Hannibal Buress performs at 'An Evening with the Bulls'

Hannibal Buress, meet the Bulls. Bulls, meet Hannibal Buress.

The 31-year-old comedian and life long Bulls fan said he had never crossed paths with any Bulls players before performing Wednesday at the annual “An Evening with the Bulls” fundraiser at the United Center. Not before a Bulls game, not at a club and not through mutual friends.(Buress has, however, met the Oklahoma City Thunder’s Kevin Durant. They co-starred in a commercial for Nike and Foot Locker last year.)

“I’ve never met any of the guys on the (Bulls),” Buress said on the red carpet. “You thought I was going to say I’m friends with Joakim Noah. … But I’m a big Chicago sports fan. It’ll be different to see them walking around and seeing how tall they are. It’ll be weird seeing them in the crowd. I’ve never performed in front of the whole team. But I’m excited.”

Buress performed part of his upcoming “Live From Chicago” stand-up special — which airs March 29 on Comedy Central — for the 800-plus guests at the sit-down dinner. And while he didn’t get anywhere close to the boisterous reaction he’s used to (“This is going horribly,” Buress said midway through his set), the crowd warmed up by the end to what really was a funny set.

“Saturday Night Live” alum Tim Meadows emceed the $400-per-ticket fundraiser, which benefited Chicago Bulls Charities. Run-D.M.C.’s Rev. Run was scheduled to perform but canceled because of what a Bulls spokeswoman called a personal matter.

But, of course, it’s the Bulls players who are the biggest draw. Noah, Derrick Rose and their teammates were seated among the guests.

The Bears’ Charles Tillman, retired Cub Ernie Banks and “Chicago PD” actors Marina Squerciati, LeRoyce Hawkins and Archie Kao also attended the gala. Unfortunately, pop icon Lady Gaga, who was there last year with boyfriend and “Chicago Fire” star Taylor Kinney, didn’t make it this time.
“I took a picture with (Gaga) last year,” the Bulls’ Jimmy Butler said. “Me and Nate (Robinson). I didn’t say too much. I guess you can say I was a little star-struck. I’m not used to seeing people like that.”

lgomez@tribune.com | Twitter @TribLuis

For more celebrity news and sightings, go to chicagotribune.com/luis

Copyright © 2015, RedEye
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