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Hannibal Buress

  • Orpheum 216 State Street Madison, WI, 53703 United States (map)

The deadpan but improbably controversial comedian returns for a night of stand-up. Info/tix

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Even before Hannibal Buress unwittingly ignited public opinion against Bill Cosby—and arguably helped set the scene for the post-Weinstein and -#MeToo moment we still live in—with a routine about the now-disgraced comic and convicted sex offender's rape accusations back in 2014, the Chicago-born comedian was long known for his onstage bravery. Somehow simultaneously deadpan, intense, and sarcastically surreal, Buress has proven himself incredibly versatile over the past decade. He's most comfortable just being himself, but has pulled off a succession of enviable and short-lived gigs, like writing for Saturday Night Live for one season and only getting one sketch on the air (about Charles Barkley's golf game) and writing for 30 Rock and then quitting after six months. As he's explained in interviews, it isn't that he hasn't appreciated jobs like those, it's just that, "I didn't see myself as a television writer. I saw myself as a comedian working as a television writer."

It's no surprise, then, that since 2012 the other main thing people might know Buress from is his turn as the practically expressionless foil to the disturbingly and tirelessly manic Eric Andre on the deeply damaged and thrilling The Eric Andre Show, a plainly named Adult Swim program that intentionally doesn't telegraph its corrupting effect. Buress largely functions as the show's only grounding force, but one of the program's many memorable bits features him rapping as The Matrix's Morpheus, who rhymes his name with "walruses" too many times to even be plausible.

Buress is also an exceptional stand-up—as captured on releases including his 2010 debut album My Name Is Hannibal and the 2016 documentary Hannibal Takes Edinburgh—who doesn't shy away from controversy but also doesn't intentionally court it. Usually. Earlier this year, Buress' set at Loyola University Chicago, a Jesuit Catholic school, was nearly cut short when he disobeyed the college's request to not make jokes about sexual abuse—he started his set by projecting the email stating this stipulation with his booking. There was a time, long before all this controversy associated with Hannibal's name when he was best known for spinning memorable jokes about weird things, like hoarding pickle juice and kicking pigeons. Now that Buress has moved back to Chicago ("it's less famous people for competition"), expect some musings on what it's like adjusting to life back in the Midwest on top of whatever words he happens to think of that kinda-sorta rhymes with "walrus." —David Wolinsky

Earlier Event: September 6
Car Seat Headrest
Later Event: October 3
Death Cab For Cutie, Charly Bliss