all words: Robb Scott
all photos: Shannon Yazurlo
From being parodied by everyone and their mother for his Jello Pudding Pops, array of sweaters as Doctor Huxtable, and a bumbling secret agent on I Spy—Bill Cosby took the stage at Wolf Trap to remind everyone of what made him so popular to begin with. Keeping in mind that comedy has dramatically changed from the days when Cosby was at the height of his stand-up career to now, I’m remaining diplomatic with my critiques.
The man of many facial expressions and goofy sounds strutted out to a roaring applause of anxious fans (of the 40+ variety). Beginning with an analysis of the overrated graduation bliss, the comedy man continued into a steady discourse on the ills of our generation (I’m speaking to the under 30 crowd). I had to muster all the strength I could not to shout, “C’mon Bill, really? You’re gonna just single us out like that?”
For those within the target age-range, equipped with the life-experience, there were laughs all around. Many people got really excited as they reminisced with Cosby about beatings vs ‘whoopins’—mind you, the first involves the beater finding house times for the punishment, and the second involves the beat-ee being sent out for a switch or something comparable.
I must applaud the man for having the ability to keep up the pace within his routine; there was no distinction made in his performance based on his old age (73 years old to be exact). Much of the commentary he made was about marriage and the ups and downs of old age—which leads me to assert that this show seemed made for those over the age of 40.
The various anecdotes remind me an awful lot of past Cosby Show plots; namely the Father’s Day episode (receiving cheesy gifts from the kids), the many trials with Vanessa (Tempest Bledsoe’s character) during her pre-teen years, and dealing with grandchildren at very young ages.
Bill Cosby, in terms of his method, has an annoying habit of going off on extremely extensive digressions—if you miss even five seconds of material, you’re left with a major question mark for at least five minutes more of material. Despite the detours however, he always manages to connect it back to the main train of thoughts… going so far as to wrap the entire set up, in a neat bow, back to his opening jokes.
It was a pleasure witnessing one of comedy’s most iconic figures, but it just felt like a lecture from an older, “wiser” family member who happens to be funny. I now know that erectile dysfunction is not a prehistoric animal, that dementia (once considered senility) will sneak up on me like a bad trip, normal means doing well, and that one day I will have many difficulties peeing, so I should be thankful for my steady streams now.
While I am just be one disgruntled writer, it’s worth making it evident that the comedian did do a decent job for what he has to offer. Of his 50+ years of comedy, the man can still turn out a crowd, and can still inspire people of all ages to smile, if not laugh-out-loud.
Thank you Mister Cosby—I bow to you sir; you managed to not simply be a silly old man rambling… oh wait.