Okay. First of all, my name is Kamau, not Kamal.
And second of all, this is not the usual KKK endorsement, THIS is a warning of things to come. A warning of the inevitability of how stupid you will feel in a year or two** when Hannibal is one of the biggest comics in the country and you missed your chance because you didn't heed this warning to get in on the ground floor of the next big thing.***
Hannibal has already been feted by Rolling Stone, Entertainment Weekly, Esquire, and Variety. He's working on getting his late night talk show card fully punched, and is one of the few comics who each year who manage to crack the inscrutable code of appearing on David Letterman. He has written for SNL and 30 Rock. His 2010 debut comedy CD, My Name Is Hannibal, was lavished with praise, making multiple 10 ten lists, including ones by iTunes and Punchline Magazine.**** He's appeared on the podcasts WTF with Marc Maron and The Field Negro Guide to Arts and Culture with guitarist Vernon Reid from the band Living Colour.
Chris Rock himself even came down from the heavens to anoint him with oil and say, "If Steven Wright, Mos Def, and Dave Chappelle had a baby, that would be disgusting, but it would sound like Hannibal Buress. The funniest young comic I've seen in years." And Chris Rock called me "pretty funny."
And through it all, Hannibal has seemed to remain unchanged, unaffected, and most of all, unimpressed --- much like his soon-to-be trademarked stage presence.
So this blog that you are reading is not just hilarious, it's also a call to action for a significant pop-cultural moment. This is the equivalent of a British scenester in the mid-'60s telling you to check out a rangy American Negro guitar player over in Greenwich Village at the Cafe Wha?
This is exactly the same as if, in 1999, you had been walking through the cornfields of Ohio and had been told to go into that gym over there and watch an eighth grader from Akron dunk on high school seniors during an unlicensed AAU game.*****
This is just like how my mom talks about in the late 60s when she saw a young, black comic here in S.F. at The Both/And. She had seen him on The Ed Sullivan Show, but the night she saw him live he seemed to take his material in a much bluer direction.******
This is just like how I feel lucky to have seen Dave Chappelle onstage at the Punch Line -- back in the late 90's --- KILLING IT in front of sold out crowds. Several times! This was waaaaaaaaaaaaaay before it cost $55. One night I saw him get onstage in full Ku Klux Klan regalia --- hood and all --- spitting deep cuts of Klan-isms, creating what must have been the beginnings of Clay Grisby, his African-American white supremacist character. Another night, I saw him talk about how he was smoking so much weed that he had just finished shooting a movie all about weed. The audience laughed, thinking that Chappelle was joking.******
So if this week the Punch Line is not sold out Wednesday through Saturday at 8 p.m. (with additional shows at 10 on Friday and Saturday) then you will have to lie about having been there when in the not-so-distant future, he is a G-D folk hero.
* Still haven't heard anything about that free iPad 2.
** Or possibly a month or two.
*** Well actually, Hannibal is clearly no longer on the ground floor. Maybe this is the mezzanine.
**** He was on those lists with a Bay Area comic I'm journalistically barred from mentioning. But like me, his name is also not "Kamal."
***** I don't know if this happened exactly but I'm sure something close to it did.
****** He wasn't!
******* I saw a very un-famous Jewel sing in the back of a coffee shop in Chicago. I remember thinking the stories between the songs were better than the songs.
Kamau's Komedy Korner is a weekly blog column about San Francisco comedy by W. Kamau Bell. Check back next Wednesday for more.
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