Comedian Hannibal Buress saw his profile rise significantly with the general public in 2014 when his standup routine about Bill Cosby helped accelerate mainstream media coverage of sexual assault allegations leveled at the comedian by dozens of women.
But he downplayed the Cosby furor at the Television Critics Association press tour on Sunday where he was promoting his upcoming standup special for Netflix.
“I do a lot of other s—,” Buress said when asked if Cosby is still part of his routine. “It’s weird that it happened like that. I was calling a bunch of other comedians rapists and that was the only one people took seriously. …
That’s just one joke people took and really ran with it.”
Buress appeared with fellow comics John Mulaney and Patton Oswalt, who also have specials coming to Netflix.
Oswalt sought to counter the suggestion that Buress’ rising popularity hinged on the Cosby incident. “Hannibal was doing fine without that,” Oswalt said. “He’d be sitting here now if that had not happened. He was on a trajectory (already) as far as being bulletproof as a comedian.”
When pressed for a yes or no on whether he still treads on Cosby territory in his performances, Oswalt dove in with a response that got a huge laugh: “He’s doing a lot of Billy Crystal stuff … and it’s really dark.”
Buress called Cosby a “rapist” in a routine that slammed the veteran entertainer for criticizing aspects of black culture even as he faced allegations that he raped and drugged women over the years.
A cellphone video of Buress’ performance helped raise awareness of the growing storm surrounding Cosby. Last month, Cosby was charged with aggravated indecent assault in connection with a 2004 incident at his suburban Philadelphia mansion.