Justice

Amy Schumer and Hannibal Buress Nail the Problem With Internet Trolls

July 9th 2015

By:
Laura Donovan

Lovable "Broad City" star Hannibal Buress's new series "Why? With Hannibal Buress" premiered Wednesday and highlighted many current societal issues including police brutality against the Black community and Internet harassment. In Buress's trolling segment, fellow Comedy Central host Amy Schumer portrays a vicious troll.

At the beginning of the segment, Buress tells audience members that he's been menaced nonstop by an online user named [email protected], who says Buress is "a less funny Tavis Smiley," and should kill himself.

Buress mentions that he found the user's IP address and films himself going over to the individual's house, which has a beat-up car outside. When Buress enters the home, he is stunned to realize the troll is explosively popular Schumer.

Amy Schumer on Hannibal Buress

Buress, who considers Schumer a friend, can't believe that she would betray him like that. After she apologizes, Buress explains the logic behind trolling: it's never really about the person getting attacked, but the troll behind the hate.

"What it sounds like [is] you're not really angry at me, you're mad at yourself and you have some demons," Buress says. "Not big demons, but maybe some small demons. You just have some stuff going on inside of you that you're dealing with, it's not really personal [or] about me."

This comes a few months after Buress was heckled at one of his comedy shows, prompting him to say to the heckler, "Why can’t you hold your liquor? Actually, I want to give you an excuse to be drunk, and not just a shitty, obnoxious human being. I’ve done shit when I was drunk. Not interrupt a show that 1,100 other people are watching. When I’m drunk I like to ruin one or two people’s nights ... You sir are a social terrorist."

Buress pointed out that the guy clearly wanted attention, which Buress himself has earned after more than a decade of hard work.

“You have a bigger need for attention that I do,” Buress said. “At least I worked at it and got on television ... If you want attention, you have to do what I did and work really hard for 13 years.”

Buress and Schumer's onscreen segment may be light-hearted, but it speaks to a larger issue of cyberbullying. Catfish: The TV Show host Nev Schulman has written extensively for ATTN: about this issue before, having been the target of anti-Semitic attacks online, among other things.

"It's time to look at the big picture. The internet has become so developed and omnipresent in the daily lives of people across the globe of every race and religion that we are all part of a global community now, a digital culture that if used carelessly can cause terrible anxiety and hatred ... The reality is, when we're on the internet, everything we choose to watch or share is a vote for that thing. If we think because we're one of millions, we can watch a video of a hostage reading terrorist demands, or even a video of a nasty prank on a teen and it’s not a big deal, we're wrong. Passive internet consumption is equal to standing in a circle around someone getting beat up and watching without doing anything."

After a Twitter user disparaged his Jewish background several months ago, Schulman explained why hateful tweets can leave victims feeling unsettled for a long time, "I write this now with tears in my eyes. Maybe you don't want to hear this or think I'm overreacting, but in my grandparents lifetime, millions of people, Jewish and otherwise, were exterminated because of their religion, race, political beliefs, sexuality or physical disabilities ... Many Muslims around the world, including here in America, live in fear of persecution everyday as well."

Jimmy Kimmel famously started the "Celebrities Read Mean Tweets" series on his program to show that famous people are regularly mocked on social media by users who seem to forget they're making fun of human beings with feelings: