Hannibal Buress, the comedian who has been seen as the force behind ruining Bill Cosby’s clean cut image with a single joke, spoke on a panel today where the disgraced comedian came up in conversation, according to Entertainment Weekly.
Burress was speaking on the Netflix panel to promote his upcoming comedy special with fellow comedians Patton Oswalt, who also has an upcoming comedy special and John Mulaney at the Television Critics Association’s press tour when a reporter asked about Cosby.
“I’ve been working for a while and I continue to work. I work in film, I do voiceover, and I continue to do stand-up, said Buress, after jokingly saying that he called other comedians rapists in his routine, but people took the Cosby stab seriously.
Burress continued, “That’s just one joke that people took and really ran with it.”
In October 2014, Burress was performing in Philadelphia, Cosby’s hometown when he called the comedian a rapist and said he had a smug “old black man public persona” in a set, according to a report by The Hollywood Reporter.
“Pull your pants up, black people. I was on TV in the ’80s. I can talk down to you because I had a successful sitcom,'” said Buress. “Yeah, but you raped women, Bill Cosby. So, brings you down a couple notches.”
Oswalt and Mulaney supported Buress by saying that he was well known as a comedian prior to the Bill Cosby joke in 2014. The 32-year-old comedian was then asked the question many wanted to know; does he still tell Cosby jokes?
“Probably not. You probably hear a joke about being able to Google’s people’s property values with ease,” said Buress. “That’s what I talk about.”
After the panel ended, many reporters came up to Burress to ask him more questions about the Cosby joke, but he seemed to be uncomfortable with the topic eventually shutting down the reporters.
The comedian told the reporters who were asking numerous questions, that the joke has had no impact on his life, that his career was moving fast, referencing his role in the film Daddy’s Home, and that Bill Cosby has never reached out to him following the fallout.
“It’s weird that a joke turned into that. I was doing a joke in my show — so that shouldn’t really influence public opinion or influence,” said Burress. “It’s not what a joke should … I don’t know if it should go that far.”
In a November 2014 article for the website Mashable, writer Josh Dickey noted that Buress had no plans to revisit or capitalize the situation, as well as turning down interview requests about the topic.
“It was the cultural equivalent of an action hero walking away from an explosion without looking back,” said Dickey, who described the situation as a “tipping point” in Buress ruining Cosby’s reputation. “Hannibal Buress has spoken his piece about Bill Cosby, and seems content to leave the billowing mushroom cloud behind.”
According to the website Deadline Hollywood, Buress’ special titled Hannibal Buress: Comedy Camisado, is set to be released by Netflix on February 5, where it will see Burress perform his style of observational comedy to a full house at the Varsity Theater in Minneapolis.
Bill Cosby has been accused by numerous women of sexual assault as far back as the 1970’s, and so far only one charge has been brought forward, according to BBC News. Andrea Constand sued Cosby in a 2005 civil sex assault case. It was noted in his civil deposition that Cosby admitted to drugging women during sexual encounters, but said that the consent was mutual and that he had paid off other women to keep quiet.
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