Variety named Hannibal Buress one of its 10 comics to watch in 2010, and three years later, the laid-back, laconic comedian is having his busiest year yet.
The former Saturday Night Live and 30 Rock writer now co-hosts Adult Swim's demented talk show parody The Eric Andre Show, which starts its second season in October. And following last year's stand-up special Animal Furnace, Comedy Central has signed a development deal with him that includes a new special and a role on their new series Broad City.
Like fellow former 30 Rock writer Donald Glover, who raps as Childish Gambino, Buress bridges the gap between comedy and hip-hop. He talks about Odd Future and Young Jeezy in his stand-up and co-directed Chance the Rapper's Na Na music video.
Now he'll perform at hip-hop station Wild 94.1's Shut Up and Laugh comedy show on Friday at the Mahaffey with Bruce Bruce and DeRay Davis. In an interview, Buress discussed his comedic and musical influences, Chance the Rapper and more. Here are excerpts.
Your publicist said you're filming in L.A. right now. What are you filming?
I've been working on some different movies and TV projects right now. I finished up season two of The Eric Andre Show, a movie called Flock of Dudes and a movie called Townies with Seth Rogen.
Are you playing more theaters like this St. Pete show nowadays or still mainly comedy clubs?
I do comedy clubs on the road, but also perform a lot at music venues and some theaters on my own. It's nice, it's a different energy. It's not drink service. Comedy clubs, maybe you want drink service, but you can get distracted sometimes when people are getting their bills at the end of the show. So it is nice.
And after this, you'll be heading out on the Oddball Festival along with Dave Chappelle, Flight of the Conchords and much of modern comedy. What are you looking forward to on those shows?
It's going to be fun, man. It's Dave Chappelle and quite a few people that I know and respect, so I'm excited to work with them. Great venues — it's going to be crazy.
You appeared on the first season of Louis C.K.'s show Louie in a couple of episodes. How did you come to meet him?
I met Louis through Todd Barry — showed Louis a clip of mine. I did some shows opening for him and out of nowhere he just wrote me a part on the show, which was pretty cool.
Do any musicians influence your stage presence?
Not anybody specifically. I go to rap shows and all types just because there's the element of showmanship that you get to watch, you just learn from and think about putting on a bigger show. That's why I see shows in Las Vegas, those Cirque du Soleil shows. I mean, I can't have the level of production of a Cirque du Soleil show, but it makes you think about the ways that you could step up.
What rap are you listening to?
Right now, Chance the Rapper's good. You know, at first, I didn't like the Yeezus album, but it took some time and it's grown on me. What else is new this year? Some of the Mac Miller I like. Those three right now.
How would you compare writing now on The Eric Andre Show to when you wrote on Saturday Night Live and 30 Rock?
Well, The Eric Andre Show stuff, I didn't spend that much time in the writers' room. I spent a couple of days and pitched some ideas. A lot of my stuff is done on set and it's just a lot of improvising and coming up with stuff on the spot. So it's a much different experience from Saturday Night Live, where you had a certain amount of sketches you're supposed to write, where The Eric Andre Show, it's coming up with stuff there.
What else do you have coming up? 2013 seems like an especially busy year for you.
I'll probably film my special in November or December. I'm working on Broad City with Comedy Central, so we'll start filming that in September. Then just doing stand-up, The Eric Andre Show premieres in October, and that's it.