February 16, 2011
ESQUIRE: What do you think of Chris Rock calling you the next Mitch Hedberg?
HANNIBAL BURESS: People like to compare something to something that they know. Even with Chris Rock, they say he’s like Richard Pryor or Eddie Murphy. I think [with Mitch] there’s a similar energy, and I take it as a compliment because people really loved him, but I think there are a lot of differences. My stuff is more personal.
ESQ: What’s a personal story from your stand-up?
HB: I go to my family’s for the holidays, and my teenage cousin talks shit about my comedy. And I know I shouldn’t let it get to me, because I’m an adult. But he says things like, “Nobody’s watching SNL.” And I find myself defending SNL to a 16-year-old with no money. And I’m thinking of how I can really get to him: Okay, I’ll accuse him of masturbating. He can’t handle being accused of jacking off. I feel really petty about it.
ESQ: Funny, but mean.
HB: I’ve resolved to be nicer.
ESQ: Do you know Chris Rock?
HB: A mutual friend sent a video of when I performed on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, and he reached out. And then he came and did my stand-up show.
ESQ: What was the reaction of the crowd?
HB: To see somebody like that at a free show at a place that holds 80 people … if you see Chris Rock for free, then your night just got made.
ESQ: Do you have aspirations to be on TV?
HB: Actually, I already acted on 30 Rock. I’m a homeless dude in the background and I yell, “Get a room!” … And Louis C. K. had me do his show. He told me, “Oh, yeah, I wrote you in … We’re taping next week.” Real nonchalant.
ESQ: That’s a lot of success for a 28-year-old.
HB: Yeah, but if I go to Indiana and do a gig and there’s 150 people there, probably 20 of them might have seen something I did before… I’d like to get more bit-acting roles. I don’t know if my talent would allow for a long dialogue, but I could definitely knock out three lines. I’d kill it.