21 questions

Hannibal Buress Doesn’t Know Whether His Stove Works

Photo: OWEN HOFFMANN/Patrick McMullan

Name:  Hannibal Buress

Age:  29.25 

Neighborhood: Williamsburg

Occupation: Comedian. His one-hour Comedy Central special Hannibal Buress: Animal Furnace airs this Sunday, May 20 at 11 p.m., followed by the premiere of The Eric Andre Show at 12:30 a.m. on Adult Swim, which he co-hosts. [Editor’s Note: A big night! If you want to celebrate with him, he’ll be at his regular Sunday night gig at the Knitting Factory.

Who’s your favorite New Yorker, living or dead, real or fictional?
Jay-Z. He’s a cool dude.

What’s the best meal you’ve eaten in New York?
You know what? I really like Halal food. I’ve been eating Halal food out of a cart in front of Chase bank on Sixth Avenue and West Fourth. That one, I like that cart a lot.

In one sentence, what do you actually do all day in your job?
I don’t really do much in the daytime. I spend a lot of time on the Internet. When I do my stuff I stand, I talk into a microphone, and then I stop.

What was your first job in New York?
I did promotional work, like flyering and stuff, but my real, real job besides stand-up, where I went in every day, was at Saturday Night Live.

What’s the last thing you saw on Broadway?
I saw The Motherfucker with the Hat. It was good. I don’t go to see plays that much. I saw Fela! — that was a couple of years ago, though. I actually fell asleep a couple of times; not because it was boring, because I was really sleepy.

Do you give money to panhandlers?
Depends on my mood. If they catch me when I just had a good comedy show, then I’m more apt to give them money.

What’s your drink?
Jameson, Ginger Ale.

How often do you prepare your own meals?
I haven’t cooked my own meal since August. I don’t even know if my stove works. It might not work! I remember there was a problem with the gas when I moved into this place, and I made a big fuss with the landlord about having my gas off, but I haven’t cooked one thing. But when I was in the Edinburgh festival, which is a month-long festival in Scotland, I had an apartment up there and I started cooking just to have some sense of normalcy. But that was the last time I cooked, in August of last year. 

What’s your favorite medication?
Inhalers, because I have asthma. So Albuterol. [Laughs.] It’s really kept me from dying a couple times.

What’s hanging above your sofa?
Nothing. My walls are very blank.

How much is too much to spend on a haircut?
For me … you know, the most I’ve paid for a haircut was in Australia. Usually I go to a black barber or a Latino barber. I can’t just go into Supercuts. So I was in Australia and I was looking really scruffy, so I found this barber and he ended up charging me $45 Australian dollars, which is too much because I think before that the most I paid was $25 or $30, and that’s the high end.

Which do you prefer, the old Times Square or the new Times Square?
I don’t know what that means — I mean, I know what you mean, but I haven’t been here that long. You mean when there were whores, right? I do remember when I visited — I’m trying to remember when that was—  there used to be an arcade in Times Square. I remember that was fun.

Times Square, it’s a spectacle. You can get lied to about a comedy show. The guys trying to get you into a comedy show, they always say, “Yeah, it’s a Comedy Central taping. Tonight! At the Broadway Comedy Club.” And sometimes I call them on it and I say, “Oh for real, they’re taping? What’s the taping?”

A Comedy Central Presents.”

Oh, for real, somebody’s taping their half-hour special in a basement comedy club? That sounds legitimate. Sign me up.” 

What do you think of Donald Trump?
He’s aiight. His presidential run — that was pretty funny. I’d like to learn business tips from him. He seems to have done so-so in business.

What do you hate most about living in New York?
The rent. That’s pretty crazy.

Who is your mortal enemy?
The Internet, because I’ve wasted so much time on it. It’s kept me from doing lots of productive things. The Internet and my lack of self-control.

When’s the last time you drove a car?
I’m about to drive a car right now — I just got to L.A. and got my rental car and they gave me a compact car! I’m in a Nissan Versa right now and part of me wants to go back and get a different car. It’s awful. It’s a bad look. Whenever I go out of town for a gig I end up renting a car, so I drive once a month or every couple months. I like to drive nice cars, since I live in New York and I don’t drive there, it’s a novelty to be on the road and drive and listen to my music. I do enjoy driving a lot when I’m out of town, but I might have to step back into the offices and get a different car than this bullshit Versa because I don’t like it at all. 

How has the Wall Street crash affected you?
Not in any noticeable ways.

Times, Post, or Daily News?
I like getting Times articles online. But the actual paper just has too many words.

Where do you go to be alone?

What makes someone a New Yorker?
It depends. For some, it could be paying high state taxes, which I do. Does that make me a New Yorker?

Hannibal Buress’s 21 Questions