Hannibal Buress is an actor and stand-up comedian who was recorded at a Philadelphia club, The Trocadero, performing a bit about the rape allegations against Bill Cosby. On October 16, 2014, Buress addressed the fact that Cosby would often talk down to and criticize young black men about how they dressed and their lifestyle. Hannibal went on to disapprove of Cosby’s public shaming of young black men when he said, “Yeah, but you raped women, Bill Cosby, so that kind of brings you down a couple notches.” People in the audience did not seem to understand the joke and seemed very confused by it, to which Buress responded, “Google ‘Bill Cosby rape.’”
As it turns out, this Cosby routine has been one he has used several times but the video recording of that live performance went viral after it was posted on a Philadelphia magazine’s website. Decades before this, rumors of Bill Cosby allegedly drugging women existed, and apparently it was Hannibal Buress’ mention of the allegations that finally struck a chord with millions of people. The media picked up the viral video, with various publications trying to figure out how Bill Cosby had managed to keep something like this under wraps without being charged, despite the several public sex abuse accusations.
“It’s weird that a joke turned into that,” Hannibal Buress said at a Television Critics Association event on Sunday, just before Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. “I was doing a joke in my show — so that shouldn’t really influence public opinion or influence. It’s not what a joke should … I don’t know if it should go that far.” At the time in which he made the joke, there were 13 allegations women had brought against Bill Cosby.
“Thirteen?” Buress asked while on stage. “It’s even worse because Bill Cosby has the f—-n’ smuggest old black man public persona that I hate.”
Bill Cosby’s rape allegations are now well known with over 50 women who have come forward with accusations of sexual assault. Hannibal Buress, 32, said he simply went online and looked for the information himself. Ever since the issue went viral, Buress has downplayed the Bill Cosby rape jokes. During an interview with Howard Stern in 2014, Hannibal claimed that he had been using that particular bit for six months, saying that he was only bringing up information that was readily available to anybody on the Internet.
“I just read some stuff and researched,” comedian Hannibal Buress said. “Anybody can get that information.”
Meanwhile, Bill Cosby has been denying any claims of sexual-misconduct, with his attorneys saying that he had never been charged. Then, Cosby was charged on December 31, 2015, when the comedian was brought in on felony assault charges in Philadelphia. These charges go all the way back to an encounter he had with a former employee at Temple University in 2004. In 2005, the district attorney’s office did not charge Bill Cosby when Andrea Constand claimed that Cosby sexually assaulted touched her by putting his hands down her pants.
If I had a dollar for every "Monique Pressley: First Black Woman To Ever Get A. Law Degree" article...— #BernedOut (@rodimusprime) January 12, 2016
Cosby’s attorney, Monique Pressley, has been refuting Andrea Constand’s charges, saying she is simply “playing political football” with the life of the 78-year-old comedian. CAA, Creative Arts Agency, stopped representing Bill Cosby in late 2014, after the rape allegations began to spread. He has been without representation ever since.
Hannibal Buress, on the other hand, has not seen his career take a dive since the joke. Buress has said that he continues to work and get work, citing his voice-over work for films, including the upcoming animated The Angry Birds Movie, as well as some other ongoing stand-up appearances. He even has a comedy special set up for Netflix that will be released next month on February 5.
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