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Hannibal Buress. Photo courtesy of Kellen Nordstrom

Our Conversation With Hannibal Buress Left Us Scratching Our Heads

In advance of his performance at the Paramount this Sunday, May 13, we sat down with the Chicago-based comedian to discuss...well, you’ll see.

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Back in 2014, Hannibal Buress was a young comedian on the rise. And then a bit in which he called Bill Cosby a rapist was secretly videotaped at one of his live shows and put online. It went viral.

You know what happened next—the #MeToo movement renewed the momentum for Cosby’s many accusers, and in late April, the man once called “America’s Dad” was convicted on three counts of sexual assault.

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While some point to Buress’s routine as the spark that re-ignited the Cosby allegations, the comedian has, understandably, distanced himself from that conversation. “I was just doing a joke at a show. I didn’t like the media putting me at the forefront of it,” Buress said during his 2016 Netflix special.

Since then, the Chicago native has become a star in his own right—appearing on the acclaimed sitcom Broad City, as well as The Eric Andre Show on Adult Swim—nurturing the fresh, intellectual, and earnest nature of his work. This year might just be his best yet; in addition to costarring in the yet-to-be-released film Tag alongside Jon Hamm and Jeremy Renner, the 35-year-old comedian is on tour, and he’s making a stop at Denver’s Paramount Theatre on May 13.

We caught up with Buress to chat about his tour, what’s next, and, well…some other interesting stuff.

5280: Have you heard the news? You’re a meme, now. Talk a bit about what it was like to discover, erm, yourself.

Hannibal Buress: I don’t really care. Like, I’m in movies, man! (Laughs.) People send me memes with me in them and I just can’t feign excitement for it. It’s like, OK, whatever. It’s just part of the internet. It’s cool, but I’m pretty ambivalent about it.

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But is this level of fame something you ever imagined would be possible? What were your goals when you got into this business?

Initially, I just wanted to work in comedy somehow and make a living. As I started having some successes, then the natural want is to top that, you know? I started getting shows, then I started getting road gigs. After that, the goal was to be a headliner who could sell out the club easily. Then, once you sell out a club, you want to do a theater, and then you want to sell out a bigger theater. Same thing with being an actor. You start as a guest actor, then you want to just build on whatever you’re doing and expand and advance it. If you’re not advancing it in some way, then it just becomes stagnant and boring.

So, what’s your next step?

I want to start a landscaping business. That’s the next natural step after you get your first co-starring role. You start your own suburban landscaping business. That’s why I booked this interview, actually, it’s not for ticket sales. I’m trying to get the word out about my next venture.

OK, well before you do that, you’ll be performing here in Denver, and this isn’t your first time coming to town. Anything in particular you’re excited to check out again?

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I mean, anytime you’re in town you try to check out the best restaurants and just enjoy the city and hang. Catch a music performance. I think one time we went to Hi-Dive, where we had our after-party. We went to, what’s the name of the bigger dispensary over there? Their design is kind of black-and-white or something, I don’t remember the name, though.

I think you’re talking about Native Roots. Do you have to worry about any pets while you’re on the road?

I don’t have a dog. I don’t want to have to schedule my life around the dog having to go shit. The times I’ve been out with girls and they’re like, “I gotta go back home and let my dog out.” What? You’re about to stop hanging out with me, a grown human being, so you can home and let a beast shit? I’m offended. It’s terrible. Is it a cop-out? Or are you just using that as a reason to stop hanging out? I don’t know.

If that’s happening all the time to you, then it might be personal. Sure.

Why can cats shit in a box but dogs can’t have some sort of similar shitting situation? I’m not saying I’m a cat person, but I’m saying there’s something that dogs haven’t picked up on yet. If dogs are supposed to be so smart and they’re supposed to be man’s best friend, then you would think a dog would figure out how to shit in the toilet while their master or whatever is at the bar or a concert.

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(Long silence)

That’s a good point.

(Long silence)

It is.

(Long silence)

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So, what are you going to call your landscaping business?

See, that’s the thing. I don’t really know yet. Maybe “Hannibal’s” (trails off). I don’t know. “Buress’ Bushes?” Nah that ain’t catchy. Tell people to tweet me suggestions for my landscaping business.

If you go: Buress will perform at the Paramount Theatre at 7:30 p.m. on May 13. Tickets range from $35–$85. 

Spring Adventuring

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