Hannibal Buress

The Exclaim! Questionnaire

Photo: Constance Kostrevski

BY Julianna RomanykPublished Sep 28, 2015

American Comedy Award winner Hannibal Buress is an Emmy-nominated stand-up comedian, writer and actor. He has written for shows such as 30 Rock and Saturday Night Live, has released an album and two TV specials, and he is a staple of Broad City and The Eric Andre Show. Buress has also appeared on Louie and Roast Of Justin Bieber, and just finished filming Daddy's Home with Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg. Currently, he is shooting his Comedy Network show Why? With Hannibal Buress, and performing stand-up comedy across North America, including a headlining spot in Toronto on October 3 at the JFL42 comedy festival.

What are you up to?
I'm just focusing on my TV show on Comedy Central [Comedy Network in Canada] Why? With Hannibal Buress.
What are your current fixations?

I've been listening to the new Dr. Dre album. Also these jalapeno potato chips. I can't remember the name of them but I've been eating them a lot. And lima beans.
Why do you live where you do?
It's a good place for work. I've been living in Los Angeles for a few months 'cos there's a lot of television and film here, and I live in New York most of the time 'cos it's a great place for stand-up and some television. New York has all sorts of stuff going on all the time.
Name something you consider a mind-altering work of art:
My couch. Couches are art. If I lay on it I fall asleep, so that's mind-altering.
What has been your most memorable or inspirational gig and why?
Doing the Chicago Theatre was great 'cos it's the biggest venue I've headlined to date, Chicago's my home town, there were 3400 people and I sold the place out. It was just really cool to play there 'cos I looked at that place early on and it's a huge Chicago landmark. To be there as a headliner on my own was really exciting.
What have been your career highs and lows?
Career lows was just early on. That was the main low... I haven't really had peaks and valleys. [In terms of highs] I've put out some specials, done tours, theatres. I'd say the low was former NBA player Peja Stojaković — I don't want to get into it.
What's the meanest thing ever said to you before, during or after a gig?
Nobody says mean shit to you before a gig. People say weird stuff when they're trying to be funny. Like most nights now I'm going out and selling merchandise after the show and people will say "You look taller on TV." I don't know what to say. Sorry? Nobody says legit mean stuff to each other. That's all for the internet.
What should everyone shut up about?
Body wash.
What traits do you most like and most dislike about yourself?
I dislike my internet addiction, and I like that I'm a nice person. I'm a 7.5 if 10 was the nicest, [and I'm a] pretty funny guy.
What's your idea of a perfect Sunday?
A picnic, but I would be able to bring my own bed with me and a TV and Xbox, in the park. Sandwiches, lots of juice, and some hula hooping. Some loud music playing, and nobody yelling or fidgeting.
What advice should you have taken, but did not?
I wish that I accepted the offer of the role in Face/Off. I got offered John Travolta's role and I didn't take it. Could've really kicked things off a bit earlier.
What would make you kick someone out of your band and/or bed, and have you?
Out of a band, I would kick you out if you kept messing up the music. Out of a group of friends, if you're just a negative person and you're not fun to be around I'd kick you out. But I don't think people kick out friends officially anymore. [They] just stop calling people or texting or things like that. Out of bed, if they're talking too much about their ex or they start farting... warm farts.
What do you think of when you think of Canada?
Drake. Hockey. Vast spaces. Only five major cities, maybe six. And I think about all the places in Canada that I won't visit at all probably.
What was the first LP/cassette/CD/eight track you ever bought with your own money?
I don't remember the exact first one, but I remember one of them was Raekwon's Only Built 4 Cuban Linx.
How do you spoil yourself?
I occasionally take a private jet, or I'll get a side of barbecue sauce for my burger.
If I wasn't acting or performing comedy, I would be…
Trying to figure out a way to siphon ten percent from some comedian's income being a manager or agent type. Or maybe sports? Sports broadcaster, sports agent. It would be cool to be a scout for an NBA team.
What do you fear most?
What makes you want to take it off and get it on?
What has been your strangest celebrity encounter?
After the Roast of Justin Bieber, Martha Stewart gave me some nice sheets that have zebras on them.
Who would be your ideal dinner guest, living or dead, and what would you serve them?
Tesla. I would have Nikola Tesla and give him a plate of almonds.
What does your mom wish you were doing instead?
Nothing. I'm a successful comedian killing it. Maybe she wishes I was a hitman? My mother is so supportive she'd probably support me if I was a hitman. She'd be like "My baby killed six people today and he did it so stealthily!"
What song would you like to have played at your funeral?
"Legend" by Drake.

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