Hannibal Buress: The Hannibal Montanabal Experience

Article by Bernard O'Leary | 13 Aug 2011
  • Hannibal Buress: The Hannibal Montanabal Experience

30 Rock fans expecting rapid-fire gags might be disappointed by Buress, a laidback, softly-spoken guy whose style is a bit like listening to Stewart Lee freestyling over a John Coltrane record. But if you stick around, you'll get a scalpel-sharp comic with an original take on pretty much everything.

Even the most familiar tropes of visiting comedians - airports and Scottish weather - are gently caressed into vivid routines by Buress. It's quite obvious why he's paid to write jokes for Saturday Night Live as well as 30 Rock, given his incredible ability to produce perfect one-liners. The recent homophobia controversy surrounding the latter show is mentioned, then quickly dismissed with a joke that's simple but ingenious.

There's a suspicion that this is all an act, that he's delivering a very carefully scripted routine from behind a slacker persona. But the late-night crowd throw some curveballs at him - a latecomer, a walk-out, quite a few heckles - and Buress bats them all away. There's a ferocious intelligence at work here, never more obvious than his apple juice routine which is one of the funniest, least fussy dismissals of racism ever heard.

Confident and achingly cool, Buress is an outstanding ambassador for American comedy.

Hannibal Buress: The Hannibal Montanabal Experience, Pleasance Courtyard, August 3-29 (not 15th), £10.50/£11.50