What We’re Streaming: 02/05/2016

Hannibal Buress: Comedy Camisado

hannibal

While one of the most hilarious comics rising on the scene, Hannibal Buress’ comedy is a special kind of slow burn. The laid back comic’s style is an unusual combination of self-deprecation and unwavering confidence that few performers possess — maybe Louis C.K. and Buress.

On his third longform special, Comedy Camisado, this one a Netflix exclusive, Buress is unflappable even as the first ten or so minutes elicit a lot of titters, and a few scattered laughs. It’s not that his riffs about his LASIK, potential blindness, Stevie Wonder, and birthdays are not clever or amusing — but it’s pretty quiet for a comedy showcase of a brilliant comedian. However, if Buress has any doubts, it will never show; he has the air of someone who knows by the time the show is over, the audience will be right along with him.

Indeed, the energy starts to pick up when he rails about being carded: “you want ID, how about you look at my body, I don’t have the metabolism of a 20-year-old?” From there, it’s over — in a longago promo, Buress jokingly (semi-mockingly, even) referred to his comic style as his “laid back take on the mundane,” but while some of his premises are familiar, this is certainly a bit of misdirection. From teenagers getting toasted at brunch, to air travelers binging on Wipeout, Buress’ material lives in the absurd — and he’s among the keenest in spotting crazy. Moreover, Buress is a master of building energy, fomenting into hysterical rage to penetrating effect at just the right time, as when reacting to people concerned about his fly.

As to the rampaging elephant wearing a colorful sweater, clutching a pudding pop in its trunk, of course it comes up. It had to. About 30 minutes into his performance, the audience captured, he punchlines a joke with “is this a set up? did Bill Cosby send you?” He then pauses and reflects, “boy, that situation got out of hand…yikes!” He makes a few jokes about the backlash and tweaking the media’s minimizing of him with monickers like “unknown comedian Hannibal Buress.” For the record, if you don’t know, he was already one of the brightest young stars in the stand-up universe when his casual riff in a local show went super-viral. I’d first come across him years earlier, when Chris Rock mentioned him in an article as his favorite young comedian, sending me on a YouTube clip jag. Anyway, it’s a quick routine (maybe a minute), punctuated by a perfect closer, and then he’s on to a bit on gambling.

Comedy Camisado is merely another step on the slow-but-steady soar of the laconic Buress. Is it classic? Time will tell, but as with pretty much everything he does, it’s a quietly mesmerizing and genuinely hilarious hour plus.

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