The Missing Piece to Hannibal Buress’s Performance

The Missing Piece to Hannibal Buress’s Performance

Photos by Jacob Reiskin'17

If a general consensus were conducted on the performance by stand-up comedian Hannibal Buress, it would go something like this: The drunker you were, the more you laughed. The more sober you were, the more you sat there in silence with brief scoffs sprinkled here and there. Although that’s not to say if you were part of the sober crowd, you could hear a pin drop after every joke, but at times a laugh had to forcefully snake its way in.

Touching on the topics of hookers, Nyquil abuse and rappers, one might think the comedian was sure to cover all the bases in terms of what “not to say” to an audience filled with liberal arts college students. However, I don’t believe this is the reason those who were sober failed to crack up, and therefore remains almost irrelevant in this case.

I believe humor is humor, it’s meant to be offensive and poke fun at topics that normally are not acceptable to poke fun at, and I believe as a community we respected that throughout his performance. Therefore, I don’t believe our campus is too “PC” or “socially conservative” to handle Buress’ crude commentary on sex and destructive partying, but I do believe that something bigger was missing from the entire picture of his performance.

Skidmore College is certainly a place of knowledge and higher learning, where creative thought and wit are valued. If one was considerably inebriated, Buress may have possessed the qualities of sharp humor, but being sober, he just did not make the cut. Although a few jokes here and there harnessed a lot of laughs, his humor was missing the well-rounded, cunning aspect that many of us enjoy while watching comedians such as Chris Rock, Jerry Seinfeld and the illustrious Jon Stewart.

The reason the aforementioned comedians are constantly on our radar is that they’re not only funny, but their humor provides an additional layer of “intellect” to their already hilarious stand-up routines. This intellect can only be described as the way they create and mold their performances to express a political or social commentary on American society and/or the world as a whole.

Take the way Jon Stewart will open up a show coolly describing his recent trip to Canada and quickly realizing that he could take over the country in two days, or the way he responded to the Ten Commandment controversy in Kentucky. This controversy was over a law in the state that required the Ten Commandments to be posted in every public school classroom to change the behavior of children. Stewart responded to this rightfully contentious law by comparing it to taking kids to McDonald’s, “If you think the 10 Commandments being posted in a school is going to change the behavior of children, then you must think ‘Employees Must Wash Hands’ is keeping the piss out of your Happy Meals. It’s not.”

Not only was it a blatantly funny joke, but it also used a very accurate analogy pertaining to another widely controversial “institution” in America: McDonald’s. This joke alone possessed the additional wit we all were craving throughout Buress’ entire performance of static, one-dimensional humor.

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