Hannibal Buress' career takes off amid Cosby controversy

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Story highlights

  • The comic's jokes about Cosby set off the recent controversy
  • Buress has a Comedy Central show premiering Wednesday

(CNN)Comedian Hannibal Buress may want to distance himself from his role in the Bill Cosby controversy, but he can't control the timing.

His new TV show "Why? With Hannibal Buress" premieres on Comedy Central on Wednesday, even as Cosby is back in the news, this time for admitting to getting prescription Quaaludes to give to women he wanted to have sex with.
The revelations came in documents from a 2005 civil lawsuit filed by Andrea Constand -- one of the dozens of women who have publicly accused the comedian of sexual assault -- that were made public after The Associated Press went to court to compel their release.
    Buress has been credited as the one who helped bring the accusations to light. In October, a video of a standup routine in which he called Cosby a "rapist" went viral, and soon after, women started coming forward with claims that they were drugged and assaulted by the TV legend.
    Cosby has never been criminally charged and has vehemently denied any wrongdoing.
    (The following video contains language that some may find offensive.)
    After the incident, Buress appeared to try to distance himself from the flame that many thought would consume Cosby's legacy as beloved TV dad, philanthropist and educational advocate. In February, the New York Times reported that during a standup appearance in Brooklyn, Buress joked, "They acted like I was a detective on the case. Like I found a Coogi sweater with roofie dust on it or something."
    In March, Buress told late-night TV host Jimmy Kimmel that he'd received a "death threat from a male bodybuilder-slash-stripper on Facebook" amid the controversy.
    It's not as if Buress (who declined to comment for this story) didn't have a career before "the Cosby incident." In addition to his standup fans, he developed a following with roles on the Comedy Central hit "Broad City" and Cartoon Network's "The Eric Andre Show."
    The former "30 Rock" writer told Time that helming his own show is a different vibe.
    "It has sharpened my eye as far as reading material and knowing right away how I would want to work it into the show," he said. "It's really fun, but it's a lot. Time flies when I'm there because I'm either looking at scripts or acting or looking at who we want to cast or checking out something with music or editing."
    He has said "Why? With Hannibal Buress" will be a mixture of sketch comedy and man-on-the-street interviews.
    Buress is also set to appear with Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg in the film "Daddy's Home," which will be released this year, and is voicing characters in the upcoming animated films "Angry Birds" and "The Secret Life Of Pets."
    He recently told the A.V. Club that "success is weird" and that although the media have grabbed hold of the Cosby connection, he just does the work and tries to adjust to his newfound fame.
    "I won't say this is a pure race study, but in this 30- or 40-minute time period where I'm going back and forth to Macy's, two white people recognized me on the street, and they were like, 'Hi, Hannibal Buress, what's up, man?' " Buress said. "And then there was a black dude and a black woman, and separately they both walked up to me and were like, 'Yo, you just walking around and s**t?' "