Netflix surprised everyone when they announced that stand-up comedian Hannibal Buress, who released a new special with the streaming platform in February, would be releasing a documentary about his experience at the 2012 Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Titled Hannibal Takes Edinburgh, the Judd Apatow-produced, Ryan Ferguson-directed documentary follows Buress during his month-long stay at the famed arts festival, during which he performed 28-straight days of comedy.
Though that might sound like a project aimed only at Buress’ most ardent fans, Hannibal Takes Edinburgh is closer in spirit to comedy documentaries like Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work and Conan O’Brien Can’t Stop. It’s more than a celebratory ego trip that preaches to the choir; it’s one man’s love letter to the art of stand-up — even when said art includes jokes about doing crack to stay up and finish Homeland. The movie combines biography, stand-up, situational comedy, and commentary as Ferguson tails Buress from the Knitting Factory concert hall and his “shithole” apartment in Brooklyn to an upstairs efficiency in Edinburgh about which he jokes, “I think this place is owned by a midget that likes to inconvenience himself.”