I’ve been a fan of Hannibal Buress since he was only known as Chicago’s top up-and-coming stand-up comedian, back when he was selling T-shirts for his kicking pigeons joke and wondering who the next big blind guy would be.

The rest of the nation has caught on to how funny Buress is, and his ascension should only continue to reach new heights with the debut and release of his new hour, Hannibal Buress: Live From Chicago. It debuted at midnight tonight on Comedy Central, with one edition already for sale and an extended uncensored version of his performance available for sale next week.

With his emerging popularity and maturity comes a newfound comfortability onstage for Buress. To many of you, that may seem impossible. Buress always exudes a relaxed, easy stage presence. But here, on “Live From Chicago” filmed in his hometown at The Vic Theatre, Buress is having more fun than even I’ve seen. Perhaps it’s his ability to add bells and whistles — or in his case, ballerinas and gibberish rap.

This set also includes a few routines that revolve around the process of stand-up comedy. Whether it’s Buress recounting the tale of one female fan who offered him a deal if only he’d tell her a joke, or a remix/director’s commentary take on a “classic” joke about pickle juice, or even letting the audience in on the knowledge that jokes often rely on a third thing for the punchline. I asked Buress about it. His reply to me just yesterday: “Comedy is a big part of my life,” he told The Comic’s Comic. “It’s fun to make quick comments on the process and bring the audience in a bit. The pickle juice thing was just a fun way to bring the bit back and comment on that rap performance that I saw. I like to joke about jokes.”

And I continue to like his jokes. You likely will, too.

Here are some clips!

Hannibal Buress on how rappers rapping about Molly and ecstasy isn’t as tough as they think it is:

Buress dropped Donald Glover’s name to see Eddie Griffin perform in Las Vegas:

And an animated retelling of his bit about making his own parade in New Orleans. It’s so easy!

Buy Hannibal Buress Live From Chicago. On video/DVD:

or audio/CD