Hannibal Buress Calls Bill Cosby a Rapist During Stand-Up, Rehashes Comic’s Sexual Assault History

Bill Cosby and Hannibal Buress
Bill Cosby and Hannibal Buress  Hannibal Buress and Bill Cosby Credit: Cindy Ord/Getty Images; Inset: Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images

Comedian Hannibal Buress performed a stand-up routine in Philadelphia last Thursday, Oct. 16, during which he referred to beloved comic Bill Cosby as a "rapist."

In his performance first posted online by Philadelphia Magazine, Buress claimed that Cosby — best known for his role as Dr. Heathcliff Huxtable and three decades of classic stand-up — was a hypocrite for doling out family-oriented advice when numerous allegations of rape have been made against The Cosby Show star since the 1970s.

"Thirteen?" Buress said about the number of women who have come forward alleging sexual abuse by the star. "And it’s even worse because Bill Cosby has the f—ing smuggest old black man public persona that I hate. Pull your pants up, black people. I was on TV in the '80s. I can talk down to you because I had a successful sitcom."

Buress, 31, then railed against the star directly. "Yeah, but you raped women, Bill Cosby," he claimed. "So, brings you down a couple notches. I don’t curse on stage. Well, yeah, you’re a rapist, so, I’ll take you sayin’ lots of motherf—ers on Bill Cosby: Himself if you weren’t a rapist. …I want to just at least make it weird for you to watch Cosby Show reruns. …I’ve done this bit on stage, and people don’t believe. People think I’m making it up. …That s— is upsetting. If you didn’t know about it, trust me."

His shocking routine included a plea to the crowd to Google the words "Bill Cosby" and "rape," saying it would come up with "more results than Hannibal Buress."

Buress' rant contradicts his praises for the comic in the May 2013 issue of GQ. "It's stuff that holds up. All of it is evergreen," Buress said of Cosby's humor. "There've been times when I've had to work clean where I take the "f—s" out of a joke and see if the joke still holds up. That's a good exercise to make sure people are laughing at the actual content and not at the profanity. It definitely is tough to work clean. If I had to do an hour clean now, I don't know how I'd pull it off."

The comic appeared on Howard Stern's SiriusXM radio program on Tuesday, Oct. 21, addressing his words from last week. "I never found Bill Cosby funny," said Stern. "I agree with you, his attitude is so condescending to younger comics." 

Buress responded: "It's a weird thing, somebody filmed my show in Philly. I've been doing that bit off and on for six months… It's just a lot of stuff. I just read some stuff and researched. Anybody can get that information."

As for whether he regrets his words? "I said it, I've got to stand on it," said Buress. "It is an interesting situation."

Buress also alluded to his now-viral comments via Twitter.

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