Comedy’s Rising Stars Shine Brighter

Hannibal Buress has quickly become
a rising and shining comedian,
starting his career in 2002
as an undergrad at the Southern
Illinois University, when he followed
a friend to an open mic night event. Four years later, Hannibal is dubbed the “Best Comedian in Chicago” by Chicago’s Time Out Magazine. Buress is
also a writer for NBC’s Saturday Night Live, but fans and comedy showgoers alike can catch him in action every Sunday at the Knitting Factory.

It was not until an appearance on NBC’s Late
Night with Jimmy Fallon last summer when
Buress not only blew away the audience with
his deep evaluations of random subjects, such as handle bar mustaches and apple juice, but also impressing the producers of SNL so much that they signed him as a writer for the show a couple of days later. The comedian admits that he had no previous professional sketch writing experience other than one writing class at the People’s Improv Theater.

“I never thought, ‘Hey! I’m going to
take this class then next month I’m going
to be writing for SNL,” Buress said.
“They called me in for a meeting and I didn’t even think it was for a job. We talked for 20 minutes, then I was shocked to hear them offer me a writing position on the show.”

Since then, Hannibal has appeared on Lopez
Tonight, The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson and John Oliver’s New York Stand Up. During retired NBA player Charles Barkley’s hosting of SNL, Buress landed his fi rst speaking role in the beginning monologues and fi rst sketch in a segment called “Barkley Golf,” humorously referring to Barkley’s unorthodox golf swing.

Buress is a big sports fan and when asked
who his favorite guest has been so far, he honestly responded, “I’m biased because I got
on camera and my sketch was shown, so
yeah, Charles Barkley is my favorite host.”

Buress hopes for more screen time and a potential segment on SNL, which will be on hiatus for several weeks due to the Winter Olympics.

The comedian has many projects coming up early this year, including an upcoming appearance in the African-American stand-up documentary The Awkward Kings of Comedy in April on Comedy Central.

Buress encourages his fans to reach out to him directly via e-mail ([email protected]) with name suggestions for his yet to be titled comedy CD, which will also be released later this year.

If interested in seeing Buress live, visit the Knitting Factory, where he hosts every Sunday. He does his classic routine and tries out new material. “I have a lot of stuff written down, many notebooks… I’ve probably used about 10 percent of it. I’ll keep looking back to use it and adding more to it.”

If audiences have only seen 10 percent of what Buress has, the future of comedy can only guess what he has store.

For some laughs, follow Hannibal on Twitter
( and Myspace