‘Why’ We Should Tune In to Hannibal Buress’s New Show
Hannibal Buress has become one of comedy’s biggest presences over the last year, catapulted by his role as a regular on Comedy Central’s Broad City. His scattered yet poignant observational sense of humor has him existing outside of the standard realms of his craft, making him a singularly unique comic in a game where everything else has a tendency to feel the same. He’s been around the fringes for some time now, having sported small roles on 30 Rock, Bob’s Burgers, The Mindy Project, and Louie. Now though, he’s getting his chance to finally be the center of our focus and attention.
The show is called Why? With Hannibal Buress, and based on early talk, it’s going to be nothing short of crazy. Because each episode is shot on the day it airs, critics haven’t (and won’t) receive any screeners; everything we see is being viewed for the first time ever, beginning with the July 8 premiere. Past that, Buress has been reticent to brand and sell the show in anything but the vaguest of terms. In one recent interview with AV Club, he went about as in-depth as he’ll go concerning the series.
It’s going to be some sketches, some interviews, some man-on-the-street stuff. It’s going to be my show. Yeah, man. I don’t know why we have to do this… people, [asking] ‘What is the show?’ I don’t know, it’s going to be funny. I don’t like selling it. [Laughs.] It’s just going to be funny shit from my perspective, and that’s what people can expect.
Buress is a comedian that in many ways defies convention. His show isn’t looking to be a sketch show a la Inside Amy Schumer or Key & Peele. Nor is it looking to be a semi-serious retrospective on his life in the mold of Louie.
What Why? will be instead, is a show that embodies the spirit of Hannibal Buress as a comedian: Humor stripped down to its oddest, most entertaining elements. His most base elements lie in observation, something we hope will shine through in a project that will entirely be his own. Watch any of his stand-up, and you see a comic that breaks down and analyzes everything in his life. From describing the way other comedians tell jokes, to wondering why the National Spelling Bee is on ESPN, his humor is a constant stream of analysis; think Jerry Seinfeld’s trademark “What’s the deal with [insert thing here]?” on a modern, sophisticated level.
Even knowing all this though, we still don’t know what Why? will look like in its execution. For all we know, it could end up a scattered mess of one-liners lacking structure. Any show that shoots and airs on the same day runs that risk. But there’s a certain liberation to being able to take in a new show without having critics whisper in our ear. Any opinion we form will be entirely organic and uninfluenced by hype or criticism. Instead, we’ll get to judge based on the pure merit of Buress’s comedic vision.
Win, lose, or draw, if there’s one thing Hannibal Buress has consistently done throughout his career, it’s been staying true to his own unique brand of comedy. Why? won’t be selling anything to us other than sheer entertainment, and in the process it could inadvertently end up shattering the mold for Comedy Central shows in the process.
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