When it comes to Bill Cosby and his downfall, Hannibal Buress will forever be linked to the TV icon.
But from the looks of it, Buress is looking to move beyond Cosby as he shows no interest in capitalizing on his role in turning Cosby from one of America’s most beloved comedians to someone who has fallen out of favor with some who held him in high regard back in the day with his family friendly image and classic TV series The Cosby Show.
Just over a year ago, Buress referenced Cosby during a performance at a comedy club in Philadelphia, taking note of the veteran entertainer’s criticism of the actions of the younger generation.
“Pull your pants up black people, I was on TV in the ‘80s,” Buress said as he mocked Cosby. “Yeah, but you rape women, Bill Cosby. So turn the crazy down a couple notches.”
After making the joke, the Los Angeles Times noted that Buress encouraged those in the audience who didn’t believe him to “Google ‘Bill Cosby rape’” once they left the show:
“That … has more results than ‘Hannibal Buress,’” Buress said.
From there, a clip of Buress’ joke surfaced and went viral days after the performance. After the media jumped on the story, various women came forward to accuse Cosby of drugging and sexual assaulting them. Despite their encounters with Cosby occurring decades ago, Cosby was charged last week with aggravated indecent assault for an alleged incident that took place in 2004.
Reflecting on the reaction to his Cosby joke, Buress acknowledged his shock over the fallout from it during an interview with GQ in June,
“You can’t predict … like that,” he told the publication while rejecting the notion of him being a “feminist hero” for helping to give voice to Cosby’s accusers, including former models Beverly Johnson and Janice Dickinson.
“People are going to put on you whatever they want to put on you,” Buress said. “It is conflicting, because people think I’m like this amazing guy or something. I’m a decent guy.”
Still, the joke did impact Buress. According to the comedian, the controversy over the joke and his name being associated with the word “rape” ended up causing Comedy Central to delay its announcement of his new TV show, “Why? with Hannibal Buress.” Despite the delay, the series did air in July on the network.
In addition to “Why?” which the Times described as aiming to “tackle topical issues with sketches, man-on-the-street interviews and stand-up comedy in front of a studio audience,” Buress emerged with more fans after taking part in Comedy Central’s roast of Justin Bieber last spring.
During his time at the roast, Buress mentioned Cosby with another jab at him, joking that he hates Bieber’s music “more than Bill Cosby hates my comedy.”
Still, with everything he’s gone through related to Cosby, it would seem that Buress is truly tired of conversating about embattled comedy star as he voiced to GQ, “I don’t know what the … else you want me to say.”
(Photo: Hannibal Burress official website)