Making a rare appearance at a small Philadelphia club, Bill Cosby dropped in to perform a set before an intimate audience last night, regaling them with amusing anecdotes, sitting in with the band, and patently ignoring dozens of sexual assault accusations. Though he’s more or less been out of the public eye since 2015, by all accounts the show found this seasoned veteran slipping effortlessly back into his old routine of fluid comedic storytelling and pretending like the dozens of women who say he drugged and forced himself upon them over the decades are lying nonentities who should in no way intrude on his spotlight. The Cos has still got it!
Cosby—who just flew into Philadelphia to prepare for his second trial on aggravated indecent assault charges, and boy are his arms tired—popped into LaRose Jazz Club after only announcing the gig a few hours prior, ensuring the show remained a surprise to attendees and potential protesters. According to reports, Cosby kept things loose, wholesome, and blissfully ignorant, spending his routine reminiscing about his childhood and his funny old Uncle William, poking fun at his struggles with age and encroaching blindness, and never once mentioning the fact that the prosecutor in his April 2 trial recently filed a motion to allow 19 different women to testify that he had drugged and assaulted them in order to establish a pattern of predatory behavior for the jury.
He also played the drums!
Cosby has reportedly been on this sort of “charm offensive” in the weeks leading up his retrial, which follows the first trial that ended in a hung jury last summer, and will take place in a radically altered climate in which many men who are not Bill Cosby have seen swift, decisive consequences for their own sexual misconduct. Two weeks ago, The Philadelphia Inquirer followed Cosby to an Italian restaurant with other invited journalists to watch him eat pasta and shut down relevant questions, where he also joked to a female reporter, “I just shook your hand like a man … Please don’t put me on #MeToo.” Meanwhile, Cosby’s Twitter account has been posting videos of him yukking it up with fans in a local barbershop while showing his support for the Philadelphia Eagles, a distraction he greatly admires. In all of these appearances, his set at LaRose included, Cosby has been warmly greeted by admirers laughing at his jokes, posing for selfies, and tamping down any possible misgivings being silently screamed at them by their conscience.
In one such adorable interaction that took place at Monday’s gig, Cosby chatted with an 11-year-old boy, who deadpanned that Cosby “used to be a comedian”—as direct a reference as has been made to the implosion of Cosby’s career, after he was accused of being one of the most pathological serial sexual predators to have ever used his fame and power to get away with it for so long. Indeed, kids say the darnedest things!
Asked by NPR reporter Bobby Allyn whether he thought the #MeToo movement he’s laughed about, along with the growing national feeling that enough is enough when it comes to this shit, could potentially influence the jurors in his case against him this time around, Allyn says Cosby, “shrugged in an animated way, put on a goofy smile and said, ‘I don’t know!’”
Wow! When it comes to comedy or blithely shrugging off allegations of monstrous behavior, is this man ever not “on”?