Bill Cosby made audiences laugh – and cry – when he appeared at the College last Friday as part of the Celebration of the Arts series.
Cosby, who performed twice (at 6 p.m. and 9 p.m.), opened both shows with a tribute to Fred Rogers, a close friend of his who died in late February 2003. The Rogers tribute doubled as an opportunity for Cosby and his audiences to pay homage to the troops in Iraq.
“We pray for (the soldiers) to come home safely and vertically,” Cosby said. He then asked the audience to listen to Marion Anderson’s version of the “Ave Maria” and to focus their attention on an empty chair in the middle of the stage.
“This chair symbolizes all of those who are no longer with us,” Cosby said. “but I don’t want you look at this chair and be sad. I don’t want you to think about sad things. Instead, think of the good things about the people who are not here.”
His memorial impacted many people in attendance.
“I thought that the Mr. Rogers tribute was very noble of him,” Dave White, senior history/secondary education major, said. “It might have seemed a little long, but I think that what he said – about thinking good things about our loved ones – really gave people a chance to do that and to realize that maybe we don’t do that all too often.”
“I thought it was very touching to see that he cared so much about his friend,” Peter Dolcy, senior history/elementary education major, said. “It was a nice, unexpected addition to the show.”
Cosby followed his tribute with close to two hours of comedy that was well-received by the large audiences of students, faculty, alumni and Ewing residents.
“I really enjoyed his style,” Jessica Rotino, College alumnus who drove from Belleville, N.J. to see the show, said. “His comedy parodies day-to-day life. I could see my mother or father doing a lot of things that he was joking about.”
“I thought he was very funny,” Dolcy said. “I had no idea that I could laugh so hard at humor that wasn’t dirty.”
Cosby used different material in each performance. The 6 p.m. performance centered on marital life; the second show poked fun at college life. Both shows proved that Cosby . well, he says the darndest things. Here are some highlights:
On our generation: You have your girlfriends and your boyfriends and the people you call friends that you’re kissing. When I was growing up, you really told people “this is my girlfriend. This is the person that I am sucking lips with.”
On the elderly: There are no perverted old people.
On incongruity: Diamonds are a girl’s best friend. Man’s best friend is his dog.
On the difference between men and women: To a guy, a heel is a heel. It belongs on the back of a shoe. You don’t hear a guy say “where did you get the heel from? (pauses and carries on mock conversation) Where did you get that sweat sock?! Women do things like that.
On being the head of house: I was sitting at the dinner table and my daughter was over here and my son, over here and my wife was across from me. And I thought to myself “If I wasn’t working, these people would have me killed.”
On the battle of the sexes: The woman is gonna win. They’re gonna win. You know how they win. They say “I don’t want to talk about it anymore.” Then they slam about 40 doors so you can’t find them.
On the Boy Scout Motto: My wife asked me “what are you thinking about?” and I wasn’t prepared. Because I wasn’t thinking about anything. And she will never believe that you were thinking about nothing. So you learn to be prepared. “What are you thinking about?” “Oh . just bout how to build a railroad.”
On his golden rule: All you men have to understand is, after awhile, just stop fighting so hard. It’s worthless. (Your wife) is not your friend. Because you can talk to your friend. You can’t talk to her. And your wife will tell you that. She’ll say “you can’t talk to me like that!” Well, then, you’re not my friend!