Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Bill Cosby: mentor?

This post is along the lines of Sunday's.

I’ve always been a big fan of Bill Cosby. Loved his comedy albums as a kid, took my wife to Las Vegas to see his stand-up act (more like a sit-down act. He just sat in a chair, smoked a cigar, and held a giant audience in the palm of his hand), and admired THE COSBY SHOW (at least when it started). He was a true original and his comedy came out of reality. You laughed because you related.  He was also a damn good spokesman for Jello. So I respect his work. We’re clear on that, right?

Recently, WRITTEN BY, the WGA’s monthly magazine did an article where they referred to Bill Cosby as a writer’s mentor. I think they were being a little overly generous. I wouldn’t call him a mentor.

I’d call him an egotist who worked his writers as if they were pack mules.

I know. You say potato and I say potato.

There’s no question that there was much to be learned from Bill Cosby, and those writers who survived did take lessons that helped them in their future work. But what a cost.

The article explains how the process worked on THE COSBY SHOW. The staff worked out a very rough story area on Wednesday, then wrote an entire script over the weekend. Cosby would shit on it at the table reading on Monday. If there were lines he didn’t like he would read them in funny voices. Rather rude to the writers who killed themselves all weekend to service you. Then would come the hours of notes, Cosby would tear the whole script apart.  Often, with his big cigar, he would literally blow smoke into the writers' faces.  And then the staff went back to now write a completely new script and cough. Those rewrites, even in the article, were termed grueling.

And this went on week after week. Hundred hour weeks were common. Month after month. At least he didn't smoke $2 Tiparillos.

Oh, and did I mention, at the end, Cosby ad libbed stuff?  I’m sure it was funny but why put everybody through that just to ultimately do it yourself?

Talented showrunners would understandably bolt after a season or even a few weeks of this. One writer was so fried after she quit that she spent six months working at the Coney Island Aquarium.

Are there shows with long hours? Absolutely. Is it difficult to write for a comedian who has a very strong voice? You betcha. But you know that going in.

However, to have a star just arbitrarily toss out draft after draft and force his staff to write around the clock for seven months is unfair and highly disrespectful.

I don’t know why the staff bothered to do anything for the table draft. Why work hard crafting jokes and scenes and moments when everything's just going to be dismissed? Just write down the first thing that comes to your mind and head for the train. The fact that the staff didn’t do that (and never did that) says something about how admirable and professional they were.

Fact: Writers burn out. Fact: Writers do not do their best work at 4:00 AM after being in the room for fifteen hours. How would an actor like it if he were asked to strenuously rehearse every day from 7:00 AM until 11:00 PM and then an audience would be brought in and he'd be asked to perform NOISES OFF for two hours?

The fact that Cosby established this grueling schedule and maintained it shows, to me, a lack of consideration and compassion. Yes, the show was a smash hit, and he was the 800 pound gorilla, but I will never be convinced it would have been any worse had the writers not spent 70% of their time writing material that everyone knew was gong to get thrown out. I could however, make an argument that the shows would have been even better had the staff not been walking zombies.  And if some of the better writers had not quit.

But that’s the way they did it. A number of people made fortunes of money (including sweater manufacturers). And the show is a classic.

Call Cosby brilliant, call him the man who saved sitcoms, call him a game-changer, a visionary, a titan in the world of comedy. But mentor? I was fortunate that I had mentors who didn’t send me screaming to an aquarium.

58 comments:

JJadziaDax said...

Cosby may have been brilliant but the dude was a royal class-A jackass. Each fall the University I attended had reunions and all sorts of events during a weekend. Bill was hired to perform during that weekend I believe my sophomore year. The man is coming to a university to talk to an audience full of students and parents and alumni and his whole show was bashing students who attend expensive private schools (which this was) and parents who pay for it. I'd be the first to say (still) paying for that education wasn't my best move but still wasn't really good to the audience footing the bill. Not a lot of laughter at that show. Afterward one of the writers for the student paper asked him for an interview and was treated very poorly in the refusal. Hated the jerk ever since and I am glad it wasn't a fluke (well not glad for the poor writers). He can join William Crapner in the showbiz jerk o fame.

HCarvalho said...

Warren Littlefield said the same thing on his book Top of The rock, but he was more defensive of Bill Cosby, said that his talent was what was driving the series so the writters should abide by that. He said that that was the reason Earl Pomerantz only lasted one season as The Cosby Show showrunner.

John said...

The Cosby Show Season 1 may have saved sitcoms, and definitely helped bail NBC out of what by then had become an eight-year funk (which I believe the current regime will surpass this coming fall). But there definitely was a growing whiff of self-indulgence on the part of Dr. Cosby by Season 3, to the point the show became more 'cute' than laugh-out-loud funny.

The finals few seasons of the show seemed more of an indulgence for the star than for the viewing audience. However, unlike some other TV divas, he does have a nearly 50-year history of succeeding with his own material, and you can't take away that first season and what it meant to the other shows on NBC's Thursday night lineup ("Cosby" being to "Cheers" what "The Beverly Hillbillies" was to "The Dick Van Dyke Show" 20 years earlier).

Mr. Hollywood said...

Always loved Cosby the standup, but Cosby the man wasn't much. He was a reverse racist, who asked for an all black crew while promoting one of his films. While showing what a great "family man" he was, he was busy playing with every woman (mostly white) who would be found at his trailer during lunch ... during an interview he couldn't be more condescending to a hard working interviewer.
Again, great standup, poor excuse for a human being

Tracy G said...

Childhood officially ruined! I can't count the times I watched Bill Cosby: Himself on HBO as a kid and I was a sucker for both The Cosby Show and its spin-off all because I adored the man. So it hurts to learn that he's just another egotistical jackass comedian. :(

Monty B said...

Let's be honest. The show had MAYBE 3 good years, the rest was self-indulgent crap. There's a reason you don't find it on reruns anymore. It doesn't hold up.

And then he had the gall to "re-imagine" the brilliant BBC sitcom "One Foot in the Grave" for whatever version of his name was on that crud on CBS.

His standup was good in the 70s. After that, not so much.

Johnny said...

Wow. I grew up LOVING the Cosby Show (why aren't there more re-runs?), but it's sad to hear that Cosby himself was a martinet to rival Roseanne.

To paraphrase someone, "You don't have to be an asshole to be successful".

Johnny said...

Monty B, ah! I guess that explains the lack of re-runs then.

Terry said...

Wow. As a longtime admirer of Mr. Cosby and his work, I guess I'll add my voice to the chorus of those saddened to hear this. There really is no excuse for this type of behavior, I don't care how funny or famous you are.

David Schwartz said...

I worked with a writer who used to write jokes for a show we were working on and then turn in half of them to the producer. He told me that the producer always asked for more material, no matter how much he turned in. So he used to write the material, turn in half of it, and then have the other half ready. This way, the producer got what he wanted and the writer didn't have to scramble at the last minute.

Michael Hagerty said...

My disillusionment came about 30 years ago when I was a journalist in Reno and I got handed raw tape of an interview another one of our reporters did with Bill Cosby just before being called away for a family emergency.

Like Ken, I grew up with Cos on vinyl, ISpy, and The Bill Cosby Show (not Cosby...this is the one where he was Chet Kincaid, schoolteacher). Loved him.

On top of that, having lived in the Reno-Tahoe area for some time, I took every opportunity to catch him live at Harrah's. Like SEVEN times in five years. Never a bad show, never a recycled bit. Brilliant.

What I saw on the 30 minutes of tape was disheartening...watching a guy with a chip on his shoulder the size of Fat Albert switching on and off his "charm" depending on when he thought the camera was rolling. Never mind that there were human beings (including our reporter and videographer) in the room. He treated them and the Harrah's people (the interview was in his suite) like crap when he thought he wasn't on.

Overall, an unhappy, unpleasant man who exhibited not an ounce of the warmth and humor he built his reputation on...until he thought tape was rolling.

Anonymous said...

i worked for The Tonight Show during Johnny Carson's reign and when Bill Cosby was a regular Monday Guest host filling in for Johnny.
One particular Monday when Cosby was guest hosting and I wasn't more than 19 years old, I had the ONLY bad experience in my 9 years working on the show.

Cosby, Mr. Playboy Jazz Festival showed up early to listen to the Tonight Show Orchestra rehearse in the late afternoon. As Im standing by Doc Severinsen's podium, I kiddingly said to Mr Cosby: Good luck to your Sixers, but i think the Lakers are going to take this one. HE WENT APESHIT ON ME. Here I am a little girl in essence (only girl crew person in my career infancy) and he got right in my face screaming profanities at me pushing his chest out assaulting me while yelling at me! (over a basketball game? Come on!) It got so bad, violent, perverted, mean and frightening my guys from the crew and band members jumped to my defense saying to him is your career worth this, for gods sake she's a little girl! He was so in my face I truly feared he was going to hit me. Eventually the security took him from the studio until time for his monologue. Ive known for 30 years that Bill Cosby is a bully, crazy, untalented, pushy, racist, mean and and egocentric asshole! Ill spit on his grave when he dies and that couldn't happen soon enough!

Larry said...

Still not as bad as Jackie Gleason.

Dana Gabbard said...

Here is a link to the article.

Working for Walt Disney was a also not always a pleasant experience. A lot of talented people eventually went elsewhere but they all praise the learning experience being at the studio was.

ennienyc said...

My friend's brother was one of Cosby's lawyers. When my friend was hospitalized with a serious illness in 2000, her brother showed up to visit, and brought Cosby along. He gave her a very nice card which was hanging on the wall when I visited a few days later. This was done with no fanfare or publicity. My friend died shortly after, and I always remembered this act of kindness.

Cranky Cowboy said...

I dined with Cosby many years ago. Actually he was next to me at the dinner table at an NBC promotion function at Century Plaza. (This was after "I Spy" and a decade or so before "The Cosby Show." Cos had a new show on NBC, "The Bill Cosby Show." Viewers liked it but it's said that NBC wanted a laugh track on the show, Cos said "no" and walked at the end of the show's second season. Or so the story goes). Anyway, I was a huge fan of Cos....his early comedy albums, that is...and while he was cordial during our opening conversation, as I tried to engage him about Philadelphia, Temple University and TV in general, the conversation became more about Cosby and less about "general." I viewed Cos as being a bit too over-confident. Okay...WAY over-confident. If you insist...full of himself. OVERFLOWING with "fullness."

Mike Carlin said...

I actually see what the problem here is... the article you read must have autocorrected the writer's typing:

He wrote TORMENTOR and autocorrect "fixed" it.

gottacook said...

I really enjoyed The Bill Cosby Show during its original run when I was 14 or so - the only comedy of its era with gentle humor, no laugh track, nothing pushy about it. Obviously the Cosby of 1971 who voluntarily ended the series after 2 years was not the Cosby of the 1980s and later. What happened?

(The series has turned up again on one of the new digital over-the-air stations, perhaps RTV. Both the first- and second-season versions of Quincy Jones' theme with Cosby's "vocals" are just as amusing as ever.)

Anonymous said...

And let's not forget this happily married man and his devotion to Chinese hookers.

I heard these writers' stories firsthand. He would come to the reading and intentionally mumble his lines all the way through the read so you could never tell what worked and what didn't. Then, after he decimated the script and told the writers what he REALLY wanted, he'd leave and say, "Now just go write the shit out of it." If only they COULD have written the shit out of it.... Thank you, Carsey-Werner for establishing a trend of depowering and humiliating executive producers.

Anonymous said...

Sorry. I mean writer-producers.

Tim W. said...

@ Mr. Hollywood

A pet peeve of mine. There's no such thing as a reverse racist (unless it's someone who isn't racist). Black people who are racist towards white people aren't reverse racist. They're racist. Racism isn't just towards non-white races. It's when you judge someone on their race, no matter what it is.

Bill Rabkin said...

Okay... now imagine what it was like working with the man on a drama that was filmed over eight days. A mystery, at that, in which the writers labored to craft strong puzzles with subtle clues... all of which Mr. Cosby tossed out because he was, in his words, "a jazz musician who has to improvise." Imagine that he simply didn't care what he had filmed yesterday, because he had a groovy new idea and was going to do whatever he wanted at the moment.

Oh, and imagine that you could never try to talk him out of any of this, because there was nothing he liked more than talking about scripts. In his trailer. For hours. While the crew waited outside, burning through tens of thousands of dollars an hour.

I can't say The Cosby Mysteries was the worst experience of my career, because it involved neither Sammo Hung nor Arsenio Hall. (And bcecause the staff was all wonderful people.) But it was close enough.

HourOfLead said...

A close friend in Kraft's development division told a story about Bill Cosby working with Jell-o on developing pudding pops and how he insisted on ONLY developing chocolate pudding pops and would rail against vanilla or chocolate-vanilla swirl pudding pops as unnatural, beneath him and that chocolate pudding pops should stop speaking in street slang.
OK, that's not true, but how awesome would that be?

D. McEwan said...

I loved those early Cosby albums also. Still have them in vynal. I saw him do a "concert" in Spokane in 1974 when he actually still worked standing up. A framed photo of Bill and I, taken in 1972 when we worked together once on the radio (And where I did not work for him) hangs on my dining room wall. (Bill has a large cigar in his hand even then.)

But I have not been able to take him for almost 30 years now. The ego just emenates off of him in waves, and the smirky faces NEVER did anything but creep me out.

As for the much-beloved Cosby Show, I tuned in ONCE. The show revolved around the youngest child's pet dying and having a pet funeral. I have a low (EXTREMELY low) tolerance for adorable children being aggressively cute on TV. (Part of why I liked - yes - Roseanne was that she insulted her kids.) I found the episode so overwhelmingly nauseating that I never again, not once in all the many years since, tuned in to see a second episode of The Cosby Show. When he comes on Letterman, sits down, begins emitting his foul clouds of poison and carrys on like the Godfather of Show Business and Fount of All Wisdom, I see what's on the DVR, or pop in a DVD, or,if worse comes to worst, switch over to Leno.

RCP said...

Listen - if you were the mastermind behind a gem like "Leonard Part Six" you'd be full of yourself too. By the way, how the hell did Tom Courtenay get roped into that one?

LouOCNY said...

Interesting how this discussion about Cos comes on the day when a TRULY great man in TV history, Andy Griffith, passes away. I bet you could look for a year, and not find a single solitary mean word about Mr. Griffith. From every single thing I have ever read, seen, or heard, Griffith was EXACTLY as you saw him on TAGS. i have always been impressed by the idea, for example, that he understood that Ron(nie) Howard needed to have a relatively normal childhood, and would actually arrange the production schedule, if he needed to go Little League, Cub Scouts or something.

RIP Andy Griffith!

Ane said...

I have a question. I'm lucky enough to work as an assistant to the dramatourg in a theater and sometimes I get to watch rehersals. I've noticed that the directors can get extremely specific (in lack of a better word) about what they want from an actor. They'll say stuff like "Here you have to look as if you loved him once and that was a good time in your life but now it's over and you're just friends" or similarly strange(to me, as someone who's not "in the game") demands. And the actors do their best to please. What's it like when working with "big stars" on tv? Do they get lots of directions on what kind of emotions they should display and so on, or is it more like "Do whatever you want, we trust you"?

ChicagoJohn said...

Ken,
I wanted to get your take on something, because this reminded me of how I heard that Sid Caesar was a complete out-of-control lunatic when it came to working in a writer's room. Yet, there was a lot of talent that came out of his writers.

Am I off here? From what you know, is it true that Caesar also had a reputation for being out of control? Or was it a different type of vibe?
And if so, what do you consider the difference between a 'good' type of crack-the-whip show runner, and one that's just an asshole?

I hate hearing/reading about creative legends that were complete assholes to work for, everywhere from Frank Lloyd Wright to directors like Ridley Scott & James Cameron. I'd like to believe that you can still be brilliant without suffocating creativity around you.

Anonymous said...

You've got to see "Episodes". It's back with a vengeance on Showtime. Episode 2, especially the scenes about the "table read - notes". Could be right out of Cosby. Episodes is the best comedy now on TV. Right up there with "The Larry Sanders Show". Whitney and Co., take note. Thats how raunch is done funny.

Earl Pomerantz said...

I once went down to Atlantic City for a story meeting with Dr. C, after which I attended his performance. Later, in his dressing room, I complimented him on one of his routines. He informed me that he had worked seven month fashioning that piece of material. As a writer required to complete an entire script in three days, I was understandably upset. If I had not seen him with his shirt off, and been aware that he was still built like a fullback...nah. I still wouldn't have done anything. But I'd have come a lot closer.

Earl Pomerantz

mrswing said...

A question for Bill Rabkin: what was so bad about Sammo Hung (apart from the fact his English wasn't strong enough for him to carry the lead in the series and he didn't put in enough study time to get it up to an acceptable level)? Big Hong Kong action movie fan would love to know...

Debby G. said...

And he settled a case a few years ago in which a woman claimed he drugged and raped her. Many other woman came forward and claimed he did the same thing to them. They had no financial incentive to do so, as the statute of limitations had expired. http://digg.com/newsbar/Entertainment/bill_cosby_may_have_drugged_and_molested_as_many_as_14_women

Don K. said...

All of this reminds me of a beloved comedian from another time who revered his writers and treated them with respect. I'm thinking of Jack Benny, It would seem tat hawking Jello is all Benny and Cosby had in common.

cshel said...

Ken -

Off topic - I was really sad to learn about the death of Andy Griffith. The Andy Griffith Show is still one of my favorite all time sitcoms. I was surprised you didn't do a tribute to his passing today.

I hope there are no bad stories that come out about him!

JenW said...

Friday Question: I have always wondered how writers work around obvious physical changes in the star actor? Specifically when an actress becomes pregnant and that isn't something that is easily explained for her role? It seems to come up a lot in long-running sitcoms like Friends, Frazier (at least in Cheers you could always easily explain Carla's condition).

Max Clarke said...

Ken,

When was the first big time you were disillusioned about show business? When you saw how big the chasm can be between your view of somebody and what they really are like?

Maybe a question for Friday. I didn't know anything about Cosby except his comedy albums, so your discussion here prompted the question. In contrast, Andy Griffith seemed to have a pretty good reputation for being a gentleman off-camera.

Harley Davidson said...

I had the opportunity to introduce Bill Cosby at a stand up show he was doing in San Bernardino. I had always heard he was a jerk, to my surprise he was one of the nicest millionaire celebrities I'd ever encountered. For the record, Loretta Lynn is by far the nicest and no one ever matched her sweetness.

MikeN said...

Lots of black people are better off for Bill Cosby's actions. His pound cake speech and his assorted work to get parents to take care of their kids has helped. That Cosby was one of the few execs willing to put black faces on TV is somehow seen as an attack. How many black characters were there on Friends? Seinfeld?
Even the few shows that do make it tend to get attacked for their treatment of black people.

al smitty said...

I hear the sound of bitch boys whining. Riding Cosby's jock put millions in your pockets and yet you have the nerve to complain.

Put on your big girl panties and stop crying.

D. McEwan said...

"Max Clarke said...
Ken,
When was the first big time you were disillusioned about show business? When you saw how big the chasm can be between your view of somebody and what they really are like?"


I know you asked Ken, not me, but I sure can sure answer for me. It was when I met Steve Allen. I was 18 years old, and was a HUGE fan of Steve's. I thought the sun shone out of his ass. I went to a taping of his TV show and afterwards, snuck in backstage, and waited outside his dressing room door until he showed up, to ask for an autograph.

Now bear in mind, I was clearly a star-struck teenager. I was wearing a suit and tie. I was polite. Steve came up with his wife and a page. I stepped out and greeted "Mr. Allen". I said I was a big, big fan, which was true, and asked for an autograph. Steve did not speak to me, he just turned to the page and told him to throw me out. That was the end of my being a fan of Steve Allen.

I retell that story not to keep revenging myself on a dead man for being rude to a teenage boy over 40 years ago, but to keep honoring the many stars I have met who were the exact opposite, stars like Barry Humphries, Diana Rigg, Mel Brooks, Gene Wilder, and yes, even Milton Berle. Folks who could have had me thrown out but instead could not have been warmer or more gracious. Even Bill Cosby was nicer to me than Steve Allen.

Cap'n Bob said...

While I liked his role on I SPY, I was lukewarm about his standup act and never watched his other TV shows.

James said...

To ChicagoJohn: if you haven't already, find a program called "Caesar's Writers" (it's on YouTube). He's on stage being interviewed with many of his writing staff (nearly all of whom are legends now). I think the only out-of-control story told was the famous one about an altercation with a man inside a car ("do you remember the moment of your birth?") Caesar probably had the best relationship with his writers of anyone.

A Non-Emus said...

Bill Cosby is a legend and his place in history is cemented. But I've heard so many bad stories about him off-camera. Blowing his I Spy audition because of his attitude (according to Robert Culp), practically living at the Playboy Mansion when he was married with kids, punching Tommy Smothers in the head (at the Mansion), firing Cockroach because he had a hi-top! I speculate that Cosby has never fully dealt with his hard childhood and still carries anger because of it despite his massive success. But... he tells the funny stories... and makes the funny faces... with the zrbtt, ya see!

Regarding Andy Griffith. I read Griffith did have a temper. One time during TAGS he punched a wall and broke his hand. For a few episodes, Andy has a cast. I also read about him dressing down a Matlock cast member who kept messing up her lines. I've heard stories of him being brusque with fans which is sometimes understandable. The fact is these people are just people.

James Morris said...

Wow, looks like his true brilliance in acting was how he had many of believing he was a nice guy.
I seem to remember another actor who was also genius at having us believe what a swell guy he was...
Maybe you remember him. His name?
O.J. Simpson

brown girl said...

He was a reverse racist, who asked for an all black crew while promoting one of his films.

If that's true, my respect for him has really increased. I know Alice Walked asked for a 1/3 black or female crew on Color Purple.

James Morris said...

Oh, "brown girl", please.
That's not a reverse racist.
Your thinking is so wrong.
I don't know where to begin.
If a white actor asked for an all-white crew, you'd be the first to scream racist. Or an asian...I could go on and on.
But I won't. You know you're wrong.

A Non-Emus said...

I've been on a few sets. A white actor wouldn't have to ask for an all-white crew. Understand that.

James Morris said...

I do understand. Just sayin'

A Non-Emus said...

Dax, any Shatner stories to share?

MacDaffy said...

And Sid Caesar was a total pussycat...

Anonymous said...

When I was a teenager, my father was a writer and supervising producer of The Cosby Show. As far as I know, he hasn't spoken publicly about the inner workings of the show since leaving after its sixth season, and I won't mention anything we've ever discussed privately that might confirm or refute anything in Mr. Levine's initial post or any of the subsequent comments.

I visited the set on many occasions, saw how hard everyone worked and had the good fortune of a few wonderful (and brief) experiences with Cosby that made me laugh nearly as much as I had listening to his standup albums in the years prior. I want to clarify that I know full well these are personal and anecdotal encounters and have no meaning in considering the man as a whole.

I also had an enormous crush on Lisa Bonet, but that's neither here nor there.

I will dispute one thing I read in a comment written by A Non-Emus (7/04/2012 7:37 PM) - I was actually there the night Carl Anthony Payne II (a.k.a., Cockroach) was fired, and I'm absolutely certain it had nothing to do with his hi-top fade.

Jango said...

And thats why cosby is a household name and a gazillionaire, and those writers are well, writers.

I do feel sorry for them, but hey you have to pay your dues, especially if you want to work with the best.

All that torture doesnt seem too costly a price to pay, to work on a #1 tv show. In fact, on your resume, its priceless!

cadavra said...

Perhaps, but it is also true that happy employees are productive employees, and treating them like dirt is not a sure-fire way to get them to give 110%. Folks like Jack Benny and Dick Van Dyke treated the writers like royalty and look what happened. Just sayin'.

A Non-Emus said...

@Anonymous, Payne said that was the reason he was fired. You seem to be implying that it was something much more serious. If that's so, then I guess it's understandable. But it doesn't refute all these other stories about him unless they're all lying.

selection7 said...

A quick internet search yielded the suggestion that it was actually Cockroach using chemicals in his hair that Cosby didn't like. It said Carl Anthony Payne explained it on some radio show. I dont' know if that's true though; I'm just repeating it FYI.

Anonymous said...

I drove limo part time several years back and I had to pick bill asshole cosby up from the airport. He was the rudest/racist son of a bitch Toward me. He referred to me as BOY over 7 times as if he was the man with the power now and simple little white me was his servent. His comedy SUCKS. His show SUCKED and he smelled like someone blew a cigar into the inside of a wet fake leg. BILL + COSBY= RACIST

Anonymous said...

Sorry but Andy Griffith lived in our town and it is well known that he was an asshole. He would come into a special room and the local restaurant and no one...including the staff...was to make eye contact with him. He hated fans.

Geoffrey Vasile said...

Growing up in the 80s, I was indoctrinated into comedy by temple of Thursday night NBC sitcoms. Being a child of mixed heritage, My Mom who is black insisted we watch the Cosby show with undying reverence. I grew up loving Bill Cosby and as an adult I find myself giving him more allowance than I would ANYONE else. To his treatment of others--as a Black kid from the Philly projects it takes an insane amount of brass and swagger to propel yourself from that world by breaking into entertainment with comedy. Penetrating that institutional racism, not only with mere success but with panache, is a monumental feat. I recently read the story of him punching Tommy Smothers in the back of the head--Smothers and others (rhyme non-intentional) called Cosby a violent rogue, but to pass judgement about a Black person's involvement in civil rights and opposition of the Vietnam war was incredibly pedantic of Smothers as Nixon made no qualms of persecuting Black entertainers with more fervor than he would Whites. Now, I say all this, yet I am still upset with Cosby. I really don't want to believe the accusations of him being a rapist. But that's me giving hima benefit a doubt again. If any other man had 13+ women with matching stories of being sedated and raped I wouldn't hesitate to say haul that bastard in. But I just don't want to live in a world where Bill Cosby, archetypal father to us all, is a rapist.
-Sorry for the meandering thoughts
Geoff