Comedian Hannibal Buress has had a pretty excellent last few years. The Eric André Show, in which he co-stars, is a critical darling. Broad City, another of his shows, earned a devoted following after a successful first season. He just went viral after walking around Harlem in a suit made of cookies. And he is fresh off a mushroom-fueled weekend at Bonnaroo.
Last night, at around 6 p.m., Buress posted a Google Street View screenshot of Gramps in Wynwood, and announced that he would be performing a surprise show in the back room, Shirley's, in four hours with his friend Yannis Pappas. He was a guest on Pappas' show, Fusion Live, and wanted to find a place to casually drop in and do a show. He would later explain during his hour long set in the densely packed, petite space that he was originally slated to cover Game Six of the NBA Finals with ESPN in Miami. But obviously, as Hannibal lightly mocked to a depressed Heat fan crowd, that was no longer going to happen.
Lucky for us, we had a great comedian to cheer us up.
UPDATE: Buress will perform a second set tonight at Gramps. See details at the end of this story.
Local acts Irene Morales, who emceed the event; Gene Harding; and Yannis Pappas, also joined the pop-up comedy event. For ten dollars, it was a lot of bang for your buck. Irene discussed the perils of being an -- in her words -- overweight and shy Cuban girl with a thin, judgemental grandmother. Harding had a great crack about the proximity of the crowd's faces in the first row to his genitals. Yannis, who will be frequently attending the monthly event and whose first television special will be appearing on Comedy Central on June 20th at 12:30 a.m., wittily observed the absurdity of living in Miami, having lived in New York most of his life.
When Hannibal came on stage, the crowd erupted in applause and people holding their phones up for photo and video. "Please don't take video of this, because I'm about to be racist," he quipped. "And I want to be able to be racist in here with you all without worrying about it being recorded. I'd rather it spread through word of mouth."
With that, Hannibal launched into quite a bit of Miami material that riffed on the Heat and basketball and strip clubs. It was all fresh material, and it killed. Absolutely fucking killed. He tore at the ridiculousness of sports organizations that retract awards from disgraced athletes. He had a particularly caustic segment that mocked people's ignorance of the alleged Bill Cosby rape allegations that the crowd was strangely uncomfortable with, even though it was hilarious and still delivered in Hannibal's smooth and approachable banter.
There were also a few annoying shoutouts to some of his past "greatest hits" material, like the "Pickle Juice" bit and the "Apple Juice" bit. But overall, he responded gracefully to these annoying disruptions with biting comebacks and a mild ribbing of the violators. The show was a great night for comedy, and showed that Miami really does have an audience for alternative comedy and fun Twitter-announced show ideas.
We were able to briefly talk to Hannibal after the show. He immediately insisted that we record anything he said, as he didn't want to be misquoted. His hesitance was understandable, given his riotous previous experiences with reporters.
New Times: What do you think of Miami's comedy scene?
Hannibal Buress: Miami is a city I come through a lot. I like it a lot. There's a good nightlife scene. The comedy scene, however, is a little lacking. The reason I came here and did this show at Gramps was that I wanted somewhere I could drop in and just do a 10 minute, 20 minute set. I was doing something on TV with my friend Yannis earlier, and I told him we should do something last minute and just tweet it out. It's fun, man. I mean, it's obvious that there's people here who want to see comedy and they came here last minute. I'm glad we came out tonight, it was good energy. I've been coming to Miami a number of years and people are supportive, but there should be more regular showcases here. It was a fun show to do, time flew by.
You host a weekly show in Brooklyn every Sunday at the Knitting Factory. Do you think something like that would do well here?
The thing with Miami is that it's tough. New York is where the pro comedians move. There's a lot of good comedians in Miami that are still coming up. There's a lot of comedians in New York that do it for a living, and they're not going to do it cheaply on a Sunday or anything. I'm sure there's room for a good weekly show and there are some.
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Yeah, Miami! We can do it! Gramps will feature sharp, talented comics in the "Late Night Comedy at Shirley's" series on the last Tuesday of every month.
Buress will perform a second set tonight, June 17, at Gramps at 9:30 p.m. Gramps has announced it will post a link to buy tickets at its Facebook page this afternoon.
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