Far From Funny.
What most vexes me about Bill Cosby is not his refusal to use profanity – but his holier-than-thou attitude towards people who do. And that’s everyone else. It has become such an obsession with him that he opens his latest comedy special, FAR FROM FINISHED, whining about the fact that he doesn’t swear and other comedians do. And on THE DAILY SHOW to promote this TV special, he opened his interview chastising Jon Stewart for swearing at an event they both performed at. Give it a rest, Bill! FUCK!
BILL COSBY: FAR FROM FINISHED (filmed at Cerritos Performing Arts Center in Los Angeles) is not “classic” Cosby. Matter of fact, we need to ask ourselves exactly what “classic Cosby” is. Cosby is a megastar due to the myriad entertainment projects he has been involved in over the last five decades, from standup comedy to movies, production and comedy albums. And when we look back at his last standup special thirty years ago (1983’s BILL COSBY: HIMSELF), we realize The Cos was pretty mundane even in his “classic” period! Yes, there were some major laughs in that special, and Cosby’s delivery has always been comedic gold. But he has never been “edgy,” he has never been anything but safe and sound; his comedy is prosaic recounting of family anecdotes and shallow observations, albeit delivered in that unique Cosby lilt that lends it its humor.
Back then, Cosby insinuated himself into the mainstream by being not at the forefront of comedy, but right amongst the pack. He crossed racial lines by specifically NOT talking about race. Or politics. Or religion. Or anything else of any import that might cause the white folks to quiver in fear. He became, in effect, the first white black comedian.
Fast-forward thirty years, and Cosby – in pulling out his same shtick – is now well behind the comedy curve. Oh, there are still some great laughs, astute observations and humorous metaphors (“Chess is marriage – the queen moves anywhere she wants… and the King, he’s moving one square…”), and his delivery is still unmistakably Cosbyesque, but in the end, there’s nothing there. As political pundits like to say – in one of the stupider axioms in a stupid-axiom milieu – “There’s no ‘there’ there.”
Pryor, Murphy, Lawrence, Chappelle, Mooney – they’re ALL better than Cosby as standup comedians, even in Cosby’s heyday; not to mention the greatest of them all (some will find this blasphemy, some, epiphany), Chris Rock. Cosby is a legend because he homogenized himself in the industry, and was precisely NOT like any of them – insightful, abrasive, cutting edge, political.
His body of work and his sustained success cannot be shrugged off lightly – the man IS a legend – but in this latest effort, Cosby simply spends his time railing about his kids annoying him and the emasculation of himself in his marriage. Heard it 30 years ago, Bill. Get some new material or learn how to fuckin’ swear…