Unknown Comedian Hannibal Buress Live in London – Comedy Camisado
Star rating: *****
o2 The Forum
Tuesday 13th October 2015
I think o2 Kentish Town Forum need to get the builder’s in as Hannibal Buress and Dana Alexander blew the roof right of at this sensational gig.
It’s been three years since Hannibal Buress last played in Britain. Addressing this, did he give some fancy explanation regarding being busy working, touring or filming? No he did not. He simply said, “My career’s going well. I didn’t need to.” BOOM. That honest, unexpected and funny line got his audience merrily laughing away and set the tone for a superb and memorable performance.
I enjoyed the jokes about trying to spend Scottish currency held over from his last trip to Britain and the usual bemused looks on some shop keepers faces when considering whether it’s “legal tender”. [Of course it is.]
American sport, music and children were some of the varied topics covered during his 70 minute set at this one off, sold out gig at London’s o2 The Forum, Kentish Town. He was highly amusing and creative in his use of music in his set, for instance, when discussing his love of rap music and the band Riff Raff, it was terrific how he segue-wayed being a comedian and rapper beautifully, mimicking a gig he saw the rappers play in Canada earlier in the year.
Continuing the musical theme, the Stevie Wonder routines were a joy, taking snippets of his songs to adapt to comedic effect.
The bold predictions that sports commentators make also were a good source of mirth making. That some of the references to certain teams and sports probably went over many people’s head was irrelevant as he tells the stories in such a clear and amusing way that everyone gets the joke.
Of course, his fame level and notoriety rose considerably after October 2014 when the comment he made on stage about Bill Cosby being a rapist was filmed and widely reported in the media. That created the space for a neat joke about how he, an “unknown comedian”, something of a running theme in the show, is now getting many more opportunities for, how shall we put it, “sexy time”, based on his outing of America’s ‘favourite TV Father’.
The jokes regarding having too many children were side splittingly funny and original. It was a pleasure to hear his laid back, slick delivery again. This was a sensational show from start to finish, with an unexpected medley finale that closed the night on a real high. He’s come on a lot in the last three years and I hope he doesn’t leave it so long before coming over again as I’d put Hannibal’s performance right up there with the very best American comedians like Dave Chappelle, Chris Rock and Reginald D Hunter. Like them he has his very own unique style, forages his own path in the comedy world and delivers his own highly personal perspective on life for his fans to soak up.
His musings on everyday life are a pleasure to hear as there’s a freshness and originality to much of his work. There’s a real attention to detail in his wordplay and an honest simplicity about his language and style of delivery resulting in punchlines that hit hard to people’s funny bones more often than not.
Last time I saw Hannibal in 2012 he was performing in the 150 capacity Soho Theatre (Below). Now he’s performed a sold out show at the 1,100 seater Kentish Town o2 Forum. Not bad for an unknown comedian that goes by the name of Hannibal Buress and hasn’t been to England in three years.
Support act Dana Alexander put in a stellar set worthy of the occasion. Though she covered some well trodden topics relating to ethnicity, race, gender relations, relationships, marriage, homosexuality, parenting and children, she frequently told her jokes in quite an original, sharp and very funny way.
Material focussing on the advantages that come with being a woman were memorable and enjoyable all the more for coming from a positive rather than the negative stance some comedians take. The travails and joys of singleness and one night stands were also really well received by the audience.
She was positively upbeat regarding the advantages of being a gay man (not from personal experience I presume as Dana clearly isn’t a gay man) and voiced a peculiar, somewhat queer, if you pardon the pun, wish for any sons she may bear in future. Though extremely funny (and I guess that’s the point) it actually made no sense as most parents desire to become grandparents at some point.
She asked the audience how many were in favour of gay marriage, a favourite question of Paul Chowdhry these days. A surprisingly high number (especially compared to reactions I’ve witnessed to this question at Chowdhry’s gigs) – I’d say 50% of the venue, cheered in favour. This lead to an exquisitely hilarious punchline.
The material about and for women was overly crude at times, in a way that only a comedienne could be and arguably women attendees probably really enjoyed hearing that female perspective for a change. For instance, the Susan Boyle and Beyonce material was brilliant and original, whilst being very near the knuckle too.
The jokes regarding ‘alphabet beatings’ were superb and even though such material has been covered many times by black comedians, though perhaps not often to a mainstream audience, this had something of a fresh spin on it from Dana.
I’ve seen Dana a number of times and for me, this was by a long way her funniest ever performance. It was polished, slick and very self assured.
Review © Tiemo Talk of the Town
- Tiemo Entertainments Funny Ha Ha Amazon on-line store
- Hannibal Buress: Still Saying Stuff – review – Soho Theatre – 19.08.12
- Hannibal Buress in London: review – Soho Theatre – 16.06.12
- My name is Hannibal: The Hannibal Montanabal Experience – Edinburgh Fringe 2011 review – 21.08.11
- Dana Alexander: New Arrival – Edinburgh Fringe 2011 review – 18.08.11