TACOMA, Wash. – Bill Cosby has not stopped. The comic who had audiences in tears of laughter when television was king and records were plastic discs, has never given up the spotlight.
And though you may still be nurturing the memory of that evocative “Riggggght,” or the “visit to the dentist” routine, or Fat Albert and his gang—Bill Cosby has moved on. The star of family comedy has stepped into the age of the Internet and social media with all his funniness and intelligence intact.
Want a Bill Cosby app for your iPhone? You got it. A fan of rap? Try Cosby’s album The Cosnarati: State of Emergency. Hear about that Hello JELL-O “best giggle in America” contest? Yup, that was Cosby, this time behind the camera.
On Sunday, Feb. 10, 2013, Bill Cosby will remind Northwest audiences what great family humor is in a public performance at University of Puget Sound. The not-to-be-missed, stand-up comedy event will be held in Memorial Fieldhouse, starting at 7:30 p.m. Tickets for campus members go on sale Tuesday, Nov. 20, and for the public on Wednesday, Nov. 21. Prices and directions to campus are below.
Cosby’s appearance is one event of many planned for Puget Sound’s year-long celebration of its 125th Anniversary in 2013—a birthday bash will recognize the college’s founding on March 17, 1888.
Bill Cosby, through grit, energy, and a take on life that is funny, raw, and often unnervingly true, continues to be one of the most influential stars in America. The winner of seven Grammy Awards for best comedy album and four Emmy Awards for his television roles, Cosby disseminates his sage, wry views about parents and children, and love and conflict, through a gamut of characters who bring us face to face with the ridiculous in ourselves. Most recently the Cosby wit is making its rounds through his new book, I Didn’t Ask to be Born (But I’m Glad I Was).
The television and stage star, now 75, initially rose to international prominence with his album Bill Cosby is a Very Funny Fellow, Right?; then with The Bill Cosby Show (1969–71) and The Cosby Show (1984–92); as well as with best-selling books such asFatherhood and Time Flies. These were followed by a plethora of concert appearances, record albums, books, television shows and movie dramas, and his return to the small screen with Cosby (1996–2000).
Cosby’s early fame allowed him to portray new television visions of African Americans to white viewers. His 1960s co-starring role with Robert Culp in I Spy—in which the duo played spies disguised as tennis bums—is credited with helping break the racial barriers in television dramas. Later Cosby pursued social issues in new contexts. Among his television productions are two educational shows: Concern, dealing with his concern for schoolchildren; and Prejudice, a spoof on prejudice and nearsighted hang-ups.
However, Cosby’s blunt views also have brought him controversy. In 2004 at an NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of colored People) dinner in Washington, D.C., he criticized low-income African American parents, claiming many were too ready to blame the “system” and were failing to make their children’s success their first priority. The comedian’s unrestrained spiel was met with deep-freeze stares from the audience and excoriating headlines across the country.
Since then Cosby has published a book explaining his views in a more accommodating tone—a book that includes ideas offered by African Americans at town hall meetings across the country. Come on People: On the Path from Victims to Victors urges parents to do right by their children, through education, example, and effort.
Cosby’s lifelong contributions to American culture were recognized with a Kennedy Center Honor in 1998 and the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2002. He received the 2009 Mark Twain Prize for American Humor and Major League Baseball’s Beacon of Hope Award for his civil rights work, as well as a 2010 honor from his hometown, Philadelphia, the Marian Anderson Award.
The Temple University graduate, who had planned to be a physical education teacher until his talent for stand-up comedy was discovered in Greenwich Village, earned a Master of Education degree in 1972 and a Doctor of Education degree in 1977 from University of Massachusetts.
FOR TICKETS: order online at http://tickets.pugetsound.edu or call Wheelock Information Center to purchase with a credit card at 253.879.6013. Admission is $25 for general seating and $50 for prime seating. Tickets can be purchased by current University of Puget Sound students, faculty, and staff with ID at the discounted price of $15 (general seating only; limit one discounted ticket per person). Any remaining tickets will be available at the door.
Press photos of Bill Cosby can be downloaded from: www.pugetsound.edu/pressphotos
Photos on page: Top left: Bill Cosby and singer and actress Lena Horne; Above right: Bill Cosby and Robert Culp in I Spy; Above left: Life magazine cover.
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