Meet (and greet!) comic Hannibal Buress

RAGHAV MEHTA | Updated 11/20/2012

Rising standup comedian will appear at Fifth Element Wednesday from 6-7 p.m.

Leslie Plesser

Right before he kicks off a three-night stint at Acme Comedy Club, comedian Hannibal Buress will be making a special appearance Wednesday night at Rhymesayers' Fifth Element shop in Uptown for an hourlong meet-and-greet signing beginning at 6 p.m.

Buress, a top-tier joke writer, national headliner and former writer for NBC mainstays "Saturday Night Live" and "30 Rock," made some waves in the Twin Cities last year after a successful performance at Dessa's Doomtree Blowout night.

Dan Schlissel, president of local comedy label Stand Up! Records, produced and released Buress' debut album, "My Name Is Hannibal," and also helped organize Wednesday's event.

"I turned on a bunch of Rhymesayers folk to Hannibal's first album ... so, it just seemed like a natural fit," Schlissel said. "Plus, the Fifth Element supports indie labels and vinyl records so it seemed like a great place to debut the vinyl edition of 'Animal Furnace' [Buress' recent special]."

Over the years, Buress has received countless comparisons to the late Mitch Hedberg, a Minnesota native. While Buress' delivery might share some similarities with Hedberg's awkward slacker persona, it's a superficial - if not lazy - comparison (Buress himself openly loathes the "black Mitch Hedberg" descriptor). Relatively laconic in his joke-writing, Buress' humor is edged with a certain degree of playful meanness that culminates in punchlines that range from slap-your-forehead silly to head-scratchingly poignant. Here's a particularly amusing anecdote about purchasing apple juice in front of a racist from his first album:

"Animal Furnace" finds the comic stepping outside the confines of his setup-punchline comfort zone, and transforming his awkward persona into something more well-defined and compelling. Oh, and guess what? He's not even 30 yet.