Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Laugh with Bill Cosby

Iconic entertainer to visit Sun Valley


By SABINA DANA PLASSE
Express Staff Writer

Bill Cosby will perform at the Sun Valley Pavilion today, June 22, at 7:30 p.m. Courtesy photo

     Whatever an audience might associate with Bill Cosby, Jell-O, “The Cosby Show,” “I Spy,” “Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids” or stand-up comedy, the man knows how to make people laugh.

     At 28, he created the characters Fat Albert and his friends the Cosby Kids, based on his childhood growing up in Philadelphia.

     “These guys were invented from true life and fiction,” Cosby said. “All of these rag-tag guys had something wrong with them.”

     The Emmy-winning cartoon “Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids” began airing in the 1970s and was made into a film in 2004.

     “In those days, a fat person might have been a bully, not intelligent, always someone to laugh at and certainly not a decision maker or leader,” he said. “If we look at the Fat Albert I invented, we have just the opposite. He got that way because he was the guy who played football and basketball better and he had common sense, cared about things and had a huge heart. He goes against the grain of a stereotype.”

      Cosby said he wished he had been more advanced about females in the show.

     “I have a ton of daughters, so now I know,” he said. “When I did Fat Albert the movie, the girl who is the love interest cannot trust falling in love.”

     Cosby said he is still discovering these stories truly make people smile and laugh.

     “It’s funny because it’s different,” he said. “With Bill Cosby the story teller, it’s about rhythm and pauses. The pauses happen because I love them. The pause is a path to listening.”

     Other accomplishments include roles on the children’s educational show “Electric Company” and creating and producing the Emmy Award-winning “Little Bill,” which is based on Cosby’s bestselling book series.

      Cosby’s great contribution to American entertainment and culture is “The Cosby Show,” about a close-knit, upper class black family. Cosby said his intent was to portray an American family. “Time” magazine called the show “an encouraging sign of maturity in matters of race.”

     “The Cosby Show” dominated the number one television sitcom spot for years, earning nearly unanimous critical praise. Life magazine described the program as “a gentle, whimsical, warmhearted” show whose “delicious ordinariness of its pleasures and tribulations has given millions a fresh, laughter-splashed perspective on their own domestic lives.”

     Cosby has received the Kennedy Center Honors, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, America’s highest civilian honor, the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor and the Marian Anderson Award.

     Cosby will perform at the Sun Valley Pavilion today, June 22, at 7:30 p.m. Tickets—which vary in price from $29 to $81.25—are available online at seats.sunvalley.com or by calling the Sun Valley Recreation Office at 622-2135.

Sabina Dana Plasse: splasse@mtexpress.com




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