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Comedy Preview: Hannibal Buress at South Drive-In

Grant Walters Grant Walters Comedy Preview: Hannibal Buress at South Drive-InPhoto courtesy Darius Griffin
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Supporting his latest special, "Miami Nights," with a limited drive-in tour, the acclaimed comedian makes a stop in Columbus on Saturday night

Hannibal Buress’ newest comedy special, Miami Nights, opens with taped footage of a 2002 set the then 19-year-old fledgling stand-up performed at his alma mater, Southern Illinois University Carbondale. Although barely recognizable in the glitchy camcorder video, the young comic, originally known by his pseudonym Amir Natural, clearly had raw stage presence and timing. 

By contrast, Miami Nights (released July 3 via YouTube) sees Buress at his peak, darting between bits with swift precision in an aural and visual feast that meshes a dynamic live performance with clever post-production adds. Recorded before a pre-COVID audience, …Nights chiefly builds its momentum around the comedian’s much-publicized 2017 unlawful arrest for disorderly intoxication in Miami’s Wynwood Arts District. 

While many of his contemporaries have hit the pause button on live comedy bookings during the pandemic, Buress has returned to the road this month with a short stint of socially-distanced dates at drive-in movie theaters. The Let’s See How This Goes tour stops in Columbus on Saturday night for two shows at South Drive-In.

Buress’ tour mirrors those of other comedians like Iliza Shlesinger, Nate Bargatze, and Jim Breuer who are pursuing similar venues that avoid some of the risks posed by performing at indoor clubs.

“I saw that Bert Kreischer was doing some shows with this company Hotbox,” Buress explains to Nuvo‘s Seth Johnson earlier this month. “I’m not sure if my agent reached out or if they reached out. But yeah man. I’m just excited to try something and do some shows. They’ve been handling things really safely and responsibly. So that was affirming to know.”

Delivering the goods to a modified audience has also provided Buress with some new creative opportunities.

“It’s dope to have this time to think about a show and work on it in a way that I haven’t really worked on a show before. Because I’m not going to the comedy clubs in preparation for this,” Buress says. “I’ll have some meetings, rehearsals, and writing sessions to develop this show. This show will be based more on flow and timing than it will be on actual laughs. I’ll try to have it be a really tight production. The laughs will be there, but the thing I’m trying to capture is complete flow.”

Buress can also be seen hosting a regular web series on his YouTube channel, News Overload, in which he and his guests trade comedic takes on current events. He also recently began a gambling-centric podcast, Splitting 10s – both of which are available via his official website

Hannibal Buress‘ “Let’s See How This Goes” tour stops at South Drive-In, 3050 S. High St., on Saturday, September 26. Tickets are $110-$225 per vehicle ($40-$55 per person), plus applicable taxes and fees, and are available here. The 8:00 p.m. (doors at 7:00 p.m.) show is sold out as of press time, but a limited number of tickets remain for the 10:30 p.m. (doors at 10:00 p.m.) show.

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