City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
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City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
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A talk with Bill Cosby, coming to the Ferst Center Oct. 23

Bill CosbyLoRes_edited-1Bill Cosby’s favorite word during a recent hour-long phone interview was “spice.” For him, this is an overarching term for manufactured drama jimmied up by reality shows, politicians and sportscasters yelling at each other on TV, and going “blue,” as comics like to call it.

As fans who have heard his classic comedy albums, seen him live or watched his seminal TV shows, Cosby does not partake in “spice,” nor does he keep up with the Kardashians or any particular ”Real Housewife.”

In other words, the content of his two stand-up shows scheduled for the Ferst Center For the Arts at Georgia Tech Oct. 23 will be definitively anti-Kathy Griffin.

“In a reality show,” Cosby mused, “the only reality is these people are not actors. Somewhere there’s a producer saying to somebody, ‘Listen, can you just slap her? Just say whatever you want to say. We need spice! We need to raise the viewers’ dopamine level! Keep people angry and keep them watching?”

As a sports fan, he still watches ESPN. (”How did the Falcons blow that 14-0 lead?” he asked.) And he cited his favorite network as Link TV, which focuses on global perspectives on news, events and culture and is available on Dish and DirecTV. “It does wonderful, emotional programs,” he said. “They are people of great integrity. It’s not manipulated. It’s about human beings and it’s global. It’s not reality people. It’s real people.”

Cosby, now 74, has never been a man to shy away from telling the truth as he sees it, whether it’s about education, crime or hip-hop music. He’d make a fine replacement for Andy Rooney on “60 Minutes.”

The stand-up comic said he dabbled with the cursing devil at the Hilton in Las Vegas in the 1970s. Richard Pryor, who was as blue as it comes, was in his heyday and Cosby felt pressure to “spice” it up with a few choice four-letter words at his eight o’clock show. “I ran off maybe eight of them,” Cosby said. “I didn’t enjoy it.”

Barron Hilton, the Hilton magnate, met with Cosby afterwards. Hilton had received a note from a nun. In a city packed with burlesque and nudity, she and her group of nuns had paid to see Cosby because they trusted he would keep it clean. She wrote that they became “very sad” when they heard him curse and left the show early. “We are going to pray for you,” Cosby said they wrote. “We will revisit another time and hope you can make us smile and laugh.”

A chastened Cosby never cursed on stage again. Not that he’s a nun himself. He doesn’t deny cursing in private. “If I’m joking with friends of mine, yes, we’ll tell dirty jokes to each other,” he said. “But not with the grandchildren sitting around.”

Cosby stays busy doing comedy shows almost every weekend. And that means plenty of time in hotels, which led to an interesting hobby: he collects robes.

Recently, he was at a hotel he won’t name. He liked the robes and purchased two from the manager. He got on a plane to leave town but bad weather forced him to return to that same hotel for an extra night. The night manager met with Cosby and spied the two robes.

“Nobody told him I had purchased them,” Cosby said. “He looks at the robes. He looks at me. I started laughing. I knew what he was thinking and I said it. ’A millionaire stole two robes! America’s father is a robe thief!’ I told him to call the day manager to confirm that yes, Mr. Cosby paid for the robes. Guess what? They gave me my money back! ”

Cosby may not be a robe thief but he is back writing books again.  His first comedy tome in nearly a decade called “I Didn’t Ask To Be Born (But I’m Glad I Was)” comes out Nov. 1. Per his style, he keeps the vocabulary simple, along the lines of Mark Twain and John Steinbeck.

“I’m telling you, this book is funny,” Cosby said. “You can read it and hear my voice. When I write, I have time to describe things in a way I can’t do on stage. And I got George Booth {a famous New Yorker cartoonist) to illustrate it. They’re like the drawings in Lewis Carroll’s ‘Alice in Wonderland.’ They’re funny.”


Bill Cosby. 3 p.m., 7 p.m. Oct. 23. $55-$95. Ferst Center for the Arts at Georgia Tech, 349 Ferst Drive, Atlanta, 404-894-2787,

29 comments Add your comment

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October 18th, 2011
6:27 am

Refreshing and still funny and relevant.

Holden Magroyne

October 18th, 2011
7:37 am

Makes me want some Jello Pudding


October 18th, 2011
8:33 am

Stimulus be working !!!

Fat man in Georgia

October 18th, 2011
8:34 am

There is always room for Jello.


October 18th, 2011
8:43 am

I love Bill Cosby because he speaks his mind despite that others may label him as a bitter old man…

Road Scholar

October 18th, 2011
8:44 am

Obama: Get a life! And may Fat Albert sit on you!


October 18th, 2011
9:20 am

RH, you should have asked him his opinion on the Occupy This and That. He has always stood up and said take personal responsibility for your self and your actions. Don’t rely on others to do it for you. I’m sure he’d tell the protesters to put down the signs, go home, take a bath, cut your hair and be a fine upstanding citizen, go to work or if you don’t have a job, go find one…even if its a couple part-time jobs until the right one comes along.


October 18th, 2011
9:23 am

I remember listening to my mom’s old albums of Mr Cosby’s. Funniest comedian I’ve ever heard, and he was funny without using profanity. Now that’s a comedian!


October 18th, 2011
9:31 am

Sorry JV- I think you meant stale, never funny and definately no longer relevant…


October 18th, 2011
9:42 am

I hope he’s able to tell a funny story about that woman he raped a few years back.

Matt the Brave

October 18th, 2011
9:43 am

(in Cosby voice) Hey Rodney, thanks for talking to me and remember to buy some puddin’ pops!


October 18th, 2011
9:54 am

His bit on drinking alcohol and doing drugs should be watched at high schools every Friday before the students leave class. Wouldn’t be bad if their parents, or excuse me, “significant adults” watched it too.


October 18th, 2011
9:58 am

I wish those idiots like Joy Behar and Sean Penn would sit down, shut up and listen to the brilliance of Bill Cosby.

Captain Midnight

October 18th, 2011
10:03 am

Yall know ” If you put a bullet in the furnace it reflects on your parents”.

Sigmund F.

October 18th, 2011
10:13 am

I applaud him for accomplishing so much while being functionally retarded.


October 18th, 2011
10:23 am

@ Sigmund F.

October 18th, 2011
10:13 am

Clearly your comment was meant to be a joke, as stale as it was. However, your point-less jab at a man who holds a Doctor of Education degree from the University of Massachusetts is just that, POINT-LESS!

Sigmund F.

October 18th, 2011
10:46 am

Dr. Phil has a useless Ph.D. as well….what’s your point?

FYI….”pointless” is not hyphenated.


October 18th, 2011
11:00 am

Bill Cosby “stale, never funny and no longer relevant” – ARE YOU KIDDING??? This man has always been funny and is very relevant. He TELLS IT LIKE IT IS which some people just can’t take. Love this man, always have, always will…


October 18th, 2011
11:27 am

Bill Cosby is always worth listening to, whether it is comedy, politics, social enviroment or just a casual conversation. Spending time with him would be a treat even if you are just watching him on screen. He also is an excellent writer.


October 18th, 2011
11:48 am

@ weena———— Was it proven or are you just stupid and narrow minded? There are just too many negative people in this world always saying and repeating awful messages. Too many people coming forward after 30 -40 years about something that was supposed to have happened between them and someone who is now rich and famous. I wonder why!

Bounce to Retro Cosby

October 18th, 2011
1:12 pm

I wonder if Bounce TV will start airing some of the retro Bill Cosby shows such as;
I Spy, the early Bill Cosby shows of the 70’s. He material is priceless.

Bounce to Retro Cosby

October 18th, 2011
1:18 pm

Boy my computer is screwed up. It has a mind of its own.
The comment should say; “I wonder if Bounce TV will start airing some of the retro
Bill Cosby shows of the 70’s such as; I Spy, Fat Albert or the original The Bill Cosby Show.
His material is priceless”.

Name (required)

October 18th, 2011
1:22 pm

joann – 4 or 5 years ago he quite publicly paid off a woman to keep quiet, but no admission of guilt. Others claimed he assaulted them, as well, but he only paid off the first one.

Curious George

October 18th, 2011
1:56 pm

Will Bill Cosby be smart enough to support Herman Cain, or we hill be exposed as just another disappointing Hollywood 0bama-Zombie?

vote for cain because he is black

October 18th, 2011
4:04 pm

i, along with the rest of cain’s supporters, can only count to nine. maybe cosby is that smart, orrrrrr maybe not.


October 18th, 2011
9:19 pm

Hey, Hey, Hey!

[...] shows at 3 and 7 p.m. Oct. 23 at Ferst Center for the Arts on the Georgia Tech campus. Check out our chat with the living [...]


October 20th, 2011
9:51 am

Accusations are always made against people of any celebrity status. While some may be true, most are not. It is the nature of the beast. Just because he paid someone, anyone, doesn’t mean it is an admission of guilt. I have been forced to pay debts I do not owe.