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Live Review: Hannibal Buress @ The Tivoli


Hannibal Buress is a man of many talents… well, two really. You may know him from his acting appearances in the likes of ‘Broad City’, and even as the co-host of ‘The Eric Andre Show’. But aside from this, he has primarily made a name for himself through his stand up comedy. Touring Australia for the first time since 2011, we were luckily enough to catch him on the last stop of his Aussie ‘Hannibal Montanabal’ tour at a sold-out show at Brisbane’s The Tivoli.

Rolling up to the prestigious venue, Hannibal’s hype man DJ Tony Trimm greeted us with a selection of the year’s biggest tunes tangled amidst a range of classics. This went on to introduce the audio-visual capabilities which the show had to offer. In this case, the music was shown alongside hilarious clips from movies and TV, UGK’s International Players Anthem played over Kylie Minogue’s wedding on ‘Home and Away’, along with many more wacky pairings from Australian classics ‘Crocodile Dundee’, ‘The Castle’, and more.

It was this sort of off-the-cuff comedy that kept the night feeling so fresh.

As the night of stand-up comedy actually kicked off, Trimm introduced the first act, the supporting Al Jackson, while he stayed behind the DJ booth, there for conversation and eagerly awaiting audio and visual cues for the show. With his style and subject matter echoing Hannibal’s own, Jackson proved to be an almost perfect fit to open the evening’s comedic proceedings.

Jackson had a variety of conversation topics, starting with his thoughts and qualms about legal weed before he transitioned to his problem with ‘The Walking Dead’. He explained that for a show portrayed in Atlanta, there is a shocking lack of African-American zombies. This soon lead into the funniest part of his set, where he talked about teens and their relationships with sex.

First talking about his nephew finding his iPad and using it for porn (making for an awkward plane flight), his days as a teacher gave some funny stories, notably the student who had “too many bitches on his dick” to hand in his assignment. To say Jackson killed it is an understatement, he left the room energetic and eager for their headliner.

Making it feel like we were in the presence of one of this generation’s greatest (which to be honest we may have been), Hannibal walked on stage like a true rock star backed by a montage of his career highlights.

Hannibal began with a very political opening, firstly talking about controversial presidential election in his country the U.S. He then surprisingly jumped into some Australian-based material (not to mention his reoccurring shockingly bad Aussie accent!), a common theme throughout the night and something which made the night seem very personal.

Armed with his signature laid-back delivery, he went on to explain his situation being ‘locked out’ in Sydney, to which he then proceeded to diss lockout laws with true passion. The hilarious closing statement was, “Brisbane doesn’t have lockouts”, we the crowd corrected him, as we in fact do, resulting in, “Well f*ck this country then!”.

As he twisted through a range short-lived hilarities, his relationship with drugs, his endeavours in the housing market, and even talking about his roles in Hollywood, these were bookended by larger, more memorable skits. Notably his explanation of hooking up with fans, where he shared a fan recount of their night spent together, and Hannibal talking about his plans for a future funeral, where he showed the greeting videos he plans to use for the event featuring activities he could no longer do, one of which be dry humping a coffee machine in a hotel room… it was a great experience.

Rather than keep the performance solely focussed on himself, Hannibal opened the floor to the audience, talking one-to-one with a young pregnant couple, bartering to buy their soon-to-be-born baby. It was this sort of off-the-cuff comedy that kept the night feeling so fresh.

It’s a style which is rarely seen and even then rarely done quite as well as Hannibal did, with his risky tangents and often-wacky pauses

The set ended up being heavily influenced by Hannibal’s love of rap music and hip-hop, with several tangents being based around certain artists or simply funny things which he has picked up on over time. For example, he ranted about how Australian and UK rap will never be as good as American and even hilariously reinterpreted the controversial Riff Raff’s live show in a comedy setting, where he used backing track to say all but two words; extremely smart and amusing.

This made way for more in-depth studies, from a critique of rap opening lines which resulted in a wacky back and forth replay of Nelly’s humming, to an extensive compilation of rappers talking about their morning wood.

The only real flaw throughout the night was how it ended. An American football joke that didn’t touch down at all, and while it landed badly he quickly said goodbye and the night was over, no encore to be seen.

Despite this, the night was full of deranged hilarity. While there wasn’t a huge structure throughout the show, it actually ended up working in Hannibal’s favour thanks to his easy-going comedic style. It’s a style which is rarely seen and even then rarely done quite as well as Hannibal did, with his risky tangents and often-wacky pauses. No doubt we can’t wait to see him when he makes his way down under in the near future!