- Hannibal Buress
You probably know Hannibal Buress from his role on Comedy Central’s Broad City as Lincoln. On Oct. 1 his national stand-up tour will be gracing Indy. He has already nailed down the coveted Comedy Central hour special and now has moved to making a documentary on Netflix. NUVO spoke with him before his local appearance.
NUVO: Tell me about how you came to be on Broad City
Hannibal Buress: I met them in New York a couple of years ago and just doing standup in New York. It used to be a web series. It was originally a web series that they produced on their own and they asked me to be apart of it. There was a story where the episode was just about how Abby and Ilana handled romantic situations. I played the guy Ilana was around. And Abby was on a date with — I think it was Jon Freedman. In the finale of that season they got Amy Poehler to do an episode and she wanted to produce is as a television show. They asked me to do a role in the pilot.
Buress: No. I didn’t expect that at all. Because the web series was good but it didn't have a huge following at the time. It was maybe like 30,000 views, maybe, on an episode. It was a cool thing to shoot and that they were doing it on their own, but I didn't think that it would go that crazy.
NUVO: Do you have a favorite place to do standup?
Buress: I really enjoy performing in New Orleans. It’s a fun city, good energy, great food. I really like New Orleans because no matter what time you want to do something you can. It’s just a great culture. You are never really going to be bored. If you are bored in New Orleans — I guess I could see maybe if you lived there, no, still no — if you are bored there you are kind of a boring person. New Orleans is fun. The Bay area. San Francisco and Oakland have great crowds. Obviously performing at home in Chicago is a special energy because it’s where I am from. More people show up because of that. I can talk about more things because of that, that I can’t talk about in other places…
NUVO: How has working on TV and in movies impacted your personal standup?
Buress: I think it’s just brought more people to the show. I’m sure it makes it easier for someone who is not that into standup to convince them to come to my show…
NUVO: When do you end up writing most of your stand-up? Tell me about the process of how your sets come together.
Buress: I wish I wrote more, and I always talk about writing more and I don't get to it. Mostly it’s stories that happen to me. I will tell a story to a friend, genuinely, not in a let me try this bit out on you kind of way … it flows and I see that people think it’s an interesting story then I’ll take it to the stage … I will tell them on stage then edit it and switch them … So I write a lot on stage. My process is more getting out and experiencing things and trying to talk about them in a funny way after the fact. Or just really trying to examine how I feel about something and get that across on stage. Occasionally I will jot down a note or something, but that isn't the stuff that really ends up being in my act.
NUVO: What was your worst early job? Editor’s note: This question led to a rabbit hole conversation about this editor’s worst early job. It was working at Abercrombie and Fitch, for the record.
Buress: I got roped into some pyramid schemes doing door-to-door sales. Which is a horrible, horrible model. Door-to-door sales. The idea of showing up at someone's home and trying to get them to spend money on something they don't need at all is crazy. It was crazy. I can’t believe that I did it, and I am so glad that it’s dying as a business model … I had been doing stand-up a couple of years at that point and I was thinking I can make people laugh on stage, then of course I can sell stuff to them at their homes. People come to a comedy show, usually they are making a choice to come to a comedy show. Versus you popping up at their house in the suburbs and trying to sell them discounted coupons or something.