Hannibal Buress ‘Animal Furnace' (Comedy Central/Stand Up!)
Hannibal Buress is on his way to the same standup strata as Patton Oswalt because he takes observational humor into places that most people cannot observe without a guide. Buress got his break as a “Saturday Night Live” writer, but the best material on his second album, “Animal Furnace,” shows why Tina Fey harvested him after one season on “SNL” for writing duty on “30 Rock.” Like Oswalt, his starting point might be familiar territory, but Buress dives into the rabbit hole on every subject. Even on seemingly played-out subjects like air travel, Buress dissects the logic behind security measures to the point where his arguments could provide the basis for reasonable and uncommonly hilarious legislation.
Titled as a play on his name, “Animal Furnace” spins up quickly with “Wack Writing,” a detailed and painful dissection of a piece of college journalism that got it horribly wrong. This could come off as unnecessarily meanness toward an inexperienced student, but as Buress explains, “this is all real, a human being wrote this and then they sent it to a higher-ranking human being, an editor, and that person said, ‘Yeah, let's go with that.'” It sets the tone for multiple harangues on stupidity that hit squarely at Montreal jaywalking police, Young Jeezy and Odd Future, the hygiene of frequent hand-shakers such as former U.S. presidents, and hipsters with handlebar mustaches who try to have serious conversations.
When he's done with the rest of the world, Buress turns his gaze inward and scores just as many points — his bad handling of a Facebook faux pas makes the most of both Buress' big mistake and the social network's technical quirks. The observations on “Animal Furnace” might be relatively cool and commonplace, but it is Buress' language that gives his humor heat.
— George Lang