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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Comedian Hannibal Buress Talks Standup, Baseball and Ninjas

Posted By on Tue, Oct 21, 2014 at 5:13 AM

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Are you still based out of New York, or do you live elsewhere now?

I live in New York.

Was there a big decision for you to decide between New York or LA?

Not really, just because New York, it's just a better standup city. It's just a better place to do standup, New York.

Why is that?

New York is more compact; it's easy to navigate. It's just a better spot. You could do four or five shows a night in New York.

You came up out of Chicago. Do you think that leaving Chicago or the Midwest had a big impact in your career taking off, or do you think you could have done as well if had you stayed?

No, you can't really get the opportunities that I've gotten if you're just in Chicago. You can get some, but a lot of things in show business happen last-minute. I got offered The Jimmy Fallon Show, just out of the blue. I got offered it the day before, so if I lived in Chicago and they were asking about me, it may not have happened because of the travel.

What got you onstage the first time?

My family got kidnapped by ninjas, and they said I needed to do a five-minute set to get them free. And so I studied standup for awhile, and after a month of working on it, I went and did some comedy for those ninjas, and then they released my family. I kept doing standup.

How often are you asked that question?


How did your first set go? Were you funny?

It was OK. It was just exciting. I was starting to see my ideas and then had people laughing and enjoying it, and it's a really fun feeling. It's like when people, you know, you're telling a story with your friends, and they laugh and it feels good. Just imagine that with other people, a microphone, and it's something that you've worked on for awhile. That's what I enjoy about it.

Are you writing out the majority of your set, or is it more spontaneous?

It varies. I know what I want to close on the set, usually. I like to know what I close on and what I open with and have a loose format. It's not a script. It's not a script from top to bottom, but I like to leave some moments in the middle and just let it flow from there. I just like to know what I'm going to start out with and know how I'm going to end it, and in the middle, then kind of let the energy guide and be loose for the improv.

There are elements of improv in each of your performances?

Somewhat. I mean, it depends on the show, it depends on what's happening, it depends on the city. I try to mix it up a little.

To switch gears, have you ever heard the term "getting baseballed"?

Getting baseball-ed?



So during the month of October, the entertainment industry, if we go into postseason, can take a serious hit because everybody goes to baseball games instead of doing anything else. I didn't know if that was an anomaly to our fair city or if that was a thing that happened elsewhere.

The term...I don't know, I never heard the term before, but that happens in other cities. Where other events -- something because of a sports team getting in the playoffs because it's a big sports town. I haven't heard the term "getting baseballed." It's a good term. Hopefully, my show doesn't get baseballed. Does the postseason last through October?

If the Cardinals make it through, yes it could. [Ed. note: This interview was conducted before they didn't.]

Well, I don't want to get baseballed, so I hope they get swept.

Well, I appreciate you taking time out of your day to talk with me, and I'm definitely excited to have you back in St. Louis and to see that you've grown into a bigger venue.

Hopefully I can fill it. Tell people about it. I was looking at the [baseball] schedule as we were talking. That date could be a game.

What's it say, is there a home game?

I hope the Cardinals don't make the World Series, is what I'm saying.


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