‘Quick-witted’ Burress set for laughs

Comedian Hannibal Burress wants everyone to come out to his show today. And by everyone, he means “everyone.”

“I want all the professors to come to the show,” Burress said. “I always want all the teams to come, the cafeteria ladies, the deans and all the people that work at Jimmy John’s.”

Burress will perform at 9 p.m. today in the 7th Street Underground of the Martin Luther King Jr. University Union.

“I am going to do back flips before the show,” Burress said. “I am so excited.”

His performances include comedic jokes related to personal stories, current events, the streets and even food, he said.

Burress has performed comedy for seven years, ever since he attended Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

He said he never considered doing comedy before college.

“I did open mics in college and had fun doing it,” he said.

He struggled getting work at first, but he just kept doing shows, he said.

“You start getting work after more people see you,” Burress said. “It takes several years sometimes.”

Matt Caponera, the University Board comedy coordinator, said Burress was picked because he stood out more than other choices.

“I get a list of names of comedians, and then I decided to YouTube those names,” Caponera said.

He said Burress is quick-witted and has great stage presence.

“He stands out like an exclamation point,” Caponera said.

Burress was the most popular comedian in Caponera’s price range of $2,000.

The price range to bring a comedian is usually $1,000, but this year, the UB wanted to bring more quality comedians, so it increased the price range, Caponera said.

Caponera said he also picked Burress because he is African-American, which added more diversity to the comedic lineup this semester.

“He’s a black comedian so it makes our crowd more diverse and everyone gets what they want,” Caponera said

Mary Ham, graduate assistant for the UB comedy, said when the UB had an African-American comedian last semester, the turnout was successful.

“I expect 200 plus people,” she said.

Heather Holm can be reached at 581-7942 or [email protected].