Hannibal Buress takes the stage as Eshu Tune

The audience chorused in laughter, leaning in intently during Buress’ captivating comedy show. The show was just one part of the night before Buress transformed into Eshu Tune. // Photo by Venusha Buwaneka Student Publications

After checking in, showing IDs and making their way through the bouncers placed at each entrance, the audience opens the doors of the theater to enter a lively room filled with billowing fog, vibrating hip-hop and synth beats, along with  an audience of energetic people anticipating Hannibal Buress’ performance. 

Hannibal Buress is a rising comedian, writer and actor; he has been pursuing comedy since 2002, wrote for Saturday Night Live for about a year in 2009 and even played the gym coach’s character in the movie
“Spiderman: Homecoming.’ 

However, Buress has been working hard to shift from being Hannibal Buress, a well-known comedian who is acclaimed for raising Bill Cosby’s sexual assault allegations to public attention, to up-and-coming rapper Eshu Tune.

And Eshu Tune has been leveraging his clout as a comedian to introduce his music to his fan base, making the event a half-comedy show and a half-rap concert. 

Blue disco lights emanated from the stage, filling the area with a concert-party vibe as the majority of the audience waited for Buress/Eshu Tune to show up. People were buying drinks from the bar at the back, and the air was buzzing with a lot of anticipation and a little marijuana. 

After a couple of minutes, the projector also started rolling, displaying various moments from his career progression and music albums on the back screen of the stage on repeat. Simultaneously, the speakers blasted a mix of various hip-hop music, including some of his own songs such as “I Lift Weights.” 

However, the wait was quite long. After around 20 to 30 minutes of the announced start time, Eshu Tune’s band — consisting of a guitarist, drummer and keyboardist — walked onto the stage and started jamming to give the audience something more to enjoy and vibe to. Finally, after what was about a 40 minute wait, the show finally began. But not with Buress. It was kicked off by his close friend, Chris Jones. 

Jones, a talented comedian in the making, did a great job entertaining the audience. He opened with some marijuana jokes and then proceeded to engage the audience by asking them questions and extracting cheers and boos from them. Through his performance and jokes, he shared a lot of information about himself; he talked about his Alabama roots and currently living in Atlanta. The audience was quite receptive to the Atlanta-based jokes, often roaring with pride or dying from laughter.

After a couple of geography jokes, Jones, in a serious and morbid tone, announced that he was dedicating this show to his grandmother, making the audience suddenly go silent. The room dropped from around 105 decibels to a flat 50. Feigning ignorance and surprise as he observed the drop in the room’s attitude, he laughed out loud, saying, “Oh, she’s not dead or anything.” 

Jones explained that his grandmother was just diagnosed with a new form of dementia, called TA for “thot activity,” given her dressing style and proclivities with men, even at her current age. Nearly everyone in the audience yelled in laughter and delight from the well-planned and cleverly-executed joke. 

Finally, Jones made his final remarks and then introduced his “good and close friend” Buress onto the stage, proceeding to exit. At his arrival, the long-awaiting audience screamed and hooted at Buress’s entrance. 

Draped in Hawaiian-print shorts, a black shirt and an intricately designed jacket, Buress got onto the stage and changed the whole vibe of the theater. He was lively, active and spirited — moving left and right and squatting up and down — all while cracking joke after joke. 

Buress focused a good deal of his quips on his family, particularly his daughter. He initially confessed that when his daughter was in the womb, he really wanted a son instead (he was probably joking about this). By the time she was born, he had made peace with his child being a girl as opposed to a boy. Now, Buress claims that he’s actually “really glad” he has a daughter because there’s less pressure for her to follow in his footsteps. Otherwise, since Buress had “30 seconds” of screen time in the “new Spider-Man movie,” his son would have to aim for “45 seconds” to top his old man. 

Instead, his daughter can do something “in tangent,” Buress chuckled. This is when he segued into his main joke about Hailie Jade. He joked that Jade, Eminem’s daughter, decided to pursue a podcast instead of rapping like her father, and then explicitly and vehemently stressed that her podcast was “violently boring.” 

He proceeded to spend the next few minutes making fun of Eminem and his daughter while throwing in a couple of lines from Slim Shady’s raps, like referring to how if Eminem had a son, he’d need to kill his mother to top Eminem. 

And after poking more fun at Eminem and his daughter’s relationship, Buress switched gears and began talking about LeBron James and his son, LeBron James Jr. He jested about James regretting naming his son “junior” because of the high pressure and stress it placed on him. 

Moreover, Buress furthered his point by talking about how James Jr. is also playing basketball seriously, and all the expectations people have of him regarding becoming as good as his father. 

Buress joked about how commentators would say James Jr.’s gameplay and throws are excellent, but his slams are just not as powerful as his father’s. 

Buress continued talking and joking about other experiences in his life, like when he got into a stand-off situation while living in Los Angeles. 

And towards the end of the comedy show, Buress announced that he is actually leaving L.A. and moving to New York, announcing that he got his own gig and show which is commencing soon (details are
still in the works).

With that, Hannibal Buress and his comedy show ended. The night began anew when he reentered the stage as Eshu Tune and the rap concert began.

Eshu Tune began rapping, singing some of his famous songs like “Veneers” and “Knee Brace.” The whole time, the audience was chanting along with him, rocking their heads and truly having a great time and losing
themselves in the music. 

However, this was not like any traditional music concert; even though Eshu Tune was “performing,” he would occasionally stop and make a few jokes and quips about other artists. 

Furthermore, he cleverly used his jokes to set up context for his songs, like when he explained how he left his car in Hawaii and thus doesn’t currently own one. Then he proceeded to rap a song, “Nowhere,” about how
he doesn’t have “a whip.”

He also played some samples of unreleased songs that he’s working on and songs he doesn’t intend to publish — but that his friends think are amazing. And finally, after a huge round of applause, the concert ended, and the Eshu Tune/Buress comedy-rap show closed out. 

The show was quite an experience that was unlike any other regular concert. 

The audience had an excellent time, filled with heavy laughter and hard rap.

Those interested in learning more about Buress and attending his shows can get more information by visiting his website at hannibalburess.com.