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Jokers Wild

The only thing better than a funny New York man is a funny New York man with an innate sense of style. So, for our annual Men’s Issue, we asked comedian Seth Herzog to sit down with five hot NYC stand-ups whose sharp sense of humor gives them a sartorial edge.

Brooklyn-based Buress, who has referred to himself as “a black Ellen DeGeneres” was named one of Variety magazine’s “10 comics to watch in 2010” and won “best club comic” at the 2012 Comedy Awards. He performs every Sunday night at the Knitting Factory in Brooklyn.

The Rising Star
Hannibal Buress is one of the hottest comedians in America right now, with a fan base and touring calendar that grow exponentially each month. The Chicago-bred comedian was itching to make NYC his own—and once he got here, he didn’t waste any time. In a short span he’s performed stand-up on Letterman, Fallon, Kimmel, Conan, Ferguson and Lopez; gotten work as a writer and bit performer on Saturday Night Live and 30 Rock; and been given a co-host spot on Adult Swim’s Eric Andre Show. And he’s just warming up...

You were here only a year or so when you got hired on SNL. What was that like?
It was unexpected. The job itself was kind of tough, but I was psyched.

And how was your experience writing on 30 Rock?
It was a totally different vibe—more collaborative, and they put me on camera a bunch.

You played the homeless guy.
That was only, like, seven or eight episodes; it was really cool that they did that. I guess people like that character…

Who doesn’t love a homeless guy?
Ninty-nine percent of people.

Don’t like homeless people?
I mean, it might not be a “don’t like,” it might be just a “don’t acknowledge.”

What happens when someone homeless comes up to you now—do you have a different appreciation?
I’ve been homeless before.

Oh, it’s about to get real!
I’d only been in New York a couple of weeks before I got into a fight with my sister who lives here, so it was hostels when I had the money, but sometimes when I couldn’t get rent money, I’d crash on the train just because I didn’t want to make up with my sis. I remember being on the F or the B a few times; I remember waking up at Coney Island.

It’s a tricky existence.
It would’ve been nice if I’d gotten girls. I mean, there were a couple of girls because, you know, when you’re looking for a place to stay, you step up your game.

You do a weekly show now—how much new material do you do every week?
I always try some new stuff on top. But I have this regular joke I do every few shows. I say: “The show is listed on the New York Post website—no reviews, just says, ‘Check out Hannibal Buress at The Knitting Factory,’ and somebody put in the comments section, ‘Sure, I’ll pay good money to see some stoned-out street thug do comedy.’” Then I say, “First of all, it’s a free show. Second of all, I don’t smoke weed, I drink and I game, so get my vices right. Third of all, what kind of street thug puts on a free comedy show in Williamsburg? [Talking like a druggie]: ‘You gonna hang out with us and slap-and-crack strangers? Nah man, gotta go do the show.’” That joke kills every time.

What makes you stylish, and what’s particular about your style?
If you look at my closet, it’s almost like a cartoon character’s. You’ll rarely see me in anything other than black and gray. Sometimes I just buy six of the same shirt, and wear them back to back.

Yeah, how’s everyone gonna know? Who’s gonna call you out on it? There are people who think jeans should never be washed, or washed, like, twice a year or something.
Really? Don’t those people ever fart? Do they pull their pants down when they fire?

Click here to read more of "Jokers Wild" in the April digital edition of Manhattan magazine!