His name Is Hannibal

The Chicago funny man will be rounding off a five-day stint at Acme Comedy Club this Saturday.

by Raghav Mehta

Who: Hannibal Buress

When: June 1st âÄì June 4

8 pm/10:30 pm (times vary)

Where: Acme Comedy Club, 708 N 1st St #G31

Hannibal Buress has had more comedic success over the last few years than most stand-up comics do in a lifetime. Call him talented or call him lucky, just donâÄôt call him the black Mitch Hedberg. He hates that.

Over the phone, Buress is everything his album âÄúMy Name is HannibalâÄù suggests: succinct, friendly and occasionally awkward.

Born and raised in Illinois, Buress paid his comedy-circuit dues performing in Chicago clubs following a stint as a student at Southern Illinois University. After an appearance on “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” in 2009, Buress was hired to write sketches for “Saturday Night Live.” Leaving “SNL” after one season, Buress went on to write for and act in season five of âÄú30 RockâÄù (he plays the bum who doles out all the snappy one-liners).

While he enjoyed the jobs, he still insists his stand-up is stock-in-trade. And he doesnâÄôt seem likely to quit anytime soon.

âÄú[30 Rock] just helped me learn how to write tight jokes and how to get the word in perfect and really work like that,âÄù Buress said. âÄúAs far as pacing and tying things together, it helped me a lot with the writing.âÄù

Since his ascent, Buress has endured his fair share of the âÄúBlack Mitch HedbergâÄù comparisons. ItâÄôs a label that he detests, but continues to dog him despite his popularity.

âÄúIt suggests that IâÄôm a carbon copy, which IâÄôm not. It puts me in a box [and] I think IâÄôm doing something a bit different,âÄù Buress said.

ItâÄôs a fair comparison, but borders on superficial considering how original Buress actually is. While his album is chock-full of whip-smart observations that are reminiscent of some of the more snarky moments of âÄúStrategic Grill LocationsâÄù and âÄúMitch All Together,âÄù BuressâÄô comedic personality comes from a place far more personal. HedergâÄôs sets were a marathon of absurdist one-liners about the mundane told at a breakneck pace.

Like Hedberg, Buress also finds hilarity in lifeâÄôs dullest moments, but here itâÄôs all   punctuated by a certain degree of meanness and the laughs have more to do with the actual material than BuressâÄô whacky persona. Even when he indulges in a topic as childish and innocent as video games (he does so frequently), he follows through with a punchline that is as silly as it is snide.

All comparisons aside, Buress isnâÄôt only one of the funniest new comedians on the rise, but also a true original. He takes queues from icons, citing classics like Chris RockâÄôs âÄúBigger and BlackerâÄù and Dave Chappelle âÄúFor What ItâÄôs Worth,âÄù but brings comedy to a place far weirder and more awkward. Best of all, he manages to keep you laughing the whole way there.