Fresh off his win at the 2012 Comedy Awards for Best Club Comic, Hannibal Buress is a name not immediately recognizable to those who don’t follow comedy for a living. Yet he is far from a fresh new face. In addition to becoming one of the biggest stand-up draws in the country, he has also worked as a staff writer for both Saturday Night Live and 30 Rock. Not a bad resume for someone who is only 29.
One of the major challenges for stand-up comedians is to strike an appropriate balance between the timely and timeless. Material should be fresh and create highlight a new perspective, yet must still relate to the audience. There can be a risk in losing the audience if a comic tries to offer premises that only appeal to a few people. At the same time, it can be difficult to talk about the same topics that have occupied the world of stand-up for decades.
Buress’s strength as a comic relies on his ability to negotiate both. He provides a great example of how so much of comedy is in the delivery. This is not to say that his writing skills take a back seat. His recent one hour special Animal Furnace, premiering tonight on Comedy Central, and his debut album My Name is Hannibal demonstrates Buress’s skill in offering uniquely fresh takes on such familiar stand up topics as the airport, bars, and girlfriends. I’d invite readers to check out as much of his material as possible.