Hannibal Buress, Racing Beyond Cosby to a Starring Role in ‘Tag’

Hannibal Buress, Racing Beyond Cosby to a Starring Role in ‘Tag’

I’m better at coming up with a joke for myself. I know how to come up with stuff on the spot that fits that situation, that will feel fresher because it’s thought up in that moment. People watching can see that we’re making that part up as it goes along. It adds an energy and fun to it. The same way in stand-up, where the crowd can see when you’re making up something. It gets a more electric reaction.

How much of your stand-up is scripted?

Most of it is scripted. I would say 85 to 15 [percent], written to riff. You’ll let the audience guide you. But if a lady gets weird or a drunk yells, then they might end up being a part of the show for 10 or 15 minutes.

That’s kind of horrifying.

I mean, don’t yell. Don’t try to make yourself the show. Don’t yell stupid [expletive] at me and interrupt. “Hannibal!” “Eric Andre Show!” “Broad City!” It’s not helpful. I get that you’re excited, but I already assume that you’re excited because you paid money to watch a man talk. [Laughs]

You recently stopped drinking. Why?

It was just that I’d done enough. I feel like I accomplished most of what you can accomplish as a drinker. I did it around the world. Many different countries. Different situations. I’ve done it morning, noon, afternoon, evening, nighttime. I’ve done it in houses, hotels, apartments, trailers, outside at festivals. I feel like I peaked and I had nothing else to accomplish in the drinking game, so I retired. [Laughs, a lot]

Did you need that alcohol to help your stand-up?

I think over time I kind of fooled myself into thinking I needed it. But it’s just ingrained in comedy, before you even get paid money. “We can’t pay you for this, but you get two drink tickets.” So drinks early on I kind of viewed as currency in comedy. It’s always around and you just take advantage. And is that healthy? Especially living in a city like New York, it can get real dicey.

You play Ilana Glazer’s boyfriend, Lincoln, in “Broad City,” which will return next year with its final season. If you were writing it, how would the couple end things?

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