Wednesday, June 5, 2013

MY WIFE AND I WERE INTELLECTUALS BEFORE WE HAD CHILDREN:  We just passed the 30th anniversary of the release of Bill Cosby: Himself, and so GQ gathered seven top comedians to discuss its awesomeness. Jerry Seinfeld notes:
What you were seeing here was a guy who could go through so many layers of rock in exploring a comedic premise. All his bits, they're so detailed and developed. He paints murals as opposed to pictures, and that's what really separates him. Not only do you have to have that comedic skill but you also have a tremendous gift of stage presence to hold the audience's attention that long. Comedians, we don't take pauses like him. If I took a pause like that, by the time I started talking again half the room would be empty. But the audience has such natural confidence in him, and he has in himself, and that's a bond. That they're gonna wait. They trust him. They know he's taking them somewhere good. That's when you can take a pause like that.
Witness: "Jeffrey."


  1. Marsha11:36 AM

    30 years - wow. That's one of the first pop culture things I remember my whole family bonding over. It was on constantly when we first got cable, and we would sit down and watch it as a family all the time. My whole family can recite large chunks of it, and it has only gotten funnier and more resonant as I had kids of my own. (My husband and I regularly recite, "Get in the shower. Turn ON the water. Please. Use. Soap." among many other bits.)

    Will have to go read the article now.

  2. lisased12:13 PM

    Sometimes, when we are explaining the various steps of a seemingly simple request, we just give up and say, "Please. Use. Soap."

  3. Was just going to post the same thing as Marsha. I watched this all the time when I was around eight years old, and I remember laughing so hard I got a headache. It's just as funny to see it from the kid's perspective as from the adult/parent's. And I also quote it all the time:
    "But Dad, I'm Jesus Christ!"
    "You have to say that, otherwise they'll just wander around the tub..."
    "This child is the one we call The Informer." (Now having a niece who's favorite words are "Guess what?" I relate to this even more now...)

  4. James A. Bell IV5:34 PM

    Bill Cosby was the first comedian whose bits I learned [tried] to imitate. Growing up on Why is There Air and I Started Out as Child, I tried to mimic every intonation, and every pause, and the sound of his joy in delivering his stories. I believe that he and Johnny Carson were enormous influences on my effectiveness at taking deposition. I don't know if I meet the 10,000 hour threshold of observing and practicing their timing, speech and mannerisms, but it wouldn't surprise me. Thinking of his early bits still makes me gleeful. The bit about his honeymoon with the punchline (and sometimes then even storytelling comedians had a punchline); "Why should I tell her?" sends me into gales of laughter, and is still something said by the men in my family whenever anyone asks how the water is...

  5. Christy in Philly7:44 AM

    Definitely agree with the other commenters. Our whole family-- three generations-- loved and quoted this endlessly. Another bit I still reference often: "Dad is great. He gives us chocolate cake."