Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Bill Cosby

Friday night at the Chicago Theater I ticked off another life goal; Renee and I saw Bill Cosby.

The man is 73 years old. I know this because he started many bits with it. And he hasn't lost a step. Sure, he's slower than he was but like the greats he shifted his persona to match his speed. Pauses became pregnant. Anticipation ran higher on each set-up. And the audience was glued to every word.

When Ed Murray and I were working at the Improv we used to marvel at "Bill Cosby: Himself". "The man sat down!" We couldn't believe he'd have that much control over the stage to not hold his ground. Now he's even more relaxed in an oversized sweatshirt, sweatpants and crocs, wearing a wireless mike around his ear. No frills.

Two hours. No opener. No introduction. Some crowd work. All new material. He's still telling stories of his childhood which became the basis of "Fat Albert" in the 1970's. He's still telling stories of his wife and children which became the basis of "The Cosby Show" in the 1980's. But now he has grandparent stories, as sharply defined as any material he's ever done.

In "Jerry Seinfeld: Comedian", there's a scene where Chris Rock urges Jerry to go see Bill Cosby. "All new material. Killer." That movie was five years ago and Chris Rock can rest assured, it's still true.

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