Hannibal Buress is a really chilled-out entertainer. Mockingly anti-climactic from start to finish, his set meanders with what seems like nonchalant ease. This is no doubt aided by his slow, South Californian drawl, which makes words like ‘goofy’ and ‘dude’ sound positively melodic. He makes great comedy look effortless.
Buress’ style and attitude are so distinctive that jokes covering familiar ground felt fresh. He’s not the first to mock the British for our superfluous use of the word ‘literally’. However, he is the first to make it sound original and witty. Gags about the Olympics - particularly a riff on the ‘last place dude’ - were also hard-hitting if predictable hits.
However, the show also encompassed material you’re unlikely to find anywhere else. Buress has an eye for the illogical, which emerged in a series close observations. His teasing analyses of the story of Jesus and the relationship between Miss Piggy and Kermit the Frog, had the whole room shaking with laughter. Buress also has a good habit of concluding anecdotes not only with unexpected words or phrases, but also with a slight raise of his voice. Anti-punchlines such as, ‘I appreciate your candour’, or ‘he was her confidant’, were delivered in a deliciously inconclusive way. The audience laughed all the harder when, after a suspenseful pause, we realised we’d ‘been had’ - to use a favourite phrase of Buress’ - and that the joke was already over.
Buress’ relaxed drollery also meant that the transition to more cutting material was seamless. His recollection of the car crash he experienced on his twenty-ninth birthday - including a few repeated digs at US healthcare - didn’t lack bite and neither did his more racy confessions. Yet his mellow delivery meant his set was never unsettling. It felt like nothing Buress could ever say would be inappropriate.
The packed house was so won over by him that, by the end, people laughed when he wasn’t even joking. Lulled into a state of relaxed amusement, I could have listened to him all night. You should literally go and see Hannibal Buress.