'Why? With Hannibal Buress' Is Just Mildly Funny: Why?

Ken Tucker
·Critic-at-Large, Yahoo Entertainment

The premiere episode of Why? With Hannibal Buress on Wednesday night was an amiable half-hour. He began the show with a little stand-up comedy, low-fi topical humor about Donald Trump, the economic crisis in Greece, and complaints about low scores in soccer games. 

Most of the rest of Why? consisted of taped bits heavy on celebrity cameos: Conan O’Brien, James Corden, and Amy Schumer, the latter posing as an Internet troll who’d been attacking Buress online. The Schumer segment had a few laughs; the others were pretty flat. 

Buress is known for his genial presence on Broad City and The Eric Andre Show, and as the stand-up comic whose 2014 on-stage ruminations about Bill Cosby arguably catalyzed the current widespread condemnation of Cosby. On Why?, he made a quick reference to his most famous topic: In a chunk of material about how much he dislikes hotels that employ men for their housekeeping duties, he suggested that one reason for his antipathy was that one of those fellows might prove to be “a Bill Cosby assassin” — i.e., hired by Cosby to kill him. 

Coming on the heels of a wildly funny new episode of Key & Peele — I reviewed that show here — the Buress show seemed very low-key. Which may prove a good thing in the coming weeks; Buress is a talented man, and his style is a welcome contrast in a comedy world that’s become routinely loud or abrasive. I’ll certainly want to keep watching him.

Why? With Hannibal Buress airs Wednesdays at 10:30 p.m. on Comedy Central.