I’m always on the search for new comedians. Ideally, I like to catch people right before they hit it big, when it is easier to get tickets to see them and they are still a little hungry and edgier. Plus it’s always nice to get in on the ground floor of something; it is a bit of a badge of honor when you like a something (band, movie, etc.) before it becomes popular. Even though you have nothing specifically to do with their success, you feel like you somehow contributed to their discovery.
It’s much easier to find new comedians when you live in a major city with a well-defined comedy scene and lots of clubs to try out. You’ll probably sit through your fair share of terrible comics at open mic nights, but you may also stumble upon a diamond in the rough. I don’t have that luxury, as Albany isn’t exactly known as a breeding ground for comedy (unless you count the politicians – ZING!), so I have to use alternative avenues of finding new voices. One way I do this is to pay attention to who other comedians single out as up and coming talent. Comedians are notoriously pretty tough on their peers, so if they give someone a stamp of approval that is high praise indeed. So when Chris Rock mentioned in a recent Esquire interview that he liked Hannibal Buress and referred to him as “the illegitimate son of Mitch Hedberg,” I made note of it. I like and respect Chris Rock and Mitch Hedberg was one of my absolute favorite stand ups, so this put Buress smack dab in the middle of my radar. I did a little research and discovered that Buress made Variety’s list of “Ten Comedians to Watch” in 2010,was a writer on SNL and currently writes for30 Rock. He took home the 2012 Comedy Award for best club comic. He has an upcoming late night talk show under the Adult Swim division of the Cartoon Network and has a development deal with Jonah Hill at Fox. That’s a pretty good comedy pedigree.
This Sunday night Comedy Central will debut his stand up special Animal Furnace at 11 pm (ET). The DVD and CD will be released on May 22nd. After hearing so much about him, I’m looking forward to finally getting to see him in action. Cable TV isn’t always the best way to experience a comedian – you have to deal with commercial breaks, censors and other editing – but if I like their material under less than perfect circumstances, that makes me much more likely to seek out their unedited material or to see them in person.
Buress was on Conan last night, so I got a taste of his style and delivery. While he didn’t completely bowl me over, I thought some of his bits were pretty funny and I’m optimistic that his special will live up to the hype.
If he’s good enough for Chris Rock, he’s good enough for me. If you check out his special, let me know what you think.