- Courtesy of Hannibal Buress
- Hannibal Buress
“Isola is literally short for isolation,” reads the website for actor and comedian Hannibal Buress’ new Mississippi comedy festival, Isola Fest, which takes place Friday, December 13th, through Sunday, December 15th, at Playas Place in Isola, Mississippi.
Buress is a jack of all trades in the entertainment industry, having worked as a stand-up comedian, actor, writer, and producer. Some fans will remember him from The Eric Andre Show, which is slated to return to Adult Swim in 2020 with its fifth season, where Buress plays the straight man to Andre’s over-the-top talk show host. He’s been elevated to internet meme status for one of his interjections on that program, delivered in total dead pan, simply, “Wack.” Buress also has had roles in big-name productions, like his turn as Broad City’s Dr. Lincoln Rice and his hilarious-but-brief appearance as the gym teacher in Spider-Man: Homecoming. So producing a comedy festival in a small town in Mississippi, while sure to present some challenges, is far from Buress’ first foray into other areas of entertainment.
But why Isola? The Chicago-born comedian explains that he has a history with the tiny Mississippi town. He used to spend summers there visiting family. “Isola’s where my mother’s side of the family’s from,” Buress says. “My cousin has a venue down there, a little club, and I’ve been planning on doing something there. I was going to do a regular show, and I decided to blow it out a little and do something for three nights and make it a big thing.”
- Marcus Price
- Hannibal Buress
Of the festival’s lineup, Buress says, “It’s a lot of close friends of mine,” explaining that he was encouraged by his friends’ willingness to hop on the festival’s bill. “When you have an idea and the first person you ask is with it, that’s really motivating,” Buress adds. “I decided to put on something that hasn’t really been done in the area before and also to document it.”
Buress’ newest comedy special, Miami Nights, is expected to premier in 2020, and the comedian is bringing the special’s director and his frequent collaborator, Kristian Mercado, to Isola to capture the inaugural Isola Fest.
“It’s going to be a fun time. The hope for this is just to keep doing it. We want to do another one in the summer time with more lead time,” Buress says. “In June, we hope to do an outdoor event and really make it dope. There’s a lot of empty space to do stuff out there.
“It’s the only reason for you to come to Isola, unless you know one of the 700-some people who live there, which is mathematically unlikely,” Buress says. “This is the first one; it’s fun to come to the first version of things.”