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Hannibal Buress Chats With Us About His New Comedy Central Show, 'Broad City' And Deep Dish

By Gina Provenzano in Arts & Entertainment on Jun 5, 2015 6:40PM

Hannibal Buress performs at Thalia Hall./ Photo by Jeff Schear/Getty Images for Redd's Wicked Apple

Comedian Hannibal Buress stopped by Chicago and made a special appearance last night as a part of the Redd's Wicked Apple “Most Wicked Party” series in collaboration with Afropunk. The night also brought musical performances by Danny Brown and Holt.

Despite his national notoriety and roles on Broad City and The Eric Andre Show, the Austin neighborhood native frequently makes unannounced appearances at local open mics around town. Often deadpan and quick with observational humor, Buress' star has risen in the past few years. With writing credits from Saturday Night Live and 30 Rock already under his belt, 2015 has a lot in-store for the comedian, who will star in his own show on Comedy Central this fall.

We were lucky enough to get the chance to chat with Hannibal backstage before his Afropunk set, where we talked about returning to Chicago, his new show, why he's not like his Broad City character, restaurant recommendations and how awkward it is to do an interview in a room full of people.

CHICAGOIST: You're now based out in New York City. So what are some things you do and don't miss about Chicago?

HANNIBAL BURESS: I got a lot of friends and family in Chicago. I'm from here, so I miss that part. The fact that it's home. It's a little more mellow here. Chicago versus New York. But when I'm in New York, that's home and that's where I've been most of my adult life, as somebody earning their own living. I had an apartment of my own for five maybe six months and had roommates, but most of my Chicago time was living with my parents and a lot of New York time has been on my own. That kind of plays into a comfort in Chicago.

C: Absolutely. So any favorite places you like to hit up, both to perform and just to visit, when you're back in Chicago?

HB: I go to Beat Kitchen a lot. The Tonic Room. I end up performing at Cole's and hanging out in Logan Square. I like to see music some times when I'm here at Lincoln Hall, there are just a lot of good spots.

C: Cole's is known especially for having a great, budding open mic nights on Wednesdays.

HB: Yeah, I've performed there before. It's a really fun open mic, it can be a little chatty but otherwise it's a really fun spot.

C: Chicago's really known for having a vibrant and competitive comedy culture. In your opinion, what's the best way for someone in the scene to stand out?

HB: I mean, you just have to be good. There's nothing I could tell somebody that would make them better. If they suck, they suck. There's nothing that I could say that all the sudden would make somebody different. You know? I mean there's promotion and building a fan base and a few business things but that's pretty much it.

C:So going in a different direction, we've seen a lot of you on television this year. From Broad City to The Eric Andre Show. But you have your own show coming out on Comedy Central. Will we get to see a different side of your comedy on the new show? What can we expect?

HB: I don't know, we haven't filmed it yet.

C: So you're still in the initial writing process?

HB: Yeah, we had our second pitch meeting yesterday. So we're still getting together, you know, deciding what's going to be on the show and trying to decide what type of things we want to write and what type of things I want to say.

C: That sounds really exciting.

HB: Yeah. It will be the first kind of thing where I’m pretty much in control of everything when it comes out. I haven’t had that on other shows, because they're just not my shows. This show I have the say-so in every single piece. I think I have good taste and I think I write funny stuff and I think it's going to be good.

C: So going back to Broad City for a second. That show has really exploded in popularity. Your character Lincoln has become a favorite for many. Would you say that you have any of the same attributes as Lincoln or is he far off from your own personality?

HB: I’m not as much of a nice of a guy as he is. He is way nicer than I am and way more tolerant. I wouldn't be a dentist that's waiting around for some other girl while she's fucking around. I would have to be getting my own.

C: You just ended a long stint on the road. While you were traveling you reviewed a few roadside restaurants, like Cracker Barrel. Can we expect more restaurant reviews in the future? Any Chicago places you want to review?

HB: We have a few actually that we haven't put out. But yeah, we haven't actually had the chance to film anything in Chicago. But when I have some free time I definitely want to.

C: Any favorite spots you're thinking of?

HB: I don't know. I get back a decent amount, but I pretty much go to the places I went to when I was living here. Allende on Lincoln and Diner Grill. I don't have the most sophisticated Chicago restaurant recommendations. People always ask me "where should I eat in Chicago?" I say Allende for Mexican food and Diner Grill for eggs. I know there's much more. But I don't have deep-dish pizza places to recommend. I only know it's delicious.

C: I just have one more question for you before letting you get back to the show. Generally you have a lot of observational humor that really points out the absurdity in situations. Are there any recent situations you might work into your act?

HB: Well how about this one? We're doing an interview here with all these people just watching us. Just watching and judging both of us.

C: I definitely think there's a lot of material in that. Thanks again for sitting and talking with us.

HB: Thank you.