How the Internet and a New Generation of Superfans Helped Create the Second Comedy Boom

April 3, 2015 6:25 PM

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“What's up, people of the sex shop?” asks Hannibal Buress into an overdriven microphone at 9:30 p.m. on a recent Tuesday in L.A. He’s standing in front of a wall of crotchless panties, and next to a black curtain that divides the part of the West Hollywood sex-toy shop where a customer is examining Fleshlights from the part where the bi-weekly comedy show Performance Anxiety is taking place. Buress is in town for the roast of Justin Bieber, and he’s at the Pleasure Chest to rehearse his set for a small but enthusiastic audience that's doing its best to ignore the commercial for stainless-steel G-spotters playing on a TV to Buress’s right.

The sex-toy shop was the second place in two hours where I saw Buress, whose upcoming Comedy Central show had just been announced that morning. Earlier, he made a surprise appearance at Put Your Hands Together, a weekly stand-up show at the UCB Theatre on Franklin Avenue, to do the same roast jokes ...

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