Published Jul 25, 2016If it seems like Hannibal Buress has been everywhere in the past five years, it's because he's worked incredibly hard to make it seem that way. With his third special in just four years (an incredible feat for any comedian not named Louis CK), Buress delivers 60-minutes of new material in front of a booming hometown crowd at Chicago's Vic Theatre.
Recorded in 2014, just months before he would gain national attention for calling Bill Cosby a rapist while on stage in Philadelphia, jumpstarting the current media storm and legal proceedings, Live From Chicago shows Buress as a full-fledged standup star, a position he seems ill-equipped to embrace.
Entering the scene in the late 2000s, Buress became an important part of the American alternative comedy scene, with Chris Rock referring to him as the "illegitimate son of Mitch Hedberg." But by the time Hannibal recorded this Comedy Central special, he had backed away from his quirky demeanour and material, forcing himself to come off as another smooth, loud-spoken and broad entertainer.
Opting for longer bits that touch on his own experiences, including his run-ins with Tracy Morgan and Scarlett Johansson, Buress nonetheless proves that his comedy can still be sharp, including a hilarious bit about sending a link of a comedy routine to the troops instead of traveling to the Middle East to perform.
Although he'd become more comfortable with his newfound craft by the time he would release 2016's Comedy Camisado, Hannibal's humour comes off a bit too loose and unfocused on his third special. On Live From Chicago, Buress finds himself in comedy limbo, struggling between with the persona audiences are already comfortable with and the persona he wants the audiences to get comfortable with.
Exclaim! is reviewing every standup comedy special currently available on Netflix Canada, including this one. You can find a complete list of reviews so far here.