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Cosby Leaves Roanokers Rolling in the Aisles

The many faces of Cosby: Bill Cosby gave his audience at the Roanoke Civic Center lots of laughs with his wonderful wit and hilarious antics.

In a bygone era entertainers had to depend on good writing, good subject matter, and their own talent to entertain an audience and get laughs.  Whether it was in the movies, radio, TV, or stand up comedy,  great comedians like Milton Berle, Flip Wilson, Red Skelton, Jackie Gleason, and many others could entertain for hours and never use an off color word.  Use of profanity was the fastest way to be shunned by the public and dropped by networks and other mediums.  In the movie “Gone With The Wind”  Clark Gable shocked the world by saying “Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn.”  Just the use of that one word caused a cascade of complaints and criticisms from all directions.

Things changed after that and today most comedians rely on a steady stream of “off color”  language to get laughs and entertain their audiences.

Except Bill Cosby.

Cosby has been in the entertainment business in a variety of ways since 1962 and has yet to ever utter one word of profanity in any of his many shows.  Once again, on Friday night at the Roanoke Civic Center, to a packed house, he kept his audience howling with side splitting humor for over 2 hours and never once used an offensive word.  His animated delivery and homespun stories relating to his life as a parent, grandparent, and husband are delivered in a way that everyone in the audience can identify with.  Even when he gently touched on the subject of erectile dysfunction saying when he heard the term “he thought it was some kind of dinosaur”  it was said in such a way that no one could be offended.  Or when one of his children said “I did not ask to be born” he told her that “when she was swimming toward the egg she could have made a left hand turn” it wasn’t his fault she didn’t.

He says he intends to “hurt your face” with laughter and he does.

Bill  has been married for 46 years to Camille, and one gets the impression that she runs the household when he describes a statement made by their gardener who said “we both work for the same woman.”

Cosby got his start in the early sixties with appearances on the “Tonight Show” and went on to create “Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids,” “The Cosby Show”  (one of the most successful shows ever on TV), and several others.

Cosby is also a strong advocate for public education and is very active in the black community in trying to get people to take responsibility for their children.  He has received honorary doctorates from over a dozen universities, the 2003 Bob Hope Humanitarian Award, Kennedy Center Honors, and many others.

He keeps up with all of the modern means of communication by being on Facebook and Twitter.  At the age of 73 Cosby shows no signs of slowing down, as he left Roanoke immediately following his performance to go to his next show.

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