The 50 Funniest People In Brooklyn

Photo courtesy Hannibal Buress
Photo courtesy Hannibal Buress

Hannibal Buress @hannibalburess:

Over the past couple of years, Hannibal Buress’ resume has beefed up to the point that it should inspire crippling in jealousy in just about anyone with even the faintest connection to the comedy world. He’s written for SNL and 30 Rock, appeared on essentially every single late night show, co-hosts Adult Swim’s The Eric Andrew Show, and will soon headlining his own tour for comedy central (as well as appearing as a regular cast member on the upcoming Broad City). And yet, he still finds time to host a night of comedy at the Knitting Factory every Sunday night.

What neighborhood do you live in? How’d you wind up there? How do you like it?

I live in Williamsburg.  I just got through a break up and I was looking for places.  My friends were touring for a couple weeks so they let me use their place while they were on the road.  There were some empty units in the same building so I just moved downstairs. I love the neighborhood.  There’s lots of great food and music venues.   I enjoy living here. I’ll probably move soon though.

What’s your favorite Brooklyn comedy venue (for performing or seeing other comedians, if the answer is different)?

I’ve been hosting a show at the Knitting Factory on Sundays for about 4 years now and I love it. It’s grown a lot during that time and it keeps me sharp.  I try new material there all the time and the crowds are excellent.  I also enjoy Union Hall, Cameo on Wednesdays, and Matchless on Mondays.

Do you have any set pre- or post- show routines, to brace yourself or unwind, as the case may be?

30 jumping jacks. 5 dick kegels.

Do you remember the first show you performed in Brooklyn?

I don’t.  But it was probably awesome.

How’d you end up working with the Knitting Factory? Do you find that those shows tend to draw a certain type of comedian or crowd?

I did opening night at Knitting Factory in September 2009. I was on a bill with Les Savy Fav.  After that, they asked me if I wanted to do a weekly comedy show. I was writing at SNL at the time so my only off night was Sunday so we did it then.  

How do you resist the pull to just cave in and move to LA? Or do you not feel any pull at all to move to LA?

I spend around 2-3 months of the year in LA filming and working on other things so I enjoy going there for work.   I think about moving because it would be a shift in lifestyle and I’d get healthier but I love NYC.  Maybe I’ll split time at some point.   I also consider moving home to Chicago.

Favorite Brooklyn bar?

The Flat is my favorite spot. They have an awesome Sunday night party.

Best survival tip for dealing with an audience that doesn’t laugh and/or when a joke doesn’t go over so well?

It’s fun to address when a bit doesn’t go over well.  The audience knows it didn’t go well so acknowledging it in the moment breaks the tension. That can work a couple times in a set, but if you’re doing it too much, then you need to adjust your material.  

What’s your writing-process equivalent of jotting down joke ideas on a napkin (if you don’t actually jot them down on napkins)?

I work in a few different ways.  Sometimes I put a note in my phone to remember for later.  Sometimes, I’ll just take an idea on stage and let the audience’s energy and laughter guide me. I’ll try to remember the funniest parts and then repeat the process until the bit gets better.

Favorite funny movie?




  1. You forgot Sara Schaefer. She is the fucking greatest. I hope this mistake haunts you for the rest of your yuppie existence.

  2. This list is way too dude-heavy! Are there really so few women in Brooklyn who count as funny enough? The article should be called “The 42 Funniest Men in Brooklyn.” And no, I don’t have a sense of humor about this.

  3. Oh, please. Catie Lazarus is sort of funny, but she’s mostly exhausting with neurotic energy, endlessly complaining about being poor – while wearing designer clothing, traveling around the country, and living on a trust fund, and acting like she’s somehow entitled to earn a living from comedy.

    • So happy Catie Lazarus is on the list! She’s hilarious comedian and writer. Nedster, however, sounds like a bitter, uninformed douche.


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