In a rare phone interview, Bill Cosby recently discussed his reasons for staying on the road and touring with his unique brand of comedy, which he will bring to the City Auditorium on Sunday night.
What keeps me performing comedy? As opposed to what? Cosby laughed. Its the excitement. There is a feeling that I think most human beings, regardless of where they live in this world, understand that generally if people laugh they are very, very happy. So, if I do something, say something and I am appreciating what I am doing as a performer or entertainer, and I cause laughter, well, thats a wonderful feeling. I love seeing people happy and smiling. It gives me pleasure. And the reason I keep touring is because this is done better in an auditorium as opposed to sitting in my house trying to make my wife and children laugh.
Cosby said it was a remedial English class in college that fostered his desire to make others understand him.
When I was a 23-year-old freshman in 1960, dedicated to getting a degree from Temple University in health, physical education and recreation, I decided that a great teacher would know everything. So for the first time in about 14 and half years, I put my whole self into whatever my assignments were, Cosby said. While sitting in remedial English, I decided to put my whole self into the assignment of writing a 750-word composition. I picked a subject and I went at it and I went deep and never let myself talk myself out of writing the correct thing. For that mighty effort, I was rewarded with a C-. Dont forget this is remedial English.
I did not try to be funny. All I did was try to make the reader see and feel what my experience was. I have always been that person, trying to make my reader, listener or viewer understand what Im talking about. This is essential in comedy. How many times have you heard someone tell a joke and when no one laughed, follow it up with you had to be there?
Cosby said he decided to do a show in Macon since he hasnt been here in quite awhile.
There is a very nice promoter who called and said, you havent been to Macon in a while, Cosby said. The last time you were here, he said, you did a good show. Why dont you come on back? I told him that if he promised me a sold-out show filled with people ready to have a good time, Id come on down. Otherwise, Im sending a bill! Looks like Ill see you soon, Macon! Come on out and see me back!
In a moment of seriousness, Cosby encouraged readers to love and live together, despite their differences.
I want all of your readers -- whether they come to the show or not -- to understand that in these times, it appears that this nation is beginning to exercise a feeling of divisiveness, he said. It is just a feeling, and Id like people to check themselves on that, because we need each other. History proves that divided we fall. Lets try to make some sense in a humanitarian way and laugh and love and live with each other, at least for a night.
When: 7 p.m. May 11
Where: City Auditorium, 415 First St.
Information: www.ticketmaster.com, 800-745-3000