Hannibal Buress Can't Help But Ask Why?

Oriana Schwindt
Jason Nocito/Comedy Central

Hannibal Buress, 32, has been breaking ground for a while: He’s written for Saturday Night Live and 30 Rock, released his latest stand-up special and, last October, triggered an earthquake during a set in Philadelphia with a few pointed observations about allegations of rape against Bill Cosby. Now he’s poised to break out with a new Comedy Central show, Why? With Hannibal Buress, a weekly hybrid of sketches and stand-up bits on current events, with some man-on-the-street segments thrown in for good measure. We questioned Buress about what to expect.

You'd made Brooklyn your home for a while, but for the show, you've relocated to LA.
It's just easier to focus and work in LA, it's slightly more laid-back. It's easier to get up early and kinda get to it out here. It's easier to focus. New York is a bit more chaotic, for me.

What’s different about running your own show?
All the material is filtered through me. I pick the jokes and sketches that will go on, with the input of my executive producer, Jeff Stilsen. I’m looking forward to having a singular vision that’s mine and trying something that might be weird or out there that I might have written for SNL but wasn’t necessarily right for them.

You haven't shot any material yet. What would a show done last week have looked like?
I dunno! I get news off the internet. I like to read the news—watching the news puts me in a weird place. I tried to watch the news this morning, a couple different programs, you know, like the local L.A. ones out here, and Good Morning America, and I dunno if it's the pace of it or if I just don't like watching it. What’s China up to? I think that’s the news I should start following, since they have the most people and are going to run everything eventually. [Laughs]

You have a lot of ongoing projects: playing Lincoln on Broad City, touring, a sidekick gig on Adult Swim’s The Eric Andre Show. Do you have 25 hours in your day?
There’s actually not much overlap—you just do things when you can. I’ll do my show at this time and I might tour during the weekend. I’ll [only] do Broad City for a few weeks or a month. A lot of stuff gets put out around the same time, which gives the illusion that I'm running from set to set or something like that. But it's not really that tough on my end. Sometimes production has to work around other shows, or other things… It's just a scheduling Tetris game.

There's an actual Al Dente Dentist blog for Lincoln. Do you contribute to that at all?

I think you know the answer to that. [Laughs] No, no, let's say I write it. In addition to working full-time on my TV show, I also contribute to the blog of a fictional character. I'm a workaholic.

Which shows are you watching these days?
I watched all of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. I'm into Archer, I like Archer a lot. And Extreme Couponing.

How exactly did you get into Extreme Couponing?
I was at a hotel surfing through and stopped on it. It’s fascinating to see how dedicated these people are. You watch someone go up to a register that rings up to $600 and then see it couponed down to where they get $8 back. And the funny way they build up to it: [Puts on Movie Announcer Voice] “What’s going to happen at the register?” They’re going to save a lot of money! They do this all the time—it’s obvious they’re going to pay way less than what the retail price is! ...But I still watch.

 Why? With Hannibal Buress, Season premiere, 10:30/9:30c, Comedy Central

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