By Ernest Wilkins, @ernestwilkins
4:39 PM CDT, March 28, 2014
*** 1/2 (out of 4)
"This joke doesn't connect to anything I've talked about and won't connect to anything else I'm doing, aw hell, let's get into it."
That setup (followed by an unprintable punch line) may seem odd, but if there's anyone on Earth who can take a that vague sentence and turn it into a great line about palm readers and masturbation (told you we couldn't print it), it's Hannibal Buress.
In his third stand-up special (after 2012's "Animal Furnace" and his breakout 2010 special, "My Name Is Hannibal"), Buress brings a perfectly crafted set back home a sold-out crowd at the Vic Theater. His bits are short, but he manages to stuff them with greatness, be it talking about pushy religious people on Facebook to pseudo-hitting on Scarlett Johansson.
Easily my favorite bit involves a commentary on Riff Raff and other rappers who don't do much actual rapping in concert. The set flies by and doesn't hit that lull in the third act that a lot of modern stand-up specials are guilty of.
After spending a few years on the "next big thing" list of people in comedy, Buress seems to have been waiting for his chance to blow up. Despite writing gigs for "30 Rock" and "Saturday Night Live," he hasn't been given an opportunity to move to that next level--the one with the starring role on a wack network sitcom and a bunch of "wacky best friend" roles that ultimately pay well but lead to creative burnout.
... Wait, what the hell am I saying? NEVER CHANGE, HANNIBAL.
"Live from Chicago" airs at 11 p.m. Saturday on Comedy Central or can be purchased for $5 here.
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