Comedian Hannibal Buress sounds a little worn out after his two-day stint in Miami. ESPN’s “SportsNation” hired him to cover Game 6 of the NBA Finals, but when there was no Game 6, he instead donned Spurs gear and made fun of Heat fans.
“I would have liked it if Miami had won another one so I had a basketball game to go to,” Buress said, in his trademark Mitch Hedberg-esque delivery with a twist — fractured but still relaxed and pointed. “Instead, I fulfilled my contractual obligation to make some videos for ESPN.”
You may remember Buress from last year’s Foot Locker commercial “Nicknames,” in which he assigns Kevin Durant a disappointing new moniker. He also had a bit role as a “recurring hobo” on NBC’s “30 Rock,” where he served as a writer. Buress also spent one season writing for “Saturday Night Live.”
Since then, Buress has a handful of acclaimed albums and specials under his belt and is becoming a star in his own right. Despite his success, his affinity for and start in comedy were an unlikely foundation.
“I appreciated comedy in passing, but it wasn’t really something I wanted to do,” Buress said. After a fluke open mic performance, he was hooked and moved from his hometown of Chicago to New York City.
“I didn’t have a plan. I slept on the train a little bit,” Buress said. “I think people build that up and say, ‘You struggled so hard! You were homeless!’ but I didn’t need to do that. I could’ve gone back home to Chicago. People try to make it into this big triumphant thing, but I was stubbornly homeless.”
The casualness with which describes this chain of events is like his performance tenor: He’s noted for his “slacker charm” (as Paste Magazine described it) while relaying autobiographical anecdotes.
One point frequently made by reviewers is that Buress is a minority comedian whose material doesn’t overtly press the issue of race.
In classic Buress-ian style, he acknowledges that perception by saying simply, “I just do what I think is funny.”
IF YOU GO
With: Jenny Godwin, Josh Lathe, Spencer Hicks
When: 8 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. Tuesday
Where: Oklahoma Contemporary Arts Center, 3000 General Pershing Boulevard
When: 7 p.m. Wednesday
Where: Reynolds Performing Arts Center (Holmberg Hall) — 560 Parrington Oval, Norman