Bill Cosby (with a little Richard Pryor & Eddie Murphy thrown in for good measure)

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For decades, Cosby was America’s ideal dad. His real life was more complicated. CREDIT PHOTOGRAPH BY MILTON H. GREENE / ARCHIVE IMAGES

I consider myself a decent fan of Bill Cosby’s, but it’s in the fond-childhood-memories-kind of way because of re-runs of “The Cosby Show,” which I watched as a kid. I don’t remember his stand-up (before my time), and his ‘clean,’ storytelling type of stand up wasn’t exactly my cup for tea. Yet for his TV shows, it worked well.

Richard Pryor and Eddie Murphy, however, were my thing. Wild and potty mouthed, they made shitty days something to forget and laugh at. Still, as a comedy fan, I find him to be extremely important in the history of show business, African American history, and comedy, in the United States. And, truth be told, his recent notoriety for issuing respectability politics-laced tirades to (and about) the Black community, piques my interest. Why does he feel this way? What’s his deal?

This New Yorker piece gives great insight to a man I’ll always associated with Jell-O Pudding Pops. But this excerpt is THE BEST. I can hear Pryor’s voice and delivery(via an impeccable Murphy impression) as if I were right there:

In the 1987 concert movie “Raw,” Eddie Murphy told a story about Cosby calling him up and urging him to use less profanity in his act, for the sake of his young fans, including Cosby’s own son. Murphy recalled being so offended that he telephoned Richard Pryor, who offered some defiantly un-Cosby-like advice: “The next time the motherfucker calls, tell him I said suck my dick.”

Hahahahahaha. Now that’s funny.

It’s a long read, but worth it. Check out “The Real Cliff Huxtable” via The New Yorker.


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