Dave Chapelle says that after he read the article from the ‘Time’ magazine above he announced to his family he wanted to be a comedian. At the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor ceremony Chris Rock and Jerry Seinfeld said he inspired their careers. Bill Cosby turned down the honor twice because he was offended by the profanity used at the first Mark Twain Humor Award in 1998. Bill Cosby is decidedly not blue. How not blue is he? When I texted my brother-in-law if there was a term for a not blue comic he, not knowing what I was working on, replied: Bill Cosby.
His show in the 80’s is one of only three shows to be a number one show for five consecutive years. But, I would dare say the most important thing about Bill Cosby’s show is it wasn’t a show about a black family. It was a show about a family. Not that ‘The Jeffersons’ or ‘Different Strokes’ weren’t about family. But, they were regularly addressing the fact that they were black. The Cosby’s happened to be a family that was black. Cosby decided not to address race issues on the show. His belief being that having a successful show and getting more white audiences was better than alienating them. That white people relating to a black family and seeing that they have the same problems and difficulties as a white family was a better message to send. He appears to have been right. In 1990 apartheid South Africa ‘The Cosby Show’ was the number one show among whites.