Liberal Arts Blog — Bill Cosby — Fallen Icon of Family Humor
Liberal Arts Blog — Sunday is the Joy of Humor, Food, Travel, Practical Life Tips, and Miscellaneous Day
Today’s Topic: Bill Cosby (1937 — ) Fallen Icon of Family Humor
Once upon a time, everyone loved Bill Cosby. He was the archetypal good man, devoted husband, and loving father. No more. He is now in state prison for aggravated sexual assault serving a three to ten year term. Today, a few notes on his humor and his pivotal role in the history of comedy in the United States. If you have never seen his “Noah” routine, click on the last link below. Experts — please chime in. Correct, elaborate, elucidate.
THE BILL COSBY SHOW (1969–1972) AND “THE COSBY SHOW” (1983–1992)
1. “The Bill Cosby Show” was the “first time an African American starred in their own eponymous comedy show.” Cosby had previously been a co-star in the secret-agent adventure TV series: “I Spy.” (1965–1968).
2. In “The Bill Cosby Show,” Cosby “played the role of Chet Kincaid, a physical education teacher at a Los Angeles high school, a bachelor, and an average cool guy trying to earn a living and help people out along the way. The show ran for two seasons, 52 episodes in all. While only a modest critical success, the series was nominated for two Primetime Emmys.”
3. “The Cosby Show” was rated the #1 show in America from 1985 to 1989. “Cosby, an advocate for family-oriented humor, co-produced the series, held creative control, and involved himself in every aspect of production. Plots were often based on ideas that Cosby suggested while in meetings with the writing staff. The show had parallels to Cosby’s actual family life: like the characters Cliff and Clair Huxtable, Cosby and his wife Camille were college-educated and financially successful, and they had five children. On the show, Cosby played the role of an obstetrician. Much of the material from the pilot and first season of The Cosby Show was taken from his video “Bill Cosby Himself.”
NB: Jerry Seinfeld on Cosby’s role in the history of the TV sitcom: “He opened a door for all of us, for all of the networks to even consider that this was a way to create a character, was to take someone who can hold an audience just by being up there and telling their story. He created that. He created the whole idea of taking a quote- unquote ‘comic’ and developing a TV show just from a persona that you see on stage.”
HIS FATHER, LABOR PAINS, COCAINE — from “Bill Cosby Himself” (1983)
1. “My father established our relationship when I was seven years old. He looked at me and said, “You know, I brought you in this world, and I can take you out. And it don’t make no difference to me, I’ll make another one look just like you.”
2. “Carol Burnett put it best when she described labor pains. She said, “Take your bottom lip, and pull it over your head.”
3. “I said to a guy, I said, “Tell me, what is it about cocaine that makes it so wonderful?”, and he said, “Well, it intensifies your personality.” I said, “Yes, but what if you’re an asshole?”
DENTISTS, CHILDREN, CHILDBIRTH, FATHERS
1. “Dentists tell you not to pick your teeth with any sharp metal object. Then you sit in their chair, and the first thing they grab is an iron hook.”
2. “A person with no children says, “Well I just love children,” and you say “Why?” and they say, “Because a child is so truthful, that’s what I love about ’em — they tell the truth.” That’s a lie, I’ve got five of ’em. The only time they tell the truth is if they’re having pain.”
3. “My wife stood up in the stirrups, grabbed my bottom lip and said “I want morphine!” I said “But, dear — “ [vigorously breathing]. She said “You shut up! YOU did this to me!” And on the next contraction she told everybody in the delivery room that my parents were never married.”
NB: “Fathers are the geniuses of the house because only a person as intelligent as we could fake such stupidity.”
1. Cosby earned a PhD in Education from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst in 1976. “His dissertation discussed the use of Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids as a teaching tool in elementary schools.”
2. “The only thing that you can get into without a lot of trouble is a lot of trouble.”
3. “The weatherman is always right, It’s his timing that’s off.”
NB: “If at first you don’t succeed, you’re about average.”
The “Noah” routine:
For the last three years of posts organized by theme:
So what is the best cartoon you have seen lately? or in the last 10 years? or the last 50? or your favorite joke? Or what is your famous holiday food? Main course? Dessert? Fondest food memories? Favorite foods to eat or prepare? Anything miscellaneous to share from anywhere? Best trip you ever took in your life? Practical life tips? Random facts? Jokes?
This is your chance to make someone else’s day. Or to cement in your mind a memory that might otherwise disappear. Or to think more deeply about something dear to your heart. Continuity is key to depth of thought.