The Science of Cosby
June 26, 2009 10:18 AM   Subscribe

The Great Cosby Experiment 09. "As of the last actual count we have 185 Cosbies!"
posted by Powerful Religious Baby (59 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite

 
Woderous! I like the one with tentacles bursting out of his eye socket.
posted by Neofelis at 10:23 AM on June 26, 2009


...you know, I can think of several celebrities who endrose or have endorsed stuff; why is Bill Cosby SO closely associated with Jell-o products, still? I mean, I think of him (mainly) as the Jell-o guy too--but why?
posted by Neofelis at 10:24 AM on June 26, 2009


Given that the categories overlap, that pie chart is completely non-representative of useful data.

But I still like this.
posted by Plutor at 10:26 AM on June 26, 2009


Oh man, I love how so many people highlighted his weird scat-speak thing. Why isn't the Cosby Show on Hulu yet?
posted by padraigin at 10:29 AM on June 26, 2009


I mean, I think of him (mainly) as the Jell-o guy too--but why?

My guess is that you are about 30, and you watched a lot of cartoons from 1980-1985 or so. Advertising works!
posted by peep at 10:30 AM on June 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


Croops, this bit ought to have gone in my more inside, here it is anyway:

Nedroid has been famous on Metafilter before, because he is so, so incredible. However, a separate post really ought to be devoted to Laserpony Studios, his comic collaborations with Emmy C. Roberts Quest, in particular, remains unsurpassed in all of graphic literature.
posted by Powerful Religious Baby at 10:31 AM on June 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


This is great!
posted by ElmerFishpaw at 10:33 AM on June 26, 2009


You could fill a house with all these Cosbys.
posted by orme at 10:33 AM on June 26, 2009 [11 favorites]


To me, he's the Picture Pages guy.
posted by padraigin at 10:34 AM on June 26, 2009 [4 favorites]


Here is my word portrait of Bill Cosby:

I first heard of Bill Cosby by listening to the Dr. Demento Show. Dr. D played Bill Cosby's 200 MPH sketch. So I went to the library and checked out 200 MPH on a 33 1/3 LP, and never returned it.

Later, Bill Cosby made The Cosby Show, and most of the early episodes cribbed large chunks of his stand up routines, which made them brilliant, and widely loved. Unfortunately when the Cosby Stand Up Brilliance ran out The Cosby Show became little more than a generic family sitcom, which remained widely loved.

This is how Bill Cosby taught me that TV sucks and there are enough stupid people out there with no taste to support any worthless thing, from Saturday Night Live to the Bush Administration.
posted by Reverend John at 10:42 AM on June 26, 2009 [4 favorites]


What, no love for Fat Albert?
posted by absalom at 10:44 AM on June 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


Starring Gilbert Gottfried as Bill Cosby.
posted by Bernt Pancreas at 10:46 AM on June 26, 2009


Needs more cake for breakfast.
posted by DU at 10:46 AM on June 26, 2009


why is Bill Cosby SO closely associated with Jell-o products, still? I mean, I think of him (mainly) as the Jell-o guy too--but why?

I think largely because that's one of the things every comic doing a Cosby impression (i.e., pretty much every black stand-up comic working) in the 80's seized on. It was that slightly scat-ish speech rhythm, the bobbing of the head while pursing the lips, the cigar, and talking about Jell-O.
posted by EarBucket at 10:47 AM on June 26, 2009


Let's not forget Kodak Film or New Coke®!

(Good Lord, why do I remember these..?)
posted by indiebass at 10:50 AM on June 26, 2009


"About thirty?" Absurd! I'm a mere twenty six, so...oh, crap. I guess I was about the right age to absorb the brunt of his spokesmanship. Hmph. But it also seems like the rest of the world thinks of Cosby mostly as the Jell-o fellow.

Or maybe that's just the easiest and funniest thing to caricature.

Works for me!

Puddin'.
posted by Neofelis at 10:51 AM on June 26, 2009


This is how Bill Cosby taught me that TV sucks and there are enough stupid people out there with no taste to support any worthless thing, from Saturday Night Live to the Bush Administration.

Glad to know you find the comedy stylings of Dan Aykroyd, John Belushi, Chevy Chase, Stephen Colbert, Billy Crystal, Jane Curtin, Joan Cusack, Larry David, Robert Downey, Jr., Jimmy Fallon, Chris Farley, Will Ferrell, Tina Fey, Janeane Garofalo, Gilbert Gottfried, Phil Hartman, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Dennis Miller, Tracy Morgan, Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Bill Murray, Conan O'Brien, Amy Poehler, Gilda Radner, Chris Rock, Maya Rudolph, Adam Sandler, Rob Schneider, Molly Shannon, Harry Shearer, Martin Short, Sarah Silverman, David Spade, Ben Stiller, Damon Wayans and many more to be worthless.

I'll be sure to query you when Two Men and a Baby is on.
posted by Christ, what an asshole at 10:56 AM on June 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


You know, these are pretty great.

And then you see this one, and it's like "fried chicken, dude? really?"

also, my own post on multiple cosbys from way back.
posted by shmegegge at 10:59 AM on June 26, 2009


Love this one.

I have three or four of his old comedy records, they're terrific. I had the good fortune of seeing Cosby at my college a couple of years ago, and he was hysterical. I love that man.
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 10:59 AM on June 26, 2009


Given that the categories overlap, that pie chart is completely non-representative of useful data.

We tried to think of a way to accurately represent the data in a chart or graph, but in the end we went with an inaccurate pie chart because people like pie.
posted by Nedroid at 10:59 AM on June 26, 2009 [6 favorites]


It's a House of Cosbys reunion!

But where's Cosby Team Triosby? And what happened to Mitchell and Cosbyette's baby?
posted by erniepan at 11:07 AM on June 26, 2009


...you know, I can think of several celebrities who endrose or have endorsed stuff; why is Bill Cosby SO closely associated with Jell-o products, still? I mean, I think of him (mainly) as the Jell-o guy too--but why?

Because he's a very charismatic performer, and his delivery, particularly in the Jello Pudding Pop commercials, is stylized and unique. Padragin's comparison to scat singing is apt, there is an odd, rhythmic quality to his speech. He was pushing it, too, mugging and sing-songing, almost doing a parody of himself. It worked well for the product. The commercials were ubiquitous for a while; even if you didn't watch The Cosby Show, you knew those ads. In fact, someone could be unfamiliar with anything else Bill Cosby has ever done and probably still do an impression of him shilling Pudding Pops.

In my own mind, I can't even extricate the brand from the man. If I see the phrase "Jello Pudding Pops" I can't help but hear Bill Cosby's voice in my head. And when I hear him talk, I find myself thinking about Pudding Pops.

I wish I had time to draw a Cosby, and pay homage to the glory that is The Cosby Sweater.
posted by louche mustachio at 11:08 AM on June 26, 2009


...and someone call John Hodgman, stat!
posted by erniepan at 11:09 AM on June 26, 2009


Generic Family comedy? Cosby Show was the mold by which all others were cast, NBC would exist today if it were not for bill cosby.

As a poor white/hispanic person who because of geography (not bigotry) knew very few black people in my youth, this and it's spin off "A Different world" totally formed my opinion of black people. I still remember the night of the last episode and being the only fourth grader who watched cosby instead of the simpsons.

The 80's sitcom is an art that is dead and will never be resurrected. In some cases (the TGIF line-ups) it's a good thing, but i would consider the cosby show a gem of the time.

I also liked "cosby" the short lived "one foot in the grave" homage/american version.

Maybe I am just one of the "dumb masses" though. I mean, i do want to be a tv comedy writer myself.
posted by djduckie at 11:17 AM on June 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


I used to listen to a lot of old(er than me) Bill Cosby routines as a kid. I think because of that, I most frequently associate Bill Cosby with The Chicken Heart that Ate New York City.
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 11:22 AM on June 26, 2009 [2 favorites]


It's too bad so many people associate him with sitcoms and advertising because he was brilliant as a stand-up. I saw him live in my college days and walked out of the performance with my rib cage physically sore from laughing so hard.

If he has to be linked with Jell-O, let it be "No Chickenheart is gonna get near me with smoke and fire and Jell-O."
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 11:22 AM on June 26, 2009


Generic Family comedy? Cosby Show was the mold by which all others were cast, NBC would exist today if it were not for bill cosby.

Wouldn't, sorry.
posted by djduckie at 11:24 AM on June 26, 2009


He was at my college this last semester, but the tickets were sold out before i got wind of it. i was bummed.
posted by djduckie at 11:25 AM on June 26, 2009


Ha! Jinx, CheeseDigestsAll!
(At the same time, no less!)
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 11:25 AM on June 26, 2009


Funny how none of the drawings on the first page (I couldn't make it past that) don't look much like Cosby.
posted by Seekerofsplendor at 11:29 AM on June 26, 2009


As much as this is amusing, I have to say that prior to this, I had no association with Jell-o (we call it jelly) and Cosby.

Scatting, "Dad" jokes, big knitted jumpers (sweaters) yes, but jelly or any type of pudding, no.
posted by pivotal at 11:33 AM on June 26, 2009


I like how more than a few have pokey man in them. We are a generation that speaks exclusively in Simpsons quotes.
posted by ND¢ at 11:34 AM on June 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


I take lots of showers cuz it makes it look like I have more pubes.
posted by autodidact at 11:34 AM on June 26, 2009


No pound cake mentions?
posted by gushn at 11:36 AM on June 26, 2009


The Cos in fine form on the Dick Cavett show. (You can see Jack Benny busting a gut at about the 7:58 mark.)
posted by Atom Eyes at 11:41 AM on June 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


Pokey man

Pokey man


Pokey man

Pokey man
posted by ND¢ at 11:42 AM on June 26, 2009


Bill Cosby sings Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band
posted by Flood at 11:44 AM on June 26, 2009 [4 favorites]


omg dying

When i took a comedy improv class (also for science) the only scene i was funny in was this game called Cosby Tag where no matter what the scene changed into you had to be Bill Cosby the whole time. my impression of the Cos is basically an epileptic with tourettes whose tics are limited his speech to screaming about frozen dessert products and the names of his fictional children so despite ruining every narrative they attempted i think it went over pretty good.

(can you imagine meeting bill cosby? it'd be such a shock if he talks in regular sentences.)
posted by Potomac Avenue at 11:57 AM on June 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


Can't sleep; Cosby will eat me.
posted by the littlest brussels sprout at 12:05 PM on June 26, 2009


The Great Big Mulp, I bet you used to steal baby coach wheels.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 12:07 PM on June 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


It's interesting that no one here remembers him for I, Spy, or Mother, Jugs and Speed.
posted by JHarris at 12:10 PM on June 26, 2009


Hm, the image page seems to be down.
posted by JHarris at 12:14 PM on June 26, 2009


I heard Michael Jackson's death killed Livejournal.
posted by Pronoiac at 12:22 PM on June 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


"As of the last actual count we have 185 Cosbies!"

Great Scott--That's nearly 0.2 Kilocosbies! Think of the forces you're toying with, man!
posted by Horace Rumpole at 12:30 PM on June 26, 2009 [12 favorites]


One of my close family members has met Billy Cosby and attests that he showed up for a speaking engagement in sweatpants and cheap sunglasses and that he does speak EXACTLY like that.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 12:31 PM on June 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


My dad's contribution makes me happy. He was heartbroken to miss the official cut-off.

These are all great, though.


I'm still feeling guilty for only really knowing the man's work via puddin' commercials. I was a staunch Simpsons partisan back when that was an issue, and maybe I subconsiously retained an anti-Cosby prejudice to this very day.

Youtube will, perhaps, fix this for me when I get home tonight.
posted by Neofelis at 12:42 PM on June 26, 2009


Paging Komar and Melamid.
posted by not_on_display at 12:43 PM on June 26, 2009


Glad to know you find the comedy stylings of ... blah blah blah.

A large proportion of your favorite commedians suck.
posted by Reverend John at 12:56 PM on June 26, 2009


funny thing is, i don't think they even make those pudding pops any more. and they were good. and now i want one. thanks, advertising!
posted by sexyrobot at 1:22 PM on June 26, 2009


What, no love for Leonard Part VI?
posted by Saxon Kane at 1:29 PM on June 26, 2009


Not the Cosby's (NSFW) Oh my.
posted by cazoo at 1:57 PM on June 26, 2009


What, no love for Leonard Part VI?

No.
posted by Servo5678 at 2:25 PM on June 26, 2009 [2 favorites]


I saw him perform this year, and I have to tell you, it was much better than I was expecting. (I was dragged there by my girlfriend.) It's sort of difficult to describe his performance, which isn't really traditional stand-up so much as it is listening to your elderly and slightly unhinged uncle hold forth on whatever it is that's bothering him. Except he's, y'know, really funny.
posted by Rangeboy at 2:50 PM on June 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


> That was fantastic.
posted by device55 at 3:02 PM on June 26, 2009


My wife can't do impersonations. No matter what impersonation she attempts it always ends up being Bill Cosby. Nixon? Cosby. Cagney? Cosby. But when you ask her to do Cosby she just stares at you and says with zero inflection "Frizzle Frazzle Pudd'n Pop?"

It's like some sort of genetic disorder.
posted by tkchrist at 4:20 PM on June 26, 2009 [9 favorites]


I have been watching The Cosby Show from start to finish this summer- every single season is on DVD. I had heard rumors, mentioned above, that the later seasons stop being funny, but it's not true. There is less funny, mainly because Bill Cosby seems older and more tired, there's less Theo/Cliff craziness (they try to replace it with SIL/Cliff craziness, but it ain't the same), and because they throw Olivia and her mugging into every scene they can (even when it doesn't make sense- why the heck is Olivia at the Cosbys' house when Martin and Denise are in Korea?), but there are still many great moments. Watch "Isn't It Romantic" or "I'm In with the In Crowd" from season 6, for instance. Even in the more toned down later seasons, the stories still seem out-of-the-box, like when Vanessa comes home engaged to an almost-30 maintenance man from her school. And then the Cosbys start to like him and it ticks Vanessa off! I heard someone describe the show as "dated" the other day, and I was shocked, because it rarely feels that way to me (except when, go figure, the family starts talking about their love of Michael Jackson).
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 11:20 PM on June 26, 2009 [3 favorites]


This would be better if it was called The Revealing Science of Cos.
posted by Eideteker at 12:14 AM on June 27, 2009


Bill Cosby contributed to more than his fair share of great music over the years:

Hikky-Burr
Little Ole Man
Badfoot Brown & the Bunions Bradford Funeral Marching Band

But..."Well, at one time, you've got it, and then you lose it, and it's gone forever."
posted by The Card Cheat at 8:40 AM on June 27, 2009


The text on one of the images mentioned some of the "alternate" Cosbys, and I realized, man, Cosby's been everywhere! Take a look at his imdb page.

He began his career doing standup in the Richard Pryor days. I've not heard much of the really early stuff, but I hear that it was actually not far from Pryor's stuff, although maybe a bit cleaner. Some of his later standup includes his growing up in Philadelphia stories, which it turns out are pretty much certainly fabrications. That was where Fat Albert originated from. Those stories, in my opinion, are pretty much the funniest things ever, especially the two bits that introduced Fat Albert, the ones with Buck Buck and the Frankenstein's Monster statue. Also, 9th Street Bridge (which should be heard before the two Fat Albert ones).

His stand-up got him his breakout role playing opposite Robert Culp in I, Spy.

It seems there have been no fewer than four Cosby Shows: "The Bill Cosby Show", "The New Bill Cosby Show", "The Cosby Show" and "Cosby."

He had occasional bits on The Electric Company. Also, remember, in classic Sesame Street, there was a recurring cartoon bit involving a typewriter roaming around, saying something like "new-na-new-na-new... NEW-na-new-na-new-na-new...." before demonstrating the letter of the day? The voice was Bill Cosby's!

Picture Pages! With Bill Cosby! With Mortimer Ichabod Marker!

His early movies (besides concert film Bill Cosby, Himself, which as near as I can tell was on HBO more time than not in the 80s) include Mother, Jugs and Speed and The Devil and Max Devlin. Then there came a point where he seemed incapable of making a good movie, which brought us to the lamentable Leonard, Part 6 and Ghost Dad.

Oh, then there's the Fat Albert cartoon show, which despite not being incredibly funny and really poorly animated (produced by Filmation, the kings of limited animation) has managed to persist in the cultural mindspace enough to make a kind of weird, half-mocking movie later on.

Oh, and THEN there's Little Bill, from Nick Jr. relatively recently.

So what happened to the man in all that time? He got married, had kids, spoke hilariously about his experiences raising them, then much later had to bury one of those same kids after he fel victim to roadside violence.

He also had an affair that went public maybe 10, 15 years ago, but for some reason we don't tend to remember that. For some reason it's not just that we like Bill Cosby, it's that we want to like him. He's arguably as popular as Michael Jackson, but even with all the "zibble zabbles" and stray bits of personality sticking out, he's far more normal-seeming.

I personally hope he lives 300 years.
posted by JHarris at 10:00 AM on June 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


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