Bill Cosby May 16, 2010
Bill Cosby Closes Cerritos Season with Class
By Glen Creason
It sort of came to me in the middle of Bill Cosby’s matinee of relaxed and hilarious storytelling that he is probably the first humor-philosopher since Will Rogers charmed a nation back in the mid 1930’s. I think after decades of honing his craft the title is appropriate for this gentleman, even though he would probably laugh at the description. The Emcee for the show rightfully called Doctor Cosby a national treasure and I certainly would not disagree. As a matter of fact I would put the man in a very small group of those entertainers that have genuinely made an indelible mark on the American character. “The Cos” as he calls himself can take any real-life situation and create insight along with horse-laughs of delight from the masses of fans that follow his every word. At a packed Performing Arts Center his show was unusually condensed but as delightful as any I have heard in his many visits to Cerritos. He seems to be ready to continue for at least a couple more decades. In between his monologues he bantered with audience members including one clueless soul who seemed to think this was therapy. Still Cosby did not chastise her despite many surrounding glares and sighs from less generous souls.
This show was originally slated for September of 2009 but an eye problem kept him from honoring that date but this welcomed visit made for a sweet dessert at the finish of the feast of the arts that the 2009-2010 series presented. If you took an outline of this performance it would read
• Couldn’t make September date because “I’m Old”
• The Eye Clinic and geriatric patients there.
• Medical tests in general
• The colonoscopy.
• Why “suck” should never be an insult.
• Getting a kid through college.
While these topics have potential you just have to imagine how a genius storyteller could turn such mundane stuff into epic tales of struggle between husband and wife, parent and child and nurse and patient. Cosby’s otherworldly physical comedy and ability to create mock dialogue are the stuff of legend but he seems not to be slowing down one bit in the wit department. How many people can get away with saying about one's own daughter that “I don’t like her much” and describing his own bowel activity as if it were the eruption on Mt. Vesuvius without seeming crass or insensitive or calloused? In fact the routines Cosby adapts involving children going off to college and returning home are full of famial truth but tempered by great affection. This show merely contains Doctor Cosby dressed in his Temple University sweat suit and a table containing a bottle of water and box of tissues in front of some potted plants. He sits on a chair draped with his trademark “Hello Friend” sweater but that is where the decoration ends. The rest is just Cos hanging out with his pals and regaling them with the story of his life, one that never ceases to amuse and amaze us all. What makes it all so appealing is that he never places himself above the audience but mostly puts us all together, right where we belong. As he pointedly said in mid-show “we are all the same fools.”