If you’ve been a regular at recent open mics around the city, you may have come across him doing a set. Every few nights he’s popped up: at Carrollton Station, Hi-Ho Lounge, Lost Love Lounge or the House of Blues. Typically it’s called a “special surprise” by the host who welcomes him onstage, and the crowd grows quiet, preparing to laugh.
Comedian Hannibal Buress — known for his acting on “Broad City,” writing on “Saturday Night Live” and “30 Rock” and co-hosting “The Eric Andre Show” on Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim — will be performing two shows at the Civic Theatre Dec. 5 at 7 p.m. and 10 p.m.
The recent visits Buress has made to open mics were to test new material before he tries it out nationally; it’s a testament to the burgeoning comedy scene in New Orleans that he’s chosen to try it out here.
Buress made national headlines almost a month ago for his startling allegations about longtime star-comedian Bill Cosby.
“Bill Cosby has the smuggest old black man public persona,” Buress said, performing at Philadelphia’s Trocadero. “But you raped women, Bill Cosby.”
This incident led to several women coming forward and accusing Cosby of sexual harassment and misconduct. Cosby has since then lost a production deal with NBC and a Netflix comedy special as the allegations are investigated.
Buress’ 7 p.m. show at the Civic Theatre has already sold out.
His comedy observes the day-to-day hilarities that can be found within the mundane. Recent jokes at some of the open mics discussed his middling success, traveling, cleaning ladies and his love of hip-hop music.
Buress’s comedy career started in Chicago, where he grew up, and has flourished since. He has long been considered the comedian’s comedian. His stand-up specials are always appreciated by those who have their fingers closest to the pulse of the national comedy scene, but of late his fame has blown to new heights.
Beyond just ticket sales, his appearances on film and television have grown. He had a role in the summer blockbuster film “Neighbors,” starring Seth Rogen and Zac Efron, and will be in the film “Flock of Dudes,” starring Chris D’Elia, Eric Andre and Hilary Duff later this year.
It will not be Buress’s first visit to the Crescent City. Besides his under-the-radar test shows, the comedian highlighted his love for the Big Easy on “The Tonight Show” in February. While performing stand-up on the show he discussed a trip to New Orleans for a cousin’s bachelor party. Buress did it up New Orleans style, getting a parade permit and hiring a brass band to follow the group of men through the city.
“That’s all you do is walk around,” he said on “The Tonight Show,” remarking on what consisted of his parade. “Band behind you. Police in front of you. It’s the best way to walk around. I know this because I’ve been walking around since 1983, and this is the most fun I’ve had doing it.”