On the heels of his 2012stand-up comedy CD  “Animal Furnace,” Hannibal Buress is back with a new comedy album called “Live from Chicago.”

There is no point in pretending this is an unbiased review, so let’s just get this out of the way … I love Buress.  Every bit is honed to perfection, and he is one of my favorite comics working today.  He has a very unique voice, and a very laid-back delivery style.

One thing you hear a lot of comics say when setting up a joke is “this is completely true.”  Some will tag it with “seriously, this is true, you can’t make this stuff up.”  The point is that the comic wants you to believe that the bit wasn’t just written for the act, but is actually based on the comic’s real life.  I’ve never really understood why that matters.  Funny is funny.  I’m not going to laugh harder or longer simply because the comic told me it really happened.

I mention that because one of the things I have liked most about Buress over the years is that, at least once or twice in each special, he actually takes the opposite approach and openly reveals his jokes are made up.  For example, on his first album “My Name is Hannibal,” he has a bit where he mentions living alone.  Then, on the now famous bit about “pickle juice,” he opens the bit by talking about his roommate.  That would have gone unnoticed by most listeners, but Buress calls attention to it, admitting: “I know I said I lived alone earlier, but I like to create different realities for my jokes.”

The act of letting the audience in on the process is repeated on Live from Chicago as well.  In one bit, seemingly out of nowhere, a DJ drops music into one of the punchlines.  Smiling, Buress that admits to an audience member: “You are just watching a man live out his dream on that joke.” Later in the show, Buress talks about going to a Riff Raff show, and the fact that Riff Raff basically just listened to his own music on stage and repeated a word every now and again.  Wondering if the same approach could be applied to comedy, the DJ started playing the previously mentioned “pickle juice” bit, and Buress stepped in to hit to the punchline.

The balance of this comedy album is made up of bits about opening for Tracy Morgan, performing (or not performing) for the troops, how easy it is to start a parade in New Orleans, the fact that he cannot fight but wishes he could, and injuring his back.  The bit about injuring his back contains one of the funniest lines on any album I have heard in a long time.

Hannibal Buress Live From Chicago is highly recommended.  Check out our Comedy Central Records page

Live From Chicago
Hannibal Buress
Stand-up Comedy MP3
Comedy Central Records 2014

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