A calming voice during the chaos of life.
That’s what irreverent and satirical comedian Hannibal Buress brings to the stage.
Nowhere was this comedic aesthetic more on display than at one of Buress’ favorite Northeast Ohioappearances. His memory of the 2013 show at the Grog Shop in Cleveland Heights remains as vivid as ever.
“At the time, I was doing my song ‘Gibberish Rap,’” said Buress, calling from the Chicago. “I was really into the production of it, so we hired a lot of local costumed characters in each city. In Cleveland, we got this Incredible Hulk who was really dancing. I think we also had a Mario.
“(Lorain-based comedian) Ramon (Rivas II) had a couple of friends agree to come on stage and do balloon animals. It was chaos. That was a fun one. I had a great time.”
Getting his start nearly 20 years ago, the Windy City-based comedian’s resume includes brief stints writing for “Saturday Night Live” and “30 Rock.” He also appeared in the hilarious “The Eric Andre Show” and feature film “Spider-Man: Homecoming,” as well as made the late-night talk show rounds.
While Buress wasn’t the first person to speak out about rape allegations against Bill Cosby, it was his viral set that started the dominoes to fall and helped lead to “America’s Dad” going to prison. (Unfortunately, Buress’ publicist requested no Cosby questions in this recent phone interview.)
That turned out to be just fine because the timing of his most recent special “Miami Nights,” which debuted on YouTube this summer, couldn’t have been any more apropos considering the current climate in the country.
The centerpiece of the special is his unlawful 2017 arrest in Miami.
“There are some people in those positions, police officers, who aren’t really emotionally suited to be in the spot — including this guy that I interacted with,” Buress said. “With everything that’s happening, it forces them to really look within at how people are being evaluated when they go into those positions, because it’s a very important position. You want folks who are stable.
“The thing with [the police officer who arrested him] is he had been disciplined. He had off-duty incidents where he ran from the police. He was a fugitive, and I got arrested by him somehow. It’ll take some time for things to fix themselves, but there’s a lot of work being done and there’s a lot of work to do.”
Speaking of work, Buress remains as busy as possible during the pandemic. Not only did he recently release the first episode of his new gambling-centered podcast, “Splitting 10s,” but he’s also looking to get back on the road.
Buress’ “Let’s See How This Goes” drive-in theater tour kicks off in Northeast Ohio with a gig Sept. 22 at North Ridgeville’s Auto-O-Rama Twin Drive In.
Mind you, Buress admitted it’s been decades since the last time he visited a drive-in theater, but everyone has to get a bit out of his or her comfort zone these days.
“I saw that Marc Rebillet and Bert Kreischer did a drive-in theater tour, so I decided to try it out,” Buress said. “It’s something new. Some comedy clubs are open, but you’re not really able to do full capacity. The drive-in-show experience is still something that’s kind of fresh, so I think it’ll be dope for people.”
While fans attending the show can expect new material, there’s one fresh topic he won’t be talking about. Buress said he doesn’t have any COVID-19 material.
“Hell, no,” Buress laughed. “Nope. No pandemic jokes. People don’t want to hear that.”