Specifically created for drive-in theaters, Hannibal Buress's Let's See How This Goes tour kicks off today at the Aut-O-rama Twin Drive-In in Cleveland.
The five-date run supports Buress’ new comedy special, Miami Nights. Buress has also released the first episode of Splitting 10s, his new podcast series that finds him talking about sports gambling, blackjack, and gambling psychology and techniques. He's also recently launched News Overload, a funny YouTube show about current events.
The September drive-in tour is produced by Hotbox & Outback Presents, the same team behind recent Marc Rebillet and Bert Kreischer's drive-in tours.
In a recent 10-minute phone interview, Buress spoke about the tour.
Jeff Niesel: Talk about your Miami Nights special. How difficult or easy was it to turn that into a comedy special?
Hannibal Buress: It wasn’t difficult per se. The main difficulty was just with my standards and what I wanted. We originally filmed it in February, and it was called something else. I think it was called Miracle Miracle Spiritual. I’m glad we didn’t go with that.
In that cut, the energy in that room was off, especially for a comedy special. It truly didn’t feel how the other tour dates did. Lots of the tour dates were really exciting and had a crazy energy to them. I made the tough decision to scrap it and then film it again six months later. That was the tough part. I had to do another small tour and work on the show to make it fresh. That was the toughest part of it, but I’m glad I made that decision to do it in Miami and do it again because it made it better. The first one ended up being an expensive dress rehearsal that enabled us to do what we wanted to do the next time.
JN: You’ve said you wanted to release it on YouTube, so you could make last-minute changes. How much time did you spend working on post-production and what was that like?
HB: I think you misunderstand that. I was simply able to add in some stuff in for the YouTube special, but the post-production was all done already. The stuff in the credits were things we were able to do because we didn’t have to deliver it right away.
JN: I like the flames you added as a background during certain moments.
HB: That was fun. That’s just from having been at it for a while. After watching stand-up for a while, it’s just a way to make it more exciting for yourself. It’s like, “We’ve seen this so many times, how can we elevate it?” It’s like, “Let’s put some fire in there and add this or that.” I’m just tired of watching myself. The editor wanted to do something just to entertain ourselves.
JN: What was it like to make your YouTube show about current events, News Overload?
HB: Actually, it started as Group Text at first. I saw another podcast had that name already, so we switched out of that and called it News Overload. It was like, “How can we produce something fun while everyone is in their own place.” We wanted to have a little bit of structure and flow instead of being a loose convo. We had everyone bring their own topics. It’s been fun. We shoot for a couple of hours and cut it down from that. I want to keep up the rhythm with those. I’m a bit erratic as a performer and producer. Sometimes, I’ll do something and then not do it again for another month or so. I need to start doing News Overload once a week if I can.
JN: Those friends of yours are all really funny, and you have a great rapport.
HB: Those are friends I’ve known for any years. We’ve been on the road together and done film stuff, so it’s a good relationship with everybody.
JN: For Splitting 10s, your podcast about gambling, you’re animated. How did that alter your approach to doing the podcast?
HB: I didn’t do it knowing I would be animated, but the first one we recorded remotely using only audio. My designer put some animation on it. The follow-up episodes will be live action. We might incorporate animation for small bits.
JN: Kelven Stovall, your first guest, has some great stories from his days as a dealer.
HB: Yeah, man, he’s a great storyteller. I don’t think that’s been explored a lot — just that job of being a dealer. It’s always gambling stories, which can be fascinating, obviously. But they’re usually from the side of the gambler or somebody watching the gambler but not someone facilitating the gambling. That was the tip of the iceberg. We were talking yesterday and got into some stories about particular a NBA player.
JN: You’re really good at interviewing people and keeping conversations going. Has that always been the case?
HB: It’s absolutely developed. With someone like Kelven, it’s knowing that that’s how to get the stories. He has specific stories, but with certain folks, you have to ask persistent questions, especially with family. My grandmother is like that, too. When people get to a certain age, they got a lot of stuff that's happened to them, but it’s not going to just fall out of them. You gotta ask them specific times.
It’s like, “Tell me, grandma, what it was like when Kennedy got elected.” The thing with Kelven too is that I genuinely want to know his stories because that’s what inspired the podcast. It’s about knowing his experience. I’m going to have my stories and things to say, but it’s not a showcase piece for me. It’s not there for me to grandstand. I have my moments, and I’ll be funny, but it’s really about me wanting to hear from him.
JN: Talk about what the drive-in tour will be like.
HB: I think it’s going to be exciting. Hot Box has done a good job on their other tours with Bert (Kreischer) and Mark Rebillet. I think it’s going to be a great time. People haven’t seen me in a while do a show, and I ain’t seen folks in a while. It’s going to be a great time. I’m excited and planning these different bits for it.
JN: I like the tour’s title, Let’s See How This Goes. That seems to sum up just about everything these days.
HB: Yeah, man. It’s just me being honest. Let’s see how this goes.
For more about the upcoming tour stops and tickets, visit hannibalburess.com.