- Andrew H. Walker; Ethan Miller/Getty
Back in 2014, comedian Hannibal Buress made a joke about Bill Cosby at a comedy club in Philadelphia, and the resulting media pandemonium brought the sexual-abuse allegations against Cosby to center stage.
Cosby was later charged with aggravated indecent assault in one case that’s more than a decade old, his first criminal charge over his conduct with women. He has now returned to court for a hearing in that case.
“Pull your pants up black people, I was on TV in the ’80s,” Buress said in the bit, mocking Bill Cosby’s public persona. “Yeah, but you rape women, Bill Cosby,” Buress reasoned, “so turn the crazy down a couple notches.”
Shaky video footage of Buress’ Cosby joke went viral.
Since the joke, more than 40 women have come forward to accuse Cosby of sexual abuse. Cosby has since been vilified by comedians (Judd Apatow, most prominently) and pundits alike, and the evidence against Cosby continues to pile up – a 2005 deposition uncovered by the Associated Press revealed that Cosby acknowledged that he obtained quaaludes with the intention of “giving them to young women he wanted to have sex with.”
Nonetheless, Buress’ public reaction to the media firestorm he helped ignite has been one of relative apprehension.
In an interview with GQ, Buress opened up about the situation and revealed that the buzz around his Cosby joke actually halted Comedy Central’s announcement of his new show, “Why? with Hannibal Buress.”
- David Buchan/Getty
While he doesn’t exactly regret doing the Cosby bit, Buress said he was definitely shocked by the uproar.
“You can’t predict s— like that,” he said.
The GQ interviewer pressed Buress on the subject, asking whether he realized that his Cosby joke had made him “a feminist hero” for giving Cosby’s many accusers the opportunity to speak openly about their abuser.
“People are going to put on you whatever they want to put on you,” Buress responded, reluctant to accept the “feminist hero” title.
“It is conflicting, because people think I’m like this amazing guy or something,” he said, with a laugh. “I’m a decent guy.”
Still, the comedian in Buress can’t resist pulling a shot at Cosby when he’s able to get people to laugh about it. At the Comedy Central Roast of Justin Bieber, for instance, Buress joked that he hates Bieber’s music “more than Bill Cosby hates my comedy.”
In the context of the GQ interview, though, Buress seemed tired of the subject.
“I don’t know what the f— else you want me to say,” he concluded.