Comedian Hannibal Buress says he received both praise and condemnation for the conversation he helped start about the history of sexual assault allegations against fellow comic Bill Cosby.
Last fall, a joke Buress made at Cosby’s expense went viral and led to increased coverage of the former sitcom star’s accusers. Since then, more than two dozen other women have come forward detailing similar allegations of drugging and/or sexual assault by Cosby. Although the 78-year-old icon has never been charged with a crime and has denied allegations in the past, his reputation has been seriously damaged by the scandal.
Buress rarely references to his role in calling out Cosby publicly, but he spoke candidly about the fallout in a recent GQ interview. The 32-year-old performer, who was already a rising star due to a breakout supporting role on the Comedy Central hit “Broad City,” described his fair share of hate and support in the wake of the controversy.
“People are going to put on you whatever they want to put on you. It is conflicting, because people think I’m like this amazing guy or something,” he told GQ with a laugh. “I’m a decent guy.”
After stints as writer for “Saturday Night Live” and “30 Rock,” as well as cutting his teeth on the stand-up circuit since he was a teenager, Buress is now headlining his own show “Why? with Hannibal Buress” on Comedy Central. He told GQ that he received messages following the show’s debut like: “You f—— sold out Cosby and now you got a show.”
“This deal closed, like, June of last year,” Buress quipped. “That person can’t be argued with.”
Previously, Buress made light of his infamous Cosby connection at the Justin Bieber roast (“I hate your music more than Bill Cosby hates my comedy.”) and on “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” where he joked about getting death threats from people who share a mutual friend with him on Facebook.
Last October, Buress said in an interview with radio host Howard Stern, “It wasn’t my intention to make it part of a big discussion. It was just something I was doing at that venue, right there.” As far as the accusations against Cosby were concerned, Buress told Stern: “I just read some stuff and researched. And anybody can get that information.”
“I said it and I gotta stand on it, but it is an interesting situation,” he added at the time.
Recently unearthed 2005 deposition testimony confirmed that Cosby did procure Quaaludes in the 1970s for the purpose of seducing younger women for sex outside of his marriage. However, he denied drugging women without their consent.