Hannibal Buress does a lot of incredible stuff every day of his life: He's Lincoln the dentist, the best supporting dude on Broad City. He consistently kills it on the Eric Andre Show. He's getting his own variety series on Comedy Central. But he's also been recently involved in something far larger than his career. Buress was in large part the instigator of the ongoing Bill Cosby scandal, when he made jokes about the comedian at a show in Philadelphia and a video of his set went viral in October 2014. But now, five months later, in an interview on an episode of Jimmy Kimmel Live! filmed at South by Southwest, Hannibal Buress talked about the Bill Cosby scandal and admitted that he still gets death threats from Cosby supporters on Twitter.
In a casual conversation with Kimmel, Buress said getting harassed on Twitter is a "weird experience" in his signature Hannibal voice. "The weirdest thing about getting a death threat from a male bodybuilder-slash-stripper on Facebook is when you click on his profile and see that you have one mutual friend."
Obviously, the conversation about whether or not Cosby is guilty has been incredibly hostile and controversial, and since Buress had a major role in bringing to light the numerous sexual assault accusations against Cosby, it's not surprising that he would receive hate from Cosby's fans. But it is surprising that it's still happening, since the video first went viral in October 2014. That's five months ago! The entire winter came and went!
Buress was pretty good-natured about it in the interview with Kimmel and continued explaining about the online threats, saying,
Having to hit your friend up and saying, "Hey man, can you tell your buddy to stop saying that he's gonna murder me?" I didn't really think he was gonna kill me, I just rather not take that information into my head if I have to.
Yeah, he seems cool, calm, and collected about his involvement in the scandal, but obviously it must get distressing to still be receiving scary and threatening tweets. Hannibal hasn't talked much about the Philly set, although in November he did tell radio personality Howard Stern:
This was unexpected. I didn't want to do that. If I were going to do that, I would have done it on my own. It wasn't my intention to make this part of a big discussion. It was just something I was doing at that venue right then.
It must be a strange as hell experience for Hannibal to know the release of his standup set gave what is now more than 30 women, including celebrities like supermodel Beverly Johnson, the courage to come forward about their experiences with Cosby and sexual assault.
It's telling, though, that Buress is still getting contentious messages and threats so long after the fact, when the Cosby situation has snowballed into a national conversation. These critiques — though, obviously, the violent threats are unjustified — show that a light continues to shine on this important issue. It's unclear if Buress will open up more now going forward about his experience with the Cosby scandal, but we know people are still mad.
Buress did get a huge round of applause from the audience at SXSW, though, so hopefully that reminds him that he has thankful supporters, too.
As for Cosby's side of things, his lawyer released his official view of the situation in a November 2014 statement,
Over the last several weeks, decade-old, discredited allegations against Mr. Cosby have resurfaced. The fact that they are being repeated does not make them true. Mr. Cosby does not intend to dignify these allegations with any comment. He would like to thank all his fans for the outpouring of support and assure them that, at age 77, he is doing his best work. There will be no further statement from Mr. Cosby or any of his representatives.