After writing for “Saturday Night Live” and “30 Rock,” Hannibal Buress realized that he would rather create material for his own stand-up act.
“I got to meet a lot of people and learn from them" on the TV shows, Buress said.
“But, ultimately, I’m not built to be a staff writer. I’m better-suited to writing ideas for myself.”
The Chicago native, who produced his first comedy album in 2010, focuses on politics, sexuality, race relations and pop culture through a laid-back blend of observational comedy, surreal humor, satire and self-deprecation.
Duress, 33, spoke in advance of his performance Friday at the Riffe Center.
Q: What makes stand-up great for you?
A: Just coming up with new stuff and talking about what’s happening. The excitement of going to places I haven’t been and doing a show. It’s fun to have people be excited.
Q: What subjects do you cover in your tour?
A: Male-enhancement drugs, video games, the internet, Airbnb, Uber drivers, taxi drivers being jealous of Uber drivers, and shoes.
Q: You’ve developed a cult following as co-host of “The Eric Andre Show,” in its fourth season on Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim.
A: I’m just there to get laughs, balance the energy out and do some weird stuff. It’s fun to have no responsibility but just to be there and react in the moment. The show is so heavily edited that there are no real limits on what I can do. So I try stuff and see what they like.
Q: You play Lincoln Rice, a pediatric dentist, on Comedy Central’s “Broad City."
A: It’s fun to play a character saying stuff I’d never say in my life, but it’s loosely based around small aspects of me. I met with the writers before season one, they asked me some questions, and they put in little nuggets of improvised stuff that’s true to me.
Q: What was it like writing for “Saturday Night Live” in 2009-10?
A: I enjoyed seeing a show like that come together every week. The pitch meeting was always fun. We’d cram into (Lorne) Michaels’ office. Even though my sketches would never get on, occasionally I’d kill in that meeting.
Q: You left after a year. Why?
A: It was tough to write and not get anything on.
Q: What was “30 Rock” like on the fifth season’s writing team?
A: It was way more collaborative . . . basically just being in the room and trying to make each other laugh. If the room cracked up, then that made it into the script.
Q: What did you learn from that?
A: I learned the first joke you come up with is not always the best one. I learned not to be married to my material — to be able to say ‘This sucks,’ and be willing to think of something different.
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