Last week Bill Cosby was honored with the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor at the Kennedy Center. It was shown on PBS tonight and if you can watch, by all means do!
Cosby is without a doubt the best, funniest, and smartest comedian of the last 75 years. Don’t argue with me! Jerry Seinfeld said that, although he does not really know Mr. Cosby, he has been the guiding light of his career. Well, I am no Seinfeld, but Cosby’s comedy has had a greater influence on me than I think most realize.
His character and influence can be summed up in one line. “First you say it and then you do it.” This is the climax of a routine where he said, “Your momma always tells you to wear clean underwear in case you get into an accident. I don’t understand why. Because if you get into an accident…first you say it and then you do it.”
Do you get it? Of course you do. Bill Cosby is funny without resorting to the f-bomb, the s-word, or any other profanity. ((According to the New York Times Cosby turned down the award twice before. Why? “In an earlier interview with The A.P., Mr. Cosby said he had previously refused the award because he was disappointed with the profanities used in a 1998 ceremony honoring Richard Pryor.”)) His comedy still brings tears to my eyes and who can top Noah?
Mr. Cosby is not perfect, in fact, there have been some very serious accusations against him over the years. But he’s not Jesus so I will cut him some slack. He continues to be a great example to so many and I am grateful for the example, and the escape, that he gave me when I was growing up. Congratulations Mr. Cosby, you deserve this award. And thank you.