“I’m a little foggy from drinking last night,” Hannibal Buress said. “But just know that I love and respect you, brother.”
Hannibal Buress: “Comedy Camisado Tour”
Saturday, October 11
Royal Oak Music Theater
Unsure how to reply, I laughed. But inside I knew, and just so there’s no doubt in anyone’s mind, I’ll write it out loud: I love you too, Hannibal.
In a phone interview with The Michigan Daily, Buress — a burgeoning stand-up who’s gone from that all-too-common category of Just Another Rising Comic to becoming an unavoidable, brilliant mainstay in today’s comedy world — spoke at length about breaking into the limelight. He spent nearly a decade honing his craft on stage behind a mic, quickly drawing attention for an often-endearing brand of storytelling that has seen him wearing a jumpsuit plastered with giant blow-ups of his own face to railing against the racial stereotypes overshadowed by a good glass of apple juice. Then after a stretch of time behind the scenes, in writers’ rooms for “Saturday Night Live” and “30 Rock,” Buress has had one of those years: regular appearances in Comedy Central’s acclaimed “Broad City,” a well-received hour-long special in the form of “Live From Chicago,” capped off by a memorable role in this summer’s hit Seth Rogen vehicle “Neighbors.”
Now, the comedian is bringing a slew of newly written material along for the Comedy Camisado Tour, which stops by at the Royal Oak Music Theatre on Saturday.
“This is my first ever big theater run as a headliner, you know? So I’m excited, man,” he said. “This’ll really be the first time I get to just hit the road and play for large, 800-to-1000 seat audiences. My following’s as big as it’s ever been right now so I’m looking forward to getting this material out there and seeing that reaction on the larger scale.”
One of the things that’s distinguished Buress’s stage presence at live comedy shows over the past few years has been his tendency to gravitate toward an odd-yet-transcendentally-energetic style. In many of the recent performances he’s put on, it isn’t uncommon to see ballet dancers or costumed characters interjecting at natural lulls in classical joke-telling to keep audiences perked for the next punchline.
“It’s fun to mix up the monotony of stand-up for the audiences, or even myself, and have a chance to mess with the pacing aspect of it all. I go to a lot of Cirque-du-Soleil performances in Vegas where I get to see all these different elements coming together — the music, the acting, the athletic aspect,” Buress elaborated. “But ultimately, it’s about what it means to put on a polished event.”
Though that event won’t be coming directly to campus this year, Buress has performed in Ann Arbor in the past, most recently alongside Aziz Ansari at the Comedy Showcase. In a famous bit from his 2012 special “Animal Furnace,” he describes an awkward Facebook-messaging encounter he had with an Ann Arbor woman he wanted to hook up with while in town.
“It’s funny because she tweeted at me the other day complaining about why I don’t post any real jokes on Twitter. She said something like ‘I’m ending our friendship … now,’ ” he recounted. “Then I looked at her Facebook page and I guess she’s a wannabe model or something? And there are all these weird, just strange, pictures of her wearing a bra or a bikini top while holding a nine millimeter gun to a football.”
“So I screencapped that pic, tweeted it to her and said ‘I think I’m OK with you not following me anymore,’ ” he laughed. “It’s always funny when people see proof that something I talk about in my stand-up actually happened, because they’re always like ‘holy shit you weren’t fucking around, dude.’ ”
Buress explained how his writing process has changed a little over the years to incorporate material unfolding around him. He described his comedic style as more reactionary as opposed to pure exaggeration, a brand of jokes which try to capture some of the strangeness he sees everyday, as in the case with Ann Arbor’s resident model/football assassin.
Speaking of strange — “I respect the hell out of that segue, man. Nice.” Buress interjected — the conversation turned to “The Eric Andre Show,” which he’s co-hosted with Andre on Adult Swim since it first aired in 2012, the season 3 premiere debuting late in October. The 11-minute “talk show” features both hosts conducting nonsensical faux-interviews with celebrities (or celebrity impersonators), eventually cutting them together with hilarious surrealist skits that Andre writes, stars in and usually edits himself.
“Eric shoots literally hours of material for every episode,” Buress said. “It’s crazy how much stuff he has. I can’t give away too many secrets, but it’s always a weird dynamic.”
Like “Broad City,” a lot of the show’s acting requires a type of free-range improvisation which Buress feels is becoming extremely prevalent in many filmed comedy projects he has undertaken over the last couple years. Currently, he’s in the process of developing his own show — something he can’t yet discuss at length, but which he promises will mine from the same vein of humor showcased in his stand-up.
When asked what advice he’d give aspiring college-age comedians, he paused for a few seconds.
“Don’t try to be a comedian,” Buress said. “There’s no money in it. You’ll be miserable. All the parts are taken. We don’t need you.”
He paused for another beat before laughing.
“Invent a mobile app. Like the Uber version of hiring private jets,” he said. “That’ll do it.”