If you've never heard of Hannibal Buress, you need to learn -- fast.
A former writer for Saturday Night Live and 30 Rock, the 28-year-old comic has already appeared on nearly every late night talk show that matters, and released his widely-acclaimed debut album, My Name is Hannibal last year. His laid-back style and likeable personality make his stories about having an affinity for pickle juice or his dream of one day kicking a pigeon work like very few comics could.
This Tuesday through Saturday he's appearing at the Acme Comedy Co., giving folks the chance to check out his unique brand of comedy. We caught up with him on the phone this past week, where he shared his thoughts on family, Juggalos (yeah - THOSE Juggalos) and why he almost quit comedy mid-show in California (not really).
[jump] You've been starting to blow up on the comedy scene lately and have been getting more press ever since the album came out last summer. How have the crowds been lately?
It's been interesting. About a week ago I was doing a show in Irvine, California. It was kind of a small crowd in a big room, so the energy really wasn't all that good, but it was still okay. So I walk over to the side of the stage and took a pause for a second, and this lady yells out, "Hang in there!" I was like, really? Hang in there? She said that like I was having a breakdown and I was going to quit comedy or something if she didn't say that. So that was kind of annoying. Otherwise, the tour has been really fun. It's been good getting out and meeting fans from all over.
My Name Is Hannibal came out last summer and got really good reviews from fans and critics. But what a lot of people don't know is that you recorded that album 18 months before it was released. Is it safe to say that you've been doing mostly new material on this tour?
Yeah, it's almost all new material. Out of like a 60-minute set, I do maybe three or four bits off the album. It's to the point now where I feel comfortable selling the album after shows. When I first started selling it, I felt like maybe I didn't have enough new material, but now it's almost completely different.
You talk a little bit about your family during your set. How do they feel when they hear you're doing material about them?
On my last album, I only really talked about my nieces and nephews and they seem to like it. I mean, they're only four and six, so they don't really have issues with me at holidays or anything like that. Now I do some new material about my grandma and my cousin where I'm like, "Should I really be saying this?" But it's funny so I think it'll be okay.
Right now we're getting into the summer festival season for music and comedy. Last year you ended up performing at the Insane Clown Posse's Gathering of the Juggalos. What was that like and would you do it again?
Yeah I'd do it again; it paid really well. (laughs) I remember right before my show I was standing there thinking, "What am I doing?" People were getting stuff thrown at them and people were yelling stuff, but my show was actually really good. I mean, I went on at like 2 or 3 a.m. on Thursday night, and that was before things got really crazy like it did with all that Tila Tequila stuff. I was only there for a few hours, but I saw tons of nudity, face paint, people getting fucked up. It was sensory overload there. But to be completely honest I would absolutely go back and do it again for sure.
You've done your fair share of TV writing over the past few years with Saturday Night Live and 30 Rock. Are you looking to stay active in the TV world?
I'm working on some things right now and I'd be happy working in TV, but not as a nine-to-five staff writer. Working on SNL and 30 Rock gave me the opportunity to work with some great people who also really helped me develop as a standup comedian, but it's a time consuming job. It doesn't allow you to get out on the road, which is what I'm focused on right now. I'm trying to be out there as much as possible, getting new material ready for an hour-long special next year along with a new CD.
What should people coming out to your shows at the Acme expect if they've never seen you before?
Man, I don't pitch my own standup! Go watch a clip online and decide whether or not you want to go. The standup itself is the pitch.
IF YOU GO:
May 31 - June 4
8 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday; 10:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday
Acme Comedy Co.