By Jamel Johnson
We are in the midst of a comedy golden age. Comedians haven’t seen this level of success since the 80’s. The difference between now and then is that most of today’s successful comics are unique and show no signs of falling off. Everything else is the same though, especially the cocaine and blazers. One of America’s top comics today is Hannibal Buress. He’s currently on his nation-wide “Comedy Camisado Tour” which will be stopping at Lincoln Theater tomorrow night for two shows. BYT allowed me to speak with him on the phone to commemorate this event. We spoke briefly about, Paul Pierce, glasses and other things. Here it is.
Jamel: I’ll be honest this is the biggest interview I’ve ever done.
Hannibal: Cool, I’ll be honest. This is not the biggest interview I’ve ever done.
Jamel: Do you do phone interviews all the time? Is it any less weird being the interviewee in a two stranger conversation?
Hannibal: It all depends really on the skill of the interviewer. Sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s bad. Same goes for in-person.
Jamel: True, where are you now? Are you in D.C. already?
Hannibal: No, I’m not in DC already what kind of schedule do you think I have where I just get to cities two days before a show and just chill? I’ve got Philly first, then I get into DC Friday.
Jamel: That makes sense. Also I guess that would be the exact opposite of your tour name. I had to look up what camisado means.
Hannibal: I had to look it up too!
Jamel: Who came up with that?
Hannibal: My friend Hadji gave me the name Camisado back when I was looking for tour names.
Jamel: How many tours is this for you?
Hannibal: Well this is my first proper tour. Like with all the dates released at once you know? I’ve been on the road for years, usually you just book yourself out (at random), but i’ve been working for years.
Jamel: What’s your least favorite city to come to?
Hannibal: I’m not going to say I have a least favorite when I’m doing shows they kind of all blend together. Usually I don’t need much from a city. All I’m looking for is a good meal and a decent spot to have a couple drinks so it’s not hard. Sometimes clubs are isolated in more suburban and those are the ones I like least.
Jamel: Kinda sounds like Magooby’s in Baltimore. You ever been to Magooby’s?
Hannibal: No, but I’ve heard of it.
Jamel: It’s a club in an industrial park. No restaurants around. That’s just where I am in my comedy career.
Hannibal: Oh you do comedy?
Jamel: Yea I’m a fellow black guy with glasses
Hannibal: I don’t wear glasses anymore, I got Lasik, so you’re alone with that shit. That’s why I got Lasik it’s too many black dudes with glasses doing comedy I had to switch it up.
Jamel: True I was just blind on stage for 5 yrs, but I needed glasses and my health insurance was about to run out so I had to get em. I think I’m a few tour legs out from the Lasiks. Anything you need to know about D.C.? I feel like you’ve got the city covered, but do you need any cheese fry information or something?
Hannibal: Hmmmmmmm. Do you think Paul Pierce is really the answer?
Jamel: I saw the Pistons highlights he had 9 and 4 boards. I was waiting for him to come out in the wheelchair.
Hannibal: Where is D.C. really? Like if it wasn’t its own thing it would be in Virginia right?
Jamel: Yeah, it’s basically Arlington.
Hannibal: Does Wale come home a lot?
Jamel: I haven’t seen that fool once.
Hannibal: That’s about it.
Jamel: So Comedy. I feel like comedy is in the middle of a boom and you’re one of the names at the center of it. Do you agree with that statement?
Hannibal: I feel like comedy is doing well right now because there’s so many avenues to be seen. Whether it’s through the Internet with social media or web videos and now there’s so many networks and TV shows. I think right now there’s more TV shows than ever. You’ve got network, you’ve got cable, you’ve got Netflix, you’ve got Hulu, even Amazon is putting out original content. So there’s a lot of opportunities to find fans. You don’t have to have a huge audience. You can cater to the people that like your stuff. So there is a boom in comedy and television and stand-up too through podcasting and all the different talk shows.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VJEMJsReWHI
Jamel: When you started doing stand-up did you see yourself in all of these avenues or did you think you’d be a road warrior.
Hannibal: When I started a lot of these avenues didn’t exist, but I did know I wanted to do more. I wanted to write, act, and do voice-over work. I didn’t see myself working at the level I am now but it’s been cool.
Jamel: When I saw you got the Foot Locker campaign last year I thought “Holy shit my man is major!” Do you get like free Authentics or any shit like that?
Hannibal: No, I don’t really get anything from them but I haven’t reached out either. I’m not like a super duper sneaker head. I got a couple pairs, but I’m not a “stand in line for sneakers” type of dude.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rV7eyBsgXAo
Jamel: Yea that’s the worst thing that ever happened to people. Waiting in line for shoes. Especially while you’re wearing shoes already.
Hannibal: Yeah, I guess some people really like the shoes that much. Others are planning to re-sell the sneakers, which I can respect the investment aspect of it, but it’s a crazy sub-culture that I never understood.
Jamel: You’ve got so much going on and it’s very impressive that it’s all high quality and different from each other. The Eric Andre Show is still going on right?
Hannibal: Yea the third Season Premiere is November 6th.
Jamel: Are you still running The Knitting Factory?
Hannibal: Somewhat. I mean we don’t do it every week anymore because I’m touring pretty heavily. I was there for about 5 years, but I still like to do it sporadically when I’m in town.
(At this point I paused because I wanna ask for time and then puss out.)
Jamel. So this weekend you’re at Lincoln Theater. just Friday or the whole weekend?
Hannibal: Just Friday
Jamel: True, I gotta tell you I’m doing this interview under protest because I;m doing this interview in protest. My show is the same night and I already know I’m not beating out the Comedy Camisado tour you know? but if you wanna come by I’ll give you a guest spot no problem.
Hannibal: Thank you for that offer man I appreciate it. I won’t be there though.