Hannibal Buress Gives You Permission to ‘Go Wild’ in Canada

The comedian explains how unemployment prepared him for his freeloader role in "Daddy's Home," and he answers your questions about dentists and, well, canines.

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Rico Gagliano: Each week you send in your questions about how to behave, and here to answer this time around is Hannibal Buress. His latest stand-up comedy special premieres soon on Netflix. He’s also written for loads of TV shows, including his own called, “Why? With Hannibal Burress.” And he plays the lovable dentist on the hit series “Broad City.”

Brendan Francis Newnam: On Christmas Day, you can see him in the new movie “Daddy’s Home.” In it, Will Ferrell plays a kind, smooth-jazz radio exec who wants to be the ultimate dad to his wife’s children. But then the kids’ wild and hunky real dad, played by Mark Wahlberg, arrives. Buress plays Griff, a handyman who becomes a freeloader in Ferrell’s home.

And Hannibal, welcome to our audio home.

Hannibal Buress: Hey, what’s up, man?

Rico Gagliano: Thanks for coming.

Brendan Francis Newnam: I watched this first thing in the morning the other day at a Viacom theater, and I was crying. It was so funny.

Hannibal Buress: Thanks, man. Yeah, I saw it and I enjoyed it, also.

Rico Gagliano: In this movie, you mostly lounge around and eat cereal, and watch TV…

Actual still of Hannibal lounging around as Griff in "Daddy's Home." (Photo Credit: Patti Peret)
An actual still of Hannibal lounging around as Griff in “Daddy’s Home.” (Photo Credit: Patti Peret)

Hannibal Buress: Yeah, some eating cereal and chilling, yeah.

Rico Gagliano: What kind of research did you do to prepare for this role?

Brendan Francis Newnam: Yeah, is this method?

Hannibal Buress: This is the role I’ve been preparing for all my life.

Rico Gagliano: At last!

Hannibal Buress: It’s the role that, you know, my mom didn’t realize when I was unemployed, just sitting around, and only doing open mics at night, that’s what I was preparing for. The role of Griff. I didn’t even know it at the time.

Brendan Francis Newnam: It’s a dream role.

Rico Gagliano: Let’s talk about your stand-up comedy, actually. It has a different feel and a different pace than a lot of other comedians. It’s a little slower-paced. Your stories unravel a little bit at a time. I wonder, is that a reaction against a type of comedy that you didn’t respond to?

Hannibal Buress: No, I think it’s just how I talk. I mean, you’ve heard comedians say it before, but my stage persona is an exaggerated version of how I think, and just tell a story and lay things out.

Rico Gagliano: But not every comedian’s stage persona is just an extension of themselves. Steve Martin, offstage, is not a wild and crazy guy. Did you ever try on a different stage persona?

Hannibal Buress: No. A lot of my stuff now is just true stories of what I think, just because it’s too much work to make up other stuff. A lot of times people find out crazy stories from my stand-up are real.

When I talked about getting a parade in New Orleans… there’s a Vine video of me having a parade. So, all the comments on it are, “Whoa, he actually did it!” Who would make up this elaborate story? No. That takes too much work.


Brendan Francis Newnam: But you know what? So, that’s one of our questions. You play this character that doesn’t seem like a major stretch for you.

Hannibal Buress: Yeah.

Brendan Francis Newnam: But there is this scene in the movie, it’s kind of a meta-joke — I don’t know if you remember this — where Will’s character wants your character to provide him with this clichéd movie moment. And you say something like, “I’m not going to do that because it’s fake!”

And we get the feeling, watching a lot of your stuff, that that’s actually the case.

Hannibal Buress: Right.

Brendan Francis Newnam: It seems like you wouldn’t really do anything fake. So, how do you do that in Hollywood, right?

Hannibal Buress: What do you mean?

Rico Gagliano: How do you maintain integrity, basically?

Hannibal Buress: I don’t know. I mean, I just do stuff. I enjoy it and think it’s funny. I mean, I don’t go out…

Rico Gagliano: Have you turned down roles?

Hannibal Buress: Yeah, I’ve turned down roles. Sometimes it’s good stuff. There was one I got recently; it seemed like a good script, good people in it: “This character has a European accent. Put yourself on tape for it.”

I was like, “You know what? Nope!” Because I don’t think I’m going to get that. And I don’t want there to be an audition tape floating around of me doing a shitty European accent [laughs].

Brendan Francis Newnam: Yeah, all right.

Hannibal Buress: I don’t even want to create that piece of media!

Brendan Francis Newnam: You have a Hannibal filter that maybe protects your integrity there. So, you’re here to answer our listeners’ etiquette questions. You ready for these?

Hannibal Buress: Yeah.

Dentists! Yes or no questions only, please!

Brendan Francis Newnam: This first question comes from Lauren in Philadelphia. I think she might be thinking about your “Broad City” character. She writes: “What is the best way to respond to the dentist when they are trying to have a conversation with you while putting the spit suction thing in your mouth?”

Hannibal Buress: It’s a couple ways. One: you can say, “Stop doing that! It’s tough to talk!” Two: you could say, “Hey, if you’re going to talk to me, I need you to ask yes or no questions so I can thumbs up or thumbs down.”

Another one is: you could have your phone there, possibly. The position, it might be weird, but you could text your answer or write in the notes section, and show them that. This is all the practical ways about it.

Rico Gagliano: You can’t do that one if you’re under the gas, though.

Hannibal Buress: No. Not the gas.

Rico Gagliano: You’d just be randomly typing words.

Hannibal Buress: People always ask dentist stuff. Or people will write me online, “I wish Hannibal was my dentist.” It’s like, “All right, interesting.”

Brendan Francis Newnam: Whoa!

Rico Gagliano: I don’t think so.

Brendan Francis Newnam: All right, but those are three practical answers for Lauren. So, Lauren, you have three options. I suggest the last one where you use the notes section of your phone. Very thoughtful.

Who gets the last chicken wing?

Rico Gagliano: Here’s something from Zach in Atlanta. Zach writes: “Here’s the scenario. You’re with a group of acquaintances/friends. You’re sharing a plate of nachos, wings, or dumplings. How long do you wait before eating the last one?

Hannibal Buress: There’s a few factors. If it’s somebody’s birthday or somebody’s bachelor party, etc., then that person gets to have it.

Brendan Francis Newnam: Yeah. They get dibs.

Hannibal Buress: If all things are equal, if everybody’s splitting the bill, then fair game. Somebody’s got to go for it and just be an alpha. Just don’t worry about it.

Rico Gagliano: Although I think there is a way to be beta and alpha, right? You say, “Hey, that last piece has been sitting there for a long time. Does anybody mind if I take that?” And if anyone says, “Yes, I do mind,” then they’re being the jerk.

Hannibal Buress: Yeah. You just got to take initiative. Also, has everybody been eating equally? But if it’s all equal, just go for it and order another one.

Brendan Francis Newnam: Exactly, because Zach is talking about nachos, wings, dumplings. These aren’t expensive items. Even if you’re on a college budget, you can probably scrape together the $3.95 to get another half dozen.

Hannibal Buress: Just go for it.

Permission to “go wild” in Canada

Brendan Francis Newnam: This next question comes from gblcanuck on Instagram.

Rico Gagliano: Yes. From her handle and the fact that she spells “neighbour” with a “u,” we glean that this person is from Canada.

Hannibal Buress: OK.

Brendan Francis Newnam: But anyway, here’s the question: “We live in a rural area. Most of the neighbours control their dogs, but a new neighbour has moved in with three dogs, which are being allowed to roam freely, barking at neighbours and leaving smelly gifts on our lawns. We’re a laid-back community, so calling Animal Control seems a bit extreme. What should we do?”

Hannibal Buress: You don’t want to call Animal Control. You’re Canadian, so you’re not confrontational. You’re not going to walk…

Rico Gagliano: That’s the hard part.

Hannibal Buress: …You’re definitely not going to walk over to your neighbor’s place, look in their eyes, and say, “Hey! Tell your dogs to stop doing that.”

Rico Gagliano: No, that would be insane.

Hannibal Buress: That would be crazy.

Brendan Francis Newnam: That would be crazy.

Hannibal Buress: So, your only option is you roam on their property, and you just act like how the dogs act, and you know…

Brendan Francis Newnam: …You go wild.

Hannibal Buress: You go wild. You bark at them, and then…

Brendan Francis Newnam: …Leave them gifts.

Hannibal Buress: And you leave them gifts.

Rico Gagliano: That doesn’t seem that Canadian to me either, though, Hannibal.

Hannibal Buress: I don’t know.

Rico Gagliano: Maybe the best bet is just to leave Canada.

Brendan Francis Newnam: Yeah, maybe they can move.

Hannibal Buress: Just leave Canada?

Brendan Francis Newnam: They could leave Canada.

Hannibal Buress: I don’t know. If you live in a rural area, it’s cheap to move. Just pick up the house, and just plant it somewhere else.

Rico Gagliano: It’s simple.

Hannibal Buress: There’s so much space! Or, maybe you buy a more dominant dog?

Brendan Francis Newnam: Oh, right, you could rule Canada. With the right alpha dog, you could take over that entire country.

Hannibal Buress: Yeah, have your dog mark its territory a little bit.

Rico Gagliano: There you go, Canuck. Etiquette advice and a lesson in world domination.

Hannibal Buress, thank you so much for telling our audience how to behave.

Hannibal Buress: No problem. Thank you. And I don’t follow those lessons in my real life. It’s all a mess.