Comedian Hannibal Buress jokes about new Kanye album, Trump at Saturday show


Zack Laurence/The Daily Northwestern

Comedian Hannibal Buress cracks jokes in front of a sold-out audience at Pick-Staiger Concert Hall. Buress, A&O Productions’ winter speaker, joked about local and national politics as well as student life and pop culture references.

Julia Doran, Reporter

From the unspoken ironies of everyday life to the 2015 Chicago mayoral race, comedian Hannibal Buress, a Chicago native, touched on a wide range of subjects Saturday night as the winter speaker for A&O Productions.

Buress talked about current developments in pop culture, including rapper Kanye West’s new album, The Life of Pablo, and popular apps or services like Amtrak, Uber and Snapchat. A crowd of more than 600 attendees was at the sold out show.

“I see some of you Snapchatting saying ‘look where I am, look where I am — but I want this to disappear,’” Buress said. “Look at my experiences and then they’ll go away. What logic is that for you to show people and then have them be disposable? I don’t understand.”

Buress is the host and creator of the comedy show, “Why? With Hannibal Buress,” which plays on Comedy Central. He also co-hosts “The Eric Andre Show” on Adult Swim, and his Netflix special “Comedy Camisado” recently premiered.

Communication senior David Brown and Communication junior Ben Gauthier kicked off the performance at Pick-Staiger Concert Hall before Buress took the stage.

Buress’ set included several jokes about the illogical sequence of lyrics in some rap songs. He also discussed more serious topics such as fraternity and hazing culture, employing the same humorous style throughout.

Buress playfully discussed the irony of fraternity culture, questioning the need to haze brothers to establish friendship.

“For some of those fraternities, you have to get beat up to get in,” Buress said. “They say, ‘Hey, you want to be my friend? Okay, cool. Alright, I gotta beat the sh— out of you. You don’t want to play video games or talk about things you have in common?’ And they say, ‘No, I’d rather take a wooden paddle and hit you on the ass in front of those dudes.’”

Other jokes touched on political and social topics. Buress commented on individual politicians and political candidates, such as former mayoral candidate Jesus “Chuy” Garcia, who lost to incumbent Mayor Rahm Emanuel (Communication ‘85) in a runoff election last spring.

“You can’t be the mayor of the third biggest city in the country with the name Chuy,” he said. “He could have ran with his real name. His real name is Jesus. Why wouldn’t you be Jesus instead of Chuy? You could have been Jesus running against Emanuel, the Jewish guy — the battle of the ages!”

Buress also spoke about politics at the national level, cracking jokes about Bernie Sanders’ age and Donald Trump’s speaking style, which he likened to that of a comedian because he “throws stuff out to see what sticks.”

Eytan Boclin, A&O director of speakers, said he enjoyed the balance of lethargy and energy in Buress’ comedy, especially when he paused briefly between jokes to allow for relaxed moments of silence. Boclin also said he appreciated the power of Buress’ diction.

“The details and examples and the language that he uses are really precise and efficient and do a lot with a little,” the Communication senior said. “It’s always revealing of his perspective and also conveying of his intelligence. It shows us that this is a guy who’s watching and sees things to their core and can articulate a cool, quick, fun line.”

Buress also incorporated his DJ into the act. The DJ not only played music to accompany his jokes, but also became part of the act himself as Buress teased him, jokingly accusing him of slacking off.

Communication junior Cameron Smith said he was able to tell which jokes were original and noticed that only a couple had been used previously. Smith said he has been a big fan of Buress for almost five years.

“It was cool how he was able to approach touchy subjects and people still laughed at it and were fine with it,” Smith said. “I think that speaks to the confidence that Hannibal has in his performances in the fact that he can honestly say anything and people will laugh at it … (and) I thought it was nice that a lot of it seemed improvised.”

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