Photo: BEImages/Carolyn Contino.
Technology and its potential hazards were the topic du jour at the New York City premiere of Sex Tape, starring Cameron Diaz and Jason Segel. As everyone hustled out of the rain and into The Brickwood, the charming Hannibal Buress was kind enough to stop for a quick chat. And, the comedian had some choice words about how Twitter has changed the nature of the stand-up game.
Buress has over 258K followers on Twitter, a significant number for a touring comedian, former SNL writer, and Broad City costar. They're not Katy Perry numbers, but Buress has never shot fireworks out of his breasts. Yet. Still, the avid tweeter does enjoy a certain "friendly" back-and-forth with fans.
A god damn COOKIE SUIT, bitch. @DaNashvilleKat: what are you wearing in your avi? Lol”— Hannibal Buress (@hannibalburess) July 6, 2014
"I try not to check it as much," Buress admitted. "I look at stuff more than I should, but it's also interesting to hear different people's opinions. Everybody's got something to say. So, it's just different than in the '90s, [when] you played to your fans. Now anybody can say anything to you."
@NotPatDCrowley don't worry sir. We'll still be wildly successful while you're at home— Hannibal Buress (@hannibalburess) July 13, 2014
Although he's breaking the cardinal rule of anyone who wants to be online without suffering from rage blackouts — never read the comments! — Buress pointed out that it's way more satisfying to deal with hecklers in person. If he gets harassed during a stand-up routine, he can respond in real time, which is much more satisfying. "You can confront them in the moment in front of the audience," he said, adding, "They have to take responsibility for what they said in that moment. Where, somebody online, they can just say whatever, and you can say something back to them, but they really don't have to feel the energy."
Plenty of people hide behind pseudonyms online, an anonymity that makes them feel like they can say anything with little repercussion. Saying something to a performer during a live act, of course, is a totally different story. "One of my favorite things in comedy is crushing a heckler in front of people, and then they feel ashamed," Buress said. "But, online it's not the same. You have to answer to heckling right away. I might not even see something somebody says to me online, but heckling I hear."