feature: comedian hannibal buress talks to afropunk about un-pc comedy and his new television show
By Eye Candy
July 7, 2015
Emmy nominated comedian Hannibal Buress is getting set to unveil his own weekly TV series Comedy Central, “Why? With Hannibal Buress” – of which Buress has written and executive produced. The series premiered on Comedy Central July 8th. The great news doesn’t end there! Hannibal Buress also has several Hollywood movies in the pipeline, and has just wrapped up filming new movie “Daddy’s Home” (which also stars Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg). Check out my interview with Buress and find out more about his upcoming projects. Take a look below.
By Ayara Pommells, AFROPUNK Contributor
Are there any lines you won’t cross when it comes to comedy?
I don’t know. It’s not something I really sit around with like that. I just talk about what’s funny; if it works, it works – and if it doesn’t, it doesn’t. Try to make it better or drop it; so for me it’s just about being interesting, saying funny stuff and doing good comedy.
So you think comedy in 2015 is expected to be a bit too PC?
No, not at all. I mean it’s just people that are offended are vocal. If someone says on twitter or writes an article saying they’re offended by a joke, this doesn’t mean it’s a majority opinion. I think comedy is in a good place, there’s lots of outlets to say what you wanna say unfiltered.
Have you ever taken any backlash or criticism personally either in your early days coming up or more recently?
This is the thing because of how things are now and if you’re active on social media, artists are more accessible than before so people are going to say what they want to say.
What can you tell us about your weekly comedy TV series?
It’s going to be me trying to make a funny 22-minute show. It’s going to be sketches and some manner of street pieces and some stand up in there. It’s going to be a lot of fun. I’m excited to do it. It’s going to be my first time doing my own show and me putting things together that I think are really funny so that’s pretty much it. We haven’t filmed anything yet but we got a lot of stuff written, it’s going to be a very exciting time for me.
You do have the Big Daddy movie with Will Ferrell coming out…what was Will Ferrell like to work with?
He’s a real nice guy; he’s good to work with, very funny obviously. It was pretty wild to work with him, cos I been a fan for a while. My first day on the movie was straight after a tour from Florida to New Orleans. It was wild to work with both Will and Mark Wahlberg.
Have the larger movie roles been pouring in now?
No. Not pouring in, I wouldn’t say that. I got a couple of decent roles in Indies, my schedule hasn’t permitted me to audition or take part in roles I been offered so I haven’t been able to focus on films as much because of other things but maybe in a couple of years I’ll put more energy towards it.
At what point in your career did you realize “I’ve made it now?”
It’s different stages as far as my career personally goes. There’s been different points: when I started writing for Saturn, the Montreal Comedy Festival, writing for Saturday Night Live, headlining on the road, performing comedy in Australia, and now on my own TV show; so its just different things. You don’t want to stay stagnant, you want to always be improving and trying to do more. I feel like I made it now, but there’s more to do; but if it stops right now, then I’m fine with that – but there’s more I want to achieve.
Bit of a strange question but are you funny off camera too?
It’s who I’m around or the situation. Its not a button… its about how you feel.
Should comedians have a sense of social responsibility when they are on the stage and how they represent themselves and their communities?
I can only speak for myself. I can’t speak for thousands of people. It’s not my place. The social responsibilities… that’s up to the individual, you can say the same about music. I just do the stuff that I like to do and do what I think is funny and others should the same. It’s not my job to speak for comedians in that regard.
How do you feel about recent events? I.e. Charleston, McKinney. What do you think the solution is in regards to race relations and just to enable the black community to feel safe and move forward?
I don’t know, I just do a TV show and I act. If somebody had a solution, it would be solved a while ago. There’s no solution for it.
Any thoughts on what’s going on?
Is there a joke that you told that sums up you as a comedian, like a one liner.
My New Orleans story sums me up as a comedian, I talk about going to New Orleans and having a bachelors party and setting up and throwing a parade.
Why should our readers tune in to your forthcoming comedy show?
I don’t know, because it’s something new and it’s from a good comedian and if they like it they like it and if they don’t they don’t. I’m not one for the hard pitch.
“Why? With Hannibal Buress,” premieres on Comedy Central on July 8th, 2015 at 10:30PM ET/PT
* Ayara Pommells is Owner of UK website Rawroots.com and a music writer for Soultrain.com, SOHH.com & AFROPUNK.com. PR for SomeOthaShip Connect and 88DaysOfFortune. Follow @YahYahNah.
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