Slice of Life

Hannibal Buress has crowd roaring with standup set at Goldstein Auditorium

Ally Moreos | Contributing Photographer

Hannibal Buress stepped out onto the Goldstein Auditorium stage in a navy puffy jacket, gray shirt, baggy jeans and pure white, unstained sneakers. Slowly, the crowd’s cheering started calming down in anticipation for Buress to start his show.

“How you doing!”

Except this wasn’t Buress speaking. Someone in the audience had shouted out.

“How are you gonna talk before me, man?” Buress asked into the mic to the unknown shouter.

The crowd burst with laughter, relating to Buress’s comparison of the annoying student who asks long questions before the professor begins lecture. And with this impromptu beginning, he set the tone of the evening with constant laughs after every joke.

On Thursday night, Buress kept the laughs coming in Goldstein with jokes on business ideas, rappers, fitness, religion and politics. It’s safe to say that he covered most, if not all, relevant topics for the Syracuse University audience.

The night kicked off with opener Joyelle Johnson. She energetically walked out on stage and said, “I need y’all to clap like both of your teams are in the Final Four!”

The crowd piped up with cheers and clapping. Johnson spent her time on stage discussing her roommate stories and then asked the crowd, “By a round of applause, who wants to kill their roommate?”

A large number of audience members clapped loudly. “You’re clapping more for that one than the Final Four!” Johnson responded.

Johnson warmed up the audience by telling jokes and childhood stories of her mother’s experiences as a nurse. She told the story of one of her mom’s patients with dementia. The patient had forgotten her family members, but still remembered there is a black president. The woman felt that President Obama’s run did not have a positive effect on the country. Johnson said she admired the patient, noting that the patient was so dedicated to hating President Barack Obama, that the perseverance of hatred still outshone the memory of her family.

“That’s racist level of dedication,” she joked.

Shortly after, Buress started his set.

“I appreciate your parents’ money,” he began. Buress then went on to talk about his college experience over a decade ago. His memory of writing papers entailed font selection for papers, and choosing Courier New to make his papers seem longer.

“I don’t know who Courier was, but he didn’t like writing papers at all,” he said. “You’d write ‘In conclusion,’ and somehow you’d be on page 40.” The audience roared.

Buress’s ability to work the college audience was very skillfully done, as determined by the continuous stream of laughs joke after joke. Even the audiences’ laughs that were not as hearty as the rest still had people enjoying the show.

This especially came into play when he discussed Bernie Sanders’s old age, mentioning that he is going to die soon. He referred to former president Ronald Reagan’s dementia during his presidency, and then said how that is not something you want in a president.

Buress went on brief discussions of some of the presidential candidates such as Hillary Clinton — comparing her to a crouton — and Ben Carson. His disinterest in Ben Carson was because “he looks too much like me,” he joked.

Buress also spent a large portion of his set talking about rappers. His use of rap music supplied by his on-stage DJ made for a long string of jokes on different aspects of rap. He focused on very small bits of specific songs, making for a hysterical audience.

From Iggy Azalea’s beginning notes of “Fancy” as a response to anything stupid, to “insult(ing) two people in three seconds” in 2pac’s intro to “Hit Em Up,” to simultaneously offending victims of and raising awareness to Sickle Cell Anemia with his parodied lyrics in the same song, Buress kept the crowd laughing again and again.

Buress delved into religion, explaining that he wasn’t religious and didn’t believe in God, “and that’s OK. And some people do believe in God. … And that’s OK.”

However, Buress was curious about why religious believers feel the need to convert non-believers, but unbelievers don’t feel the need to convert the believers.

“If God is so powerful, why would he send the most annoying people out there?” he joked.

Despite its controversial weight, the audience responded well with more laughter.

To wrap up, Buress finished the show with his own “Gibberish Rap” as seen in many — if not all — of his sets. The inscrutable rap song featuring live ballerinas dancing elegantly contrasted for a hodge podge of things. Syracuse viewers finished their night with Buress’s a capella version of “Gibberish Rap,” where he sang the words with no music, but still insisted on ballerinas dancing as he rapped to phrases like “rappers rap rap rappin,” “put on deodorant” and “chicken dick.”

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