of the week. I can tell you with the utmost confidence that my comedian chats will get more and more outlandish, too. Oooh. So look forward to that.
And if you want to see Hannibal Buress live, he's got two big shows later this week in NYC as part of the New York Comedy Festival. He'll be part of the Best of Whiplash show on Nov. 4 at the UCB Theatre, and opening for Aziz Ansari on Nov. 6 at the Beacon Theater.
Briefly in the comings-and-goings department, two up-and-coming stand-up talents have moved into new office jobs this week, as Hannibal Buress has left the writing staff of Saturday Night Live inside 30 Rockefeller Plaza to write for NBC's 30 Rock, while Chelsea Peretti started work Monday as a writer on NBC's Parks and Recreation. Peretti previously had written for The Sarah Silverman Program.
I'm sure you'll still see Buress and Peretti on the stand-up circuit when they're not busy writing must-see TV. Congrats to both on their new gigs!
Hannibal Buress recorded "My Name is Hannibal" back in January 2009 at the Lakeshore Theater in his native Chicago. The Lakeshore has since closed, but everything else in comedy opened up for Buress in a big way between then and now.
We're talking about a guy whose TV set was so strong, that in only a few minutes on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, he impressed them and Lorne Michaels enough to offer him a job -- without a writing packet -- writing for SNL. A guy who started a weekly comedy night from scratch in a rock club lounge in Williamsburg that is packed despite the fact that crowds likely know none of the other comedians on the bill -- except for the times that someone like Chris Rock drops in. That's the kind of respect Buress has garnered in the past year and a half from the industry and his peers. And it's all well-deserved.
I may have said before on this site that Buress in some ways reminds me a bit of the late Mitch Hedberg, and I mean that in only the great ways. The ways he creates suspense where you might not have found any, and how his laidback style does not in any way shortchange his stage presence or confidence, not even when he acknowledges the weirdness of any situation in the room. On "My Name is Hannibal," Buress even jokes during the track "In the Streets" about taking an intermission -- or maybe two or three -- and breaking all of the momentum for the recording. Since he recorded this more than 18 months ago, many of you who have seen Buress live in 2010 have heard all-new material that's not on the disc, so for that reason alone, you'll have to pick it up to catch up and complete your collection.
Louis CK created, wrote, directed and edited most of his new TV comedy on FX, Louie, but he has fought with YouTube and FOX this weekend over sharing his content with the masses. After a couple of attempts, he says this comedian poker roundtable scene -- which if you didn't catch it last week, aired in a cold open for the second episode -- is available for your viewing pleasure.
In it, comedian Rick Crom has to defend his homosexuality after several barbed comments from Nick DiPaolo and jokes from others at the table: Jim Norton, Hannibal Buress, Eddie Brill and Louis CK. Crom also answers CK's question about the use of the word "faggot" onstage with a history lesson. Needless to say, language therein is Not Safe For Work. Roll it. Fun fact: In real life, Brill has been hosting the long-running weekly comedian poker game for 17 years now; William Stephenson (not pictured here, but pictured in the Louie premiere) acts as t
When FX and Louis CK announced that they'd be collaborating on a sitcom that consisted of stand-up routines followed by vignettes based on his stand-up routines, it'd be fair of you to think that Louis CK was doing his version of Seinfeld. But this is not a show about nothing. This is a show about something. Actually, Louie, which debuts June 29, is more than something. Louie is the most original, honest comedy on TV in a generation. Think of everything you've liked about All in the Family and Curb Your Enthusiasm, then remove the live studio audience and the cringe factor, and then you're prepared to have your thoughts provoked.
After debuting the first two episodes at a red-carpet premiere at Carolines on Monday night, Louis CK talked to me about the series Tuesday on his way to the airport to California for his Leno and Lopez appearances.
But first, here's a short scene from the pilot, in which Louis CK jokes about volunteering for his daughters at their NYC public school, followed by comedian William Stephenson as an aloof bus driver hired to take the field trip to the Bronx Botanical Gardens:
In the third episode, we see Louis CK get into a fight with Nick DiPaolo at the Comedy Cellar after both had performed downstairs -- a fake fight that some people were duped into thinking was real.
"I was really pleased with the reaction. I wanted it to feel like a real fight. It's filmed like a real scene. The camera pushes in and then when we start, the camera has to look up to find us...I didn't want to fool people...but that's what i wanted it to be...and then when this guy put it on YouTube and Howard Stern talked about it. Nick is really that good of an actor. Nick is a fucking good actor. I was fucking pissed that this extra put this clip up on YouTube. It's one thing if a fan walking by...that's obnoxious, but it's a fan, it's hard for you to stop...but an extra, a professional actor who works for you, that's absurd. We had to get a lawyer."
Louis CK also gets naked in two of the first three episodes, showing his ass. Is that symbolic of the naked honesty you were aiming for in the series? Or do you just like getting naked on camera? "That was necessary for a proper level of humiliation. I don't do it for nothing. I do think that nudity should have a reason story-wise. I remember when I was on Lucky Louie and I was naked once, and so was Rick Shapiro. I was on a radio show in Cleveland. It was one of my worst experiences ever...One of them goes, 'Why are you naked on your show? I don't want to see that! Why isn't the chick naked? Why can't I see her titties?'...The premium people put on that shit..."
The tone of Louie -- short films done without an audience, as opposed to a multi-camera sitcom filmed in front of a live studio audience -- is the polar opposite of Lucky Louie. Was that intentional? "It wasn't a reaction at all in any way to Lucky Louie. This was its own idea. I've been making short films for years. Features. I love directing. And shooting on location in New York. I've kind of been able to do everything I want with this show."
For fans who have seen your earlier shorts, is that the same helicopter in the pilot that you used for your short stealing the ice cream from the kid? "It sure is. It's the same guy. We have this friend who has this cheap helicopter. He's been really good to us. I don't want to say his name because he's been so good to us....When we shot this HBO stuff a couple of years ago, when I did that helicopter thing, we did other helicopter shots..He said, 'I can't go anywhere near a building or a bridge.' I said OK, we'll get a long lens. And then he was hovering two feet above me. It was so good. I was very proud of Chelsea (Peretti), she got in there and he took off. She was fine with it."
At the premiere, FX's John Landgraf said: "When you say original programming, and you attribute it to Louis, you get really original programming." How important was it to you to do something completely original? I know some people early on wanted to compare Louie to Seinfeld.
As part of the promotional push for the new film Grown Ups, David Spade and Chris Rock visited Howard Stern's satellite radio program. That's fairly predictable, right? As is the probability that Stern would get Spade and Rock to dish on who's got beefs with whom. This audio clip opens with a clip of Rock giving it to David Letterman earlier this year. But skip ahead to the 2:50 mark and you hear Rock explaining how he works on new stand-up material, and describes his surprise visit to the Sunday night showcase Hannibal Buress runs in Brooklyn at the Knitting Factory in Williamsburg. Rock talks about how he tests his new stuff in front of all sorts of crowds, including one full of "hip" and young people and comedians. Rock also says that he won't put any new tour dates on sale until he has spent at least six months or more making sure the new material is worth the ticket price. Well, why am I telling you what he said when you can listen to it, right now:
I was more than tempted to write something whiny and petulant about the ECNY Awards, but then I saw Marc Maron in a Twitter "fight" today with one of his followers about the principle of paying for art (you should definitely pay for art, whether it's a podcast, a creative performance, or this very Website), and then I saw that Funny or Die had filmed a public service video with Heidi Montag (so they obviously are hard up for cash, because why, why, why), and then I saw even more people were following and media outlets were interviewing a 19-year-old that Conan O'Brien followed for no particular reason whatsoever on Twitter, so really, maybe this is just a lost cause. Anyhow. When I saw Gabe Delahaye a couple of weeks ago, I told him that his Videogum and its mighty minions would beat me handily for "Best Website," so I called it. Still. No matter how silly you think any awards are, when they announce them live and decide to nominate you, there's a moment right before the announcement when you get nervous, and moments afterward where they've announced someone else's name when you have to remind yourself that it's just a silly award. I'd much rather have a job that pays my rent and offers me health insurance, vacation and sick days. So if you have one of those, please consider hiring me? Thanks!
In the meantime, here are your 6th annual ECNY Awards winners...
Best Improv Group: I Eat Pandas
Best One Person Show: Supernormal – Tom Shillue
Best Website: Videogum.com
Best Host: Gabe Liedman, Jenny Slate and Max Silvestri
Best Book: Rejected: Tales of the Failed, Dumped and Canceled – Jon Friedman
Best Sketch Comedy Group: Murderfist
Best Technician: Carol Hartsell
Best Variety Show: Risk! True Tales Boldly Told
Outstanding Achievement in Postcard or Flyer Design: Fag Life: A Conversation with Fred Phelps – Mindy Tucker
Best Short Comedic Film: Everyone Poops Trailer – Landline TV
Emerging Comic Award: Myq Kaplan
Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Tweeting: @Lizzwinstead
Best Musical Comedy Act (Group or Solo): Snakes
Best Female Standup Comedian: Morgan Murphy
Best Male Standup Comedian: Hannibal Buress
I have plenty of other thoughts about the ECNY Awards, and comedy awards in general, but I'll save those for another time and place.
Would you like to play a game? And I don't mean global thermonuclear war. I mean, how'd you like to guess a few things that happened last night on Saturday Night Live? Such as...how many SNL writers who aren't part of the on-air cast got to appear either live or superimposed on graphics last night? How many sketches either started or ended not when they should have? Or, better yet, how many people in the Eastern and Central time zones missed a half-hour of the show because they weren't home and depended upon their DVRs and/or TiVos to record it? Heck. Why ask all of those questions. How 'bout them Cowboys? Thank goodness their dismantling of the Eagles took so long, because that, plus the late-night news (in NYC, Darlene Rodriguez wore her J-E-T-S Jets Jets Jets green, didn't she?) pushed the start of SNL past midnight. But, oh, if that were the only mishap. It was a mess. Sometimes quite a fun mess, though. Just like Sir Charles Barkley himself, who I previously have seen in the wilds of Arizona nightclubs when I was a newspaper reporter there. Let's get to the recap!
We start with one of our colder cold opens, as Wolf Blitzer (Jason Sudeikis) is in CNN's Situation Room, but that's not even what the sketch is about, so why, really, if only to hear Sudeikis mock Blitzer. I guess that's why. But we cut to a press conference in Yemen with Gen. David Petraeus (Will Forte) and Yemen's president/premier (Fred Armisen) with reporters played by Nasim Pedrad and Bill Hader. Can we just skip ahead to the monologue?
We follow with what appears to be a fake ad with Sudeikis, Kristen Wiig, Pedrad and Abby Elliott (voiced by Hader). It's for Thomas Peepers Insurance. Wait. What's this? It's still rolling? Turns out this isn't one of those fake ads at all, but a lengthy clever short. Or not. Hey. What's going on here?
The game show Reel Quotes could be the best thing ever, the worst thing ever, or perhaps both at the same time. Hosted by Hader (Red Farvey?). Contestants video store owner Barkley, housewife Wiig. Is this bit meta? You see we had a failure to communicate, and then the skit is a failure in communication. “You’re going to need a bigger shark bag” is funny. And you can handle my privates, so long as you ask nicely.
We're about to see a bunch of new live stand-up comedy on our basic cable TV sets thanks to Comedy Central. The fourth season of Live at Gotham debuts this weekend, and in the first week of November, 24 stand-ups get to tape their very own half-hour Comedy Central Presents specials to air in early 2010. In between those two things, the network has given the go-ahead to John Oliver to present his very own stand-up showcase. If John Oliver & Friends sounds like something as fun and magical as the Eugene Mirman Comedy Festival, well, then you can pretty well guess the lineup. It's going to be good.
There will be three tapings (Oct. 23-25) at NYU's Skirball Center, which will produce six half-hours of stand-up comedy, featuring Oliver and his friends. A few names appear multiple times, which is curious and suggests the format could spin a bit. We'll just have to wait and see, won't we!
SHOW 1 ~ Friday - Oct. 23 - 6:45 p.m., with Marc Maron, Janeane Garofalo, Maria Bamford, Hannibal Buress, Wyatt Cenac and Pete Holmes
SHOW 2 ~ Saturday - Oct. 24 - 7:45 p.m., with Paul F. Tompkins, Maria Bamford, Greg Fitzsimmons, Nick Kroll and Eugene Mirman
SHOW 3 ~ Sunday - Oct. 25 - 5:45 p.m., with Brian Posehn, Kristen Schaal, Wyatt Cenac, Greg Fitzsimmons, Eugene Mirman, Pete Holmes and Mary Lynn Rajskub
If you're going to be in NYC and are at least 18 years old, go to The Black List's John Oliver page and follow the instructions to request tickets.
It's fairly well accepted that to be a great comedian, you need to get onstage as much as possible. Perform every night, multiple times if you can, to as many kinds of audiences. Learn what works, what's funny, how to adapt to situations. I bring all of this up today because last night's edition of Nightline on ABC opened with a feature on talented people and why they're talented. They talk about singers, musicians and athletes. It's something worth watching for comedians and bloggers alike. Which reminds me. Time to get us all back in the loop with the latest headlines and subplots in the comedy world:
One of my favorite up-and-coming stand-up comedians is Hannibal Buress, a Chicago native who now lives in New York City. Last night, he killed it on NBC's Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, and this weekend, he'll be slaying audiences at my original "home" club in Seattle, the Comedy Underground. Go see Hannibal, wherever he is performing. You will laugh! A lot! I think he's one of the freshest, smartest voices in stand-up right now, and his laid-back vibe and insight reminds me a bit of Mitch Hedberg, in only the best ways. Here's his performance from last night's Fallon, with routines about apple juice, his name and more:
His website is still under construction. You can follow my coverage of Hannibal Buress, or follow him on Twitter @hannibalburess. Through the magic of technology, Buress and I happened to both be on Gmail last night when the show came on, and I've included a portion of our chat...after the jump...
Some stand-up comedy specials try to overwhelm you with flashing spotlights, raucous applause and laughter in cutaway crowd shots, and rapid-fire editing. OR, you could go ahead and showcase some unique comedians and let the material and stage presence speak for itself. In The Awkward Kings of Comedy, director/executive producer Victor Varnado puts the camera directly on his performers -- Baron Vaughn, Eric Andre, Hannibal Buress, host Marina Franklin, and himself -- and gives them the 15-minute showcase sets they deserve to share with the world. Certainly, there are hip-hop beats (provided by King Supernuts the Second), animated sequences for each performer, as well as an opening animation with voiceover narration that suggests two warring African tribes stumbled upon the first "Yo Momma" jokes.
This film isn't about the leaders of the pack, as this intro itself reveals, but rather, about the awkward kid in the glasses standing near the leader, who someday would become "funny...and a little bit weird."
The title also, of course, references back to Spike Lee's 2000 stand-up concert documentary, The Original Kings of Comedy. Varnado's film is an "alternative" nerd response to this, demonstrating that black comedians do not have to do stereotypical black comedy. Whatever that means. During one conversational interlude in the documentary, the comedians discuss the differences between a "predominantly black" crowd and a "predominantly urban" one, and you'll see by watching these performances that they would kill just fine in the former room, but they'd have to work hard for their laughs in the latter. Franklin even acknowledges the difficulties once trying to win over the audience at Showtime's At the Apollo.
Here, though, over the course of two shows taped at 45 Bleecker, the comedians can be themselves and allow an audience to see a "super articulate" man who likes to sing (Vaughn), a multicultural tornado of a comedian (Andre), a laidback guy with punchlines that will floor you (Buress), a black albino with the superpower to make you laugh (Varnado) and a woman who was both the blackest girl in a white neighborhood and the whitest girl in a black neighborhood (Franklin). It's all quite enjoyable, and the kind of special that Comedy Central, HBO and anyone else looking to showcase stand-up comedy should be broadcasting and producing more often.
The Awkward Kings of Comedy has its world premiere screening May 30 at the 92Y Tribeca in NYC, with a post-screening Q&A with Varnado.
Many comedians work the college circuit in addition to the comedy clubs across America. It's so difficult to describe how weird the advance press and promotions for clubs (TV, radio and print) can be sometimes, but for colleges, the school newspaper sends out their crackerjack staff of cub reporters. And as Hannibal Buress proved onstage last night, the results can be highly amusing and amazing all at once. For example, this line actually appeared in print to explain why Buress would perform for the students at Eastern Illinois University last month: "Burress (sic) was the most popular comedian in Caponera's price range of $2,000." Of course he was. Of course. But there's so much more. You'll have to hear it from him, though.
The current print issue of New York magazine asked a bunch of insidery insiders in the show bidness to name their favorite funny people who have yet to make it big but coulda woulda shoulda someday, particularly if magazines such as New York would only profile them. It's like opening Paradox's Box in here. So the mag invited 10 of these comedians to perform recently at Gotham, and, spoiler alert, didn't invite an audience! Awkward styling and profiling ensued. Here's some of the video from that experiment (note: some language NSFW):
Features Craig Baldo, Ophira Eisenberg, Max Silvestri, Hannibal Buress, Kumail Nanjiani, Carla Rhodes, Desiree Burch, Claudia Cogan, Reese Waters, and Sara Schaefer. New York also spoke briefly with the comedians afterward. If you pick up an actual copy of the magazine, though, you can see that each of these 10 funny peoples got their own official magazine profile picture and brief bio (thanks for the JPG, Carla!).
You can now enjoy watching the trailer for the documentary film, The Awkward Kings of Comedy, featuring Victor Varnado, Eric Andre, Baron Vaughn, Hannibal Buress and Marina Franklin. "Comedy plus blackness, to the nerd power." You're welcome.
UPDATED: Now with the actual trailer embedded after the jump.
The UCB Theatre in New York City has a tradition of offering great stand-up comedy showcases for free late-night Mondays. For a while, Aziz Ansari hosted the showcase under the name Crash Test. Then Ansari got all Human Giant, and the showcases took a break. Leo Allen has taken over hosting duties in the 11 p.m. Monday timeslot, now known as Whiplash. This week, audiences got treated to Allen, Sean Patton, Eugene Mirman, Janeane Garofalo, John Mulaney and Hannibal Buress. For free! (Well, there is the "Bucket of Truth" to accept your comedy donations afterward, but still...) So imagine my surprise this week to see the house only half full?! You're missing out, people!
Janeane Garofalo, pictured here resting her bad back. "Mama's got a bum stem!" she told the crowd. Photo by Mindy Tucker. More photos at With Reservation.
Eugene Mirman has announced the planned lineups for his crazy-yet-true-because-it-is-Eugene-after-all comedy festival named for him, taking place Sept. 25-28 in Brooklyn. Mirman pretty much has it covered -- most of his usual and unusual suspects will appear over those four days and nights at two venues, Union Hall (where Mirman already hosts the popular Tearing the Veil of Maya showcase on Sundays with Michael Showalter in Park Slope) and The Bell House (a new joint the Union Hall folks are opening nearby).
Time Out NY playfully hinted at what a Eugene Mirman Comedy Festival might look like, with hints from Mirman himself.
Want to see who's scheduled to perform?