Uber angry: Hannibal Buress learns Toronto taxi driver's 'trigger word'
Comedian Hannibal Buress impersonates a Toronto taxi driver after he mentioned Uber.
Graham Slaughter, CTVNews.ca
Published Thursday, February 18, 2016 9:27PM EST
The contentious rift between Toronto taxi drivers and Uber has now got the attention of an American late-night talk show.
Buress was in Toronto last weekend for the NBA All-Star Game, and he said things began to go south when the van cab driver insisted upon a $20 flat fee.
“And I’m like, ‘No, put the meter on,’” Buress told Meyers.
After some back and forth on the pricing of van cabs, Buress said the driver conceded: “He said, ‘You know what? I’ve had a good week. I’ve had a good day. I’m not going to let you ruin it. I’m just going to take you for free.’”
That’s when, Buress says, he struck a nerve: “I said, ‘I don’t want your free ride.’ I said, ‘That’s why Uber is crushing you guys.’”
“He says, ‘RAAAH!’” Buress shouted, raising his fists in the air. “’Get out of my taxi right now!’ He just snapped because I mentioned Uber.”
Indeed, the ride-hailing app has become a hot-button issue in Toronto, where cab drivers have blocked off downtown streets in protest of Uber and its low-rate service, UberX.
A recent Angus Reid poll of 1,503 Canadians found that more than 70 per cent of respondents approve of Uber in their communities, with only one in six supporting a ban.
Taxi drivers across the country have rallied against Uber, saying it leeches business and circumvents municipal regulation.
Buress went on to say he didn’t accept the free ride because the driver “was doing it in a condescending way” and instead stayed in the cab to avoid the frigid temperatures.
“But the Uber thing really set him off. He tried to kick us out to the cold and I said, ‘You’re not kicking me out, it’s -3 degrees, I’m just using your place (for) heating. I’m using your heat until this Uber comes,’” he joked as the audience laughed.
Host Seth Meyers chimed in, saying Buress found a sore spot by dropping “Uber.”
“That’s a trigger word for taxi drivers,” Meyers said.
With files from The Canadian Press