INTERVIEW: Comedian Hannibal Buress talks touring, censorship and first impressions of Dubai
What’s On sat down with Hannibal Buress ahead of his Dubai debut at the Dubai Comedy Festival to find out what he’s expecting from his first trip to the Middle East.
Are you looking forward to coming to Dubai?
YEAH! I’ve never been to that part of the world before.
Do you have any idea what you’ll be doing while you’re here?
Well, I don’t know. What would you suggest? I’d like see some of the nightlife. Drive an expensive car…
Sounds like you already have some ideas about the city. What comes to mind when you think of Dubai?
Umm…money. Excess. Opulence. Fast cars. And err…bungee jumping.
Which one of your fellow comedians are you most looking forward to seeing or working with while you’re at the comedy festival?
Unfortunately, I don’t think my times overlap with (Dave) Chappelle or Trevor Noah. But my buddy from New York is gonna be in Dubai, so it’ll be fun to see him there. And I think we’ll spend some time in Abu Dhabi too.
What’s the best thing about touring?
On this show, I’m really looking forward to travelling with friends. It’s fun to experience another place, another country with my buddies.
Is there a downside?
The downside of touring is that you don’t get to see your family as much. It’s funny, with my travel schedule as busy as it is, a lot of my friends in New York think I don’t live there any more. When I see them in NY, they’re like, “how long as you here for?” and I have to say, “I’m here! I live here!”
But the upside of being able to travel and making a living doing it… you know, just being invited to perform half way across the world is incredible.
You know, you’re not the only celebrity in town. The cast of Star Trek is filming here right now.
Yep – are you a fan?
Did you always want to be a comedian?
Yeah. I really don’t know what I’d be doing if I wasn’t a comedian. I’m a really big sports fan so maybe something in that? I’ve never really done anything else – I’ve been doing comedy since I was 19.
We know you’ve just wrapped on the film Daddy’s Home with Mark Wahlberg and Will Ferrell. What was that like?
It was great – a little jarring to come off my own show (Why? with Hannibal Buress), where you’re in your own world, and then come on set to shoot scenes with Will and Mark. I’m excited for it to come out (on December 25).
Who were your comedy heroes when you were growing up?
There are some really great comedians around right now – people who are funny, and good off the cuff. Chris Rock and the late Patrice O Neill are two of my heroes.
Your own show can be quite edgy, and Dubai is quite a conservative place. Will you have to censor yourself?
There are definitely things I can’t say, but that’s alright. For the amount of money that they’re paying me, I’m happy to edit down the show.
We’ll figure it out. There’s ways to work around that sort of thing and still get your message across. Come to the show – you’ll be happy to see me.
See Hannibal perform with comedian Jerrod Carmichael at Meyana Theater, Jumeirah Beach Hotel on October 16. Doors open at 6pm, show starts at 8pm. Tickets are available at platinumlist.ae. More info at dubaicomedyfest.ae.