Rock -- Cosby -- Hard Place
Henry "Bill" Cosby, Jr. (born July 12, 1937) is an American
stand-up comedian, actor, author, television producer, educator, musician
and activist. A veteran stand-up performer, he got his start at the hungry
i in San Francisco and various other clubs, then landed a starring role
in the 1965 action show I Spy. He later starred in his own sitcom, The
Bill Cosby Show. He was one of the major performers on the children's
television series The Electric Company during its first two seasons, and
created the educational cartoon comedy series Fat Albert and the Cosby
Kids, about a group of young friends growing up in the city. Cosby also
acted in a number of films.
During the 1980s, Cosby produced and starred in one of the decade's defining
sitcoms, The Cosby Show, which aired eight seasons from 1984 to 1992.
It was the number one show in America for five straight years (198589).
The sitcom highlighted the experiences and growth of an affluent African-American
family. He also produced the spin-off sitcom A Different World, which
became second to The Cosby Show in ratings. He starred in the sitcom Cosby
from 1996 to 2000 and hosted Kids Say the Darndest Things for two seasons,
In 1976, Cosby earned a Doctor of Education degree from the University
of Massachusetts Amherst. His dissertation discussed the use of Fat Albert
and the Cosby Kids as a teaching tool in elementary schools.
But, after doing so well for himself over the years, it was all going
to be brought down, it seemed.
There was a monkey wrench in the works. Several women brought accusations
of being drugged and sexually assaulted by Cosby.
Time passed and, even after several women brought those accusations, no
charges were ever filed and the issue faded out of sight.
A new NBC show, scheduled for summer or autumn 2015, created by Mike O'Malley
and Mike Sikowitz and to have been produced by The Cosby Show's Tom Werner,
was set to feature Cosby as Jonathan Franklin, the patriarch of a multi-generational
family. On November 19, 2014, NBC scrapped Cosby's new show after accusations
that he sexually assaulted women resurfaced. On the same day, TVLand announced
in November that it was pulling reruns of The Cosby Show from its schedule
and also removed clips of the show from its website.
During this past year, the number of allegations not only resurfaced,
but to date the count of female accusers number 18 (some reports say 20).
In this latest round, as with the first round, Cosby has neither confirmed
nor denied the allegations. In fact, he has made it a point to say nothing
and let his attorney speak for him. His attorney has said the allegations
are "ridiculous" and a rehash of old unproven allegations.
Another monkey wrench now shows up.
A man claiming to be Cosby's cleanup man came forward to say that he was
the person Cosby turned to, to hush his accusers up. He said he even has
four receipts for "payoffs" he made on behalf of Cosby. The
last of that side of the story hasn't been heard.
Cosby is still doing his standup (or rather sit down) routine around the
country, wherever he is welcome.
It won't be known for a while what the result of all of these accusations
I personally feel that with so many women coming forward, there has to
be some truth to the matter.
But, to be sure, as the title of this piece suggests, Cosby is definitely
caught between a rock and a hard place.
I hope it all resolves amicably; I like the Cosby show reruns. They're
some of the few shows on TV that are still rated G.
And we sure could use that.
That's in my opinion.
Michael C. Quinn