Hannibal Buress is a joy to listen to.  His second stand-up comedy album, Animal Furnace, gets its title from a play on his name, despite the fact that the DVD is devoid of any bit where he mentions the words “Animal Furnace.”

Buress has been rising in popularity over the last several years, and deservedly so.  He has a very unique voice, and a very laid-back delivery style.  The limited negative criticism I have read about Buress typically includes a statement of comparison to Mitch Hedberg, with people unartfully referring to Buress as “the black Mitch Hedberg.”  In fact, Buress recently appeared on Marc Maron’s fabulous “WTF” podcast and was asked about his influences.  He did not mention Hedberg, and a bunch of the members from various stand up-related forums were quick to jump on this.  Personally, other than the fact that both Buress and Hedberg are/were hilarious, I think the comparison is not particularly fitting.  Sure, he has a very calm and soft delivery style which is reminiscent of Hedberg, but Hedberg’s act was almost entirely one-liners. Buress has more long-form stories. He is also markedly more animated than Hedberg ever was, especially on this latest album.  They are very different comics.

Fans of Buress who have his first comedy CD, My Name is Hannibal, know that Buress had a lengthy bit about his unique name.  A stranger asks, “Is Hannibal your real name?” and “It says Hannibal on your birth certificate?”  A small portion of that bit is repeated on this album, but other than that small bit, the rest of the album is completely new material.

One of my favorite bits on this album is the second track called “Wack Writing.”  In it, Buress talks about his experience performing at a college, and an article written about the performance by the school newspaper.  He comments on the author’s use of the term “comedic jokes,” stating “I could have been huge, but I pigeonholed myself by focusing only on comedic jokes.”  He also blasts the paper for mentioning how much he was paid, stating that not only was it tacky to do so, but it made his business public and made it difficult for him to charge more in the future.  Perhaps what made this bit even better, at least to this reviewer, is the fact that the paper actually felt the need to respond -read it here-  They could have just left it alone, and perhaps most would have just assumed it was a fictitious bit made up by Buress.  Instead, they got defensive, which made it even more hysterical.

The balance of this stand-up comedy DVD is made up of pretty routine topics, but with the a flair only Buress can bring.  He discusses the TSA, and the ridiculous regulations that prevent us from bring bottled water through the gate (because “what if it’s sippable bomb water?”), being upset with a girl who, after buying her drinks all night at a bar, came back to his hotel room and vomited (because “it was like she was throwing up my money, on my money”), and a hilarious long-form story about getting ticketed for jaywalking in Montreal, Canada (how they had three officers dealing with this “high profile jaywalking case”).

Hannibal Buress Animal Furnace is highly recommended.  Keep an eye on Buress.  He is going to be huge.

Animal Furnace
Hannibal Buress
Stand up comedy DVD
Comedy Central Records 2016

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