Review: Hannibal Buress “Animal Furnace”
Hannibal Buress might be one of the most promising stand-up comedians working today. His 2010 album, My Name Is Hannibal marked him as a promising up-and-comer who told fantastically witty stories about the interests of a twentysomething mixed with wild theories, like having metal arms or utilizing pickle juice in the most creative way possible. Buress’ delivery was sometimes awkward and laid back, showing off his Midwestern roots while at the same time, observational, like a friend pointing out the weirdness of a situation.
Fast forward a few years with a lot of stage time in the Big Apple, writing jobs on 30 Rock and Saturday Night Live, and a recent “Best Club Comic” award at The Comedy Awards, Buress managed to retain all of his clever observational tones but he’s sped up his delivery. On Animal Furnace, Buress isn’t as laid back as My Name Is Hannibal; he’s on the “calm offensive”. Tired of just being the passive observer, Buress is now eager to take the first clever shot at the ridiculousness he sees in his travels.
Buress lays on the easy charm with an opening shot at the venue’s security. Taking it into a story about his early travels with a band dropping some solid material about “assed out microphones,” and the ratio in which how much a garbage can limits your peripheral vision… by about 100%. It’s silly but it’s hilarious, and sets the tone throughout the special. When things are weird or boring, Buress figures out ways to make that situation entertaining, if only just for himself (“Wack Writing”) resulting in absolutely hilarious observations of the world around him.
Buress touches briefly on his time at Saturday Night Live, recalling a situation where he was able to write a sketch for Megan Fox. The sketch ended up not making it to air but it did confirm a love for scat music-related deaths and reiterates that if there were an experience to be had, Buress will go down that road. Buress disarms the TSA with digs about their liquid rule (with Snickers and “bomb juice”). He worries about rape statistics. Is less than thrilled about meeting Ex-President Jimmy Carter. Takes umbrage with hipsters with handlebar mustaches and judges old racist men by their level of Apple Juice acceptance.
Much of Animal Furnace puts Buress on the path wondering why people act the way they do. Peaking with an “it’s either them or me” questioning moment. It’s too great a line to ruin for those who haven’t heard yet. But much of Buress’ act is just that, urging people to make better life decisions. But he does turn the bullshit detector on himself a few times claiming he wears hoodie to make masturbation “even creepier” and touches on a story of perpetrating a series of Facebook messaging fuck-ups.
If you had to choose, the DVD of Animal Furnace has the slight advantage for two reasons. First, the visual inclusion of Buress on stage with his half-closed eyes, starring slightly up to the ceiling while pointing to the crowd driving punchlines home just a bit further. Second, the brief bonus documentary One Week To Kill documents the 7 days leading up to the taping of the special as Hannibal hones his jokes and interacts with his fans and family. It’s a terrific look into just what a comedian’s life is like.
Hannibal Buress is our pick for one of the most promising comedians to break into the mainstream. He’s a hot commodity, from writing gigs with 30 Rock and SNL, co-starring roles on the The Eric Andre Show to a development deal with Jonah Hill. All moot points if he weren’t such an unbelievably and consistently funny a man. Animal Furnace is laugh-out-loud funny. It’s the type of comedy album you want to play for a friend just to witness their first time reactions. His name is Hannibal Buress, and it’s a name everyone will soon know.