Comic Hannibal Buress has been on an insane ride over the last 12 months. When it comes to notoriety, the Chicago native hit new levels with his Bill Cosby comments gone viral. But also, his comedy finally seems to be catching on with the masses. Our friends ItsTheReal have been co-signing Buress for years, but I’ll admit I was late as hell to the party. It wasn’t until Nation finally convinced me to watch Broad City, and then I checked out the Eric Andre Show — then I became Buress-Believer.

Adding to his status, The Fader just put him on their new cover.

Continue below to read his cover story…


Hannibal Buress is about halfway through his second set of the night in Denver when he turns to his DJ, who is sitting a couple of feet behind him, fiddling with his turntables. “Hey Tony,” he says with a subtle wince, “play some music.” And then he walks offstage.

Nobody is expecting this, least of all Tony. But the DJ puts down his drink and searches for a song as the crowd begins to murmur. Is he coming back? Is this part of the act? Did you hear what happened in Philadelphia? Eventually, they accept the intermission as an expression of Hannibal’s eccentricity. After all, how many comedians travel with their own DJ? There’s also the fact that he’s just told a joke, which he prefaced by warning that it was totally unrelated to the jokes that came before and or would come after it, about taking a handful of ejaculate to a palm reader and asking about his future.

This sudden exit wasn’t part of Hannibal’s routine when I last saw him, a few weeks earlier, performing a sold-out show in the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s regal opera house. There was a triumphant swagger to Hannibal’s every move that night, as longtime fans from his adopted borough marveled and delighted at how the comedian’s droll, deadpan style had brought him here. He’s been an underground favorite for years, the type of guy you would see around town at bars or concerts or hosting his D.I.Y. comedy showcase a few miles away at the Knitting Factory. Now, legends like Chris Rock and Louis C.K. tip him as the future of comedy. As Hannibal strolled across that vast, fabled stage in Brooklyn, it felt like an intermediary moment before the next level of fame, when he’s starring in his own movies and playing arenas.

But right now he’s here in Denver, midway through the second of ten sets spread across four nights at a club called Comedy Works, where he’s taking a break of sorts from the seemingly endless theater tour that’s had him criss-crossing the nation for months. It’s a taxing schedule, but he kept adding gigs because people kept buying tickets. The only thing he didn’t account for was Denver’s altitude. Right now, Hannibal can’t breathe. Escaping backstage, he fishes his inhaler out of his coat pocket, takes a few puffs, then shuffles back, as though nothing has happened.

“Three shows a night is a different kind of mental endurance,” Hannibal sighs, after the set is properly over and he’s back in the green room. Out in the main room, the Comedy Works staff worms their way through the aisles, picking up stray cups and straightening loose chairs. He’s got one more show left to do tonight. Hannibal sits next to a heat lamp, his hood pulled over his eyes. The thin, cold air has rendered him a sluggish, perpetually thirsty version of his normal self. There’s a bottle of Jameson, a bucket of beers and sodas, plates of quesadillas and fries. There’s also a spread of fresh vegetables—the influence of past tours with the comparatively health-conscious Aziz Ansari—and a small bowl of diced pineapples—the influence, he chuckles, of Rick Ross. He drinks water instead of the whiskey or beer, for fear alcohol will exacerbate his dehydration. He’s deliriously tired, barely audible. His friend Al Jackson, a Los Angeles comedian who’s flown in for the opening slot of these Denver dates, asks if Hannibal wants him to make his set a bit longer, but Hannibal says he’ll be fine.

It’s hard to distinguish altitude-induced sluggishness from Hannibal’s naturally subdued vibe. When he’s not on stage, he’s withdrawn and disarmingly quiet, almost to the point of seeming perpetually bored. As his friend and collaborator Eric Andre tells me later, “He’s the lowest key on the piano.” They met around 2006, back when they were just a couple of broke stand-ups taking any gigs they could get. “I loved his act,” Andre recalls. “He had a real unique point of view. You would think the joke was going one place, and it would go another place.” But what really drew him to Hannibal was his unusual charisma. Small talk seems to pain Hannibal. At one point backstage, a bizarre public access show on TV catches his attention. It’s a low-budget music video that never quite evolves into the bad softcore porn everyone is expecting it to become. A fan who has wandered in seems troubled that we’re watching something so awful. “How do you think I write jokes?” Hannibal answers impatiently. “By looking at shit.” “What’s your joke about it?” she challenges. He doesn’t say anything to her for the rest of the night.

“How do you think I write jokes? By looking at shit.” —Hannibal Buress

Things have been good lately for the 32-year-old. After short stints writing for Saturday Night Live and 30 Rock, Hannibal has found a home in front of the camera, acting in memorable supporting roles on Comedy Central’s Broad City and Adult Swim’s The Eric Andre Show. He’s released three acclaimed comedy albums, including last year’s Live from Chicago. And this spring, he’ll finally star in his own series on Comedy Central.
But the thing he’s most famous for is Bill Cosby.

[Continue reading at The Fader]

Danny Brown and Hannibal Buress Ride Around Bonnaroo In a Golf Cart (Video)