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Hannibal Buress: DC Women Go to Bed Too Early

He'll perform in the area twice this fall.
Hannibal Buress performs in New York City. Photo by Anya Garrett via Flickr.

You’ve probably seen ads for his stand-up specials. You might know him as Ilana Glazer’s boo from Broad City. Maybe you remember him as the quieter yet no less bizarre co-host of the Eric Andre Show. You also might know him as the journalist in the huge red coat hounding down Dave Franco in the Netflix series Easy. Most likely, you know him as one of the prime reasons we know about rape allegations against Bill Cosby. The actor and comedian Hannibal Buress’ newest tour, “Hannibal Montanabal,” will come to the Washington region twice this fall.

When did you first perform in DC? What was it like?

My first time here was in 2008 for the DC Comedy Festival, I did a few showcases. I think I performed in the Synagogue and the Improv, maybe Black Cat also. It was a good time, I remember it being fun and, you know, it was my first time out here and seeing the city was cool. In all the subsequent trips, I’ve played for Arlington Drafthouse a couple times, great crowds. I think I opened at the Warner Theatre when Aziz [Ansari] was filming his special a few years back. I did the Lincoln two years ago. The Verizon Center with Aziz in 2014 and University of Maryland. I’ve performed in Baltimore a couple times so yeah, I’ve been here a lot in the area in the past several years and just the crowds are, you know, it’s a great comedy town just cause it’s a good mix of people from all over. A lot of college-educated people that are hungry for just good and smart entertainment. That’s one of the reasons a lot of people film specials in DC, it’s one of those cities, on the level of Chicago, New York, DC, Philly, Boston–you know, it’s a spot to go to, it has an energy to it, and there’s a lot of culture here. I’ve always had a good time when I’ve been here.

How’s the DC crowd?

If I’m doing my headlining show, for the most part the crowd is on board. If they paid money to see me they know me or know of me and it’s gonna go well. The Baltimore Comedy Factory can be a tough room sometimes, I remember having a couple–I think maybe I did five shows there–I remember one or two of those being kind of rough but you never know, sometimes it’s late, sometimes people are drunk. Sometimes in a comedy club situation, when you’re not able to fill a room with your ticket sales, a venue will occasionally paper the room–which means give out comp tickets–and so the people that are papered at the show will not have the same level of investment as somebody that’s paying for the show. There’s been times during a gig where I can kinda–if I know that the room has a bunch of comps in it, I can sort of tell by energy sometimes who’s comped and who’s not. With a few people, I can tell, “Oh, that’s a comp over there, ’cause they are zoned out.”

So what are you doing for this tour?

I mean, I could describe it, but I always feel silly trying to describe my stand-up. It’s either you come watch it–and not in a dismissive way, it’s just more…I don’t know if anybody’s ever read a description of a comedian or a comedian talking about what his show is and said, ‘Okay, that sounds good!’ I think it’s more if you’re familiar with my other work and you want to see me do stand-up then that’s that. It’s not far from what I’ve done in the past. I kinda tell stories about being in nightlife and traveling and dealing with people. It’s just my experiences over the past year and a half or two years or so and just exploring all of that.

Any stories from DC?

Well this joke I have of a woman saying, “Tell me a joke and I’ll show my tits” and I said, “My jokes are better than your tits”–yeah, that happened in DC. Actually on the way from Black Cat–I met her at Black Cat, then we went to another place. I’ve been here three days, there’s a lot of professional women in DC, lots of business, professional women. It doesn’t work for me, I need women that can stay out till 2 or 3 in the morning, all these jobs women got bedtimes.

So moving to your other work, how’d you get involved in Broad City?

[Co-creators Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson] asked me to be a part of their web series in New York, it has the same title, and I said, “Sure, I’ll try it out.” I’d met them a couple times doing stand-up sets at small bars in New York, and they asked me to be a part of that, and it was cool. The web series at the time had a solid following but it wasn’t crazy, it was maybe 30,000 views or something like that on an episode. But yeah, it looked fun and I did it, and pretty much thought that was gonna be the end of it but then in the season finale they got Amy Poehler to do it. I don’t know if they asked her to be executive producer or if she asked them but that’s how that went down.

What was your favorite moment from the show?

The trapeze thing was pretty crazy, pretty fun, I had a good time. [Buress’ character Lincoln graduates from trapeze school in the episode called “Two Chainz.” He was inspired by “Sex in the City.”]

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What was it like acting in the recent Netflix series Easy?

I’d seen some of [series creator Joe Swanberg’s] work, Joe actually went to the same college as me, I think we overlapped a little bit. We didn’t know each other then but we went to Southern Illinois University Carbondale. It being a Chicago show, all the days we shot it was like negative 15 outside or some crazy shit like that. But, yeah it was just, you know, if I can work at home–back home in Chicago–I’ll do that when given the opportunity. I’m glad that it seems like it’s connecting with people, and people are enjoying it, and shit is cool. But yeah it would be cool if I could do Chicago stuff of my own too, that would be nice.

And I hear you’ll be in the new Baywatch movie as well?

I play Mike the Tech is the name of my character and I’m a friend of one of the people that’s trying to be in Baywatch. I’m in there a few scenes, some comic relief–pop in, pop out. It was dope to be a part of it, to meet the Rock. We were shooting on the beach in Savannah, Georgia, so that was kinda wild and pretty beautiful. It was dope.

You kicked Flava Flav in the face on the Eric Andre Show recently, right?

Allegedly. Allegedly.

I have to ask. Why did you tell the Cosby joke back in 2014?

It was a funny joke.

Hannibal Buress performs in Baltimore on October 6 at Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall and at DC’s DAR Constitution Hall on November 2.

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Rosa joined Washingtonian as an editorial fellow in fall 2016. She likes to write about race, culture, music, and politics. She graduated from Mount Holyoke College with a degree in International Relations and French with a minor in Journalism. When she can, she performs with her family’s Puerto Rican folkloric music ensemble based in Jersey City. She lives in Adams Morgan.