Bill Cosby is not currently in prison at the moment. That’s thanks to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, which vacated, back in 2021, the sexual assault conviction that had put him there, arguing that prosecutors had violated the comedian’s due process rights during his original trial on sexual assault charges. Despite that technical freedom, though, Cosby’s reputation, and his image as America’s genial, sweater-clad dad, has been more-or-less utterly destroyed for the majority of people, courtesy of the years’ worth of reports about his predatory behavior toward women that had led up to the initial conviction.
The question of how to tackle the hole left behind when a giant of Cosby’s stature is revealed to have feet of clay appears to be at the center of W. Kamau Bell’s new Showtime docuseries We Need To Talk About Cosby. The new trailer for the four-part series features several snippets of Bell himself— who notes how obviously in the pocket he was for Cosby by self-describing as “a Black man, a stand-up comic…born in the ’70s”—trying to come to terms with the truth about his now-former hero.
Not that it’s all Bell talking in the trailer, mind you, which foregrounds an enormous number of people—including, notably, a large number of Black women—as they talk about what Cosby meant to them before the allegations against him became public, and what his image has become in the years since. The focus, at least from initial brush, is less on what Cosby is alleged to have done—we’re all fairly well-versed on the details at this point—but on what it felt like, especially for Black Americans, to have a personal hero reveal himself to be so much less, and so much worse, than he presented himself as being.
Bell directed all four episodes of We Need To Talk About Cosby. The series will air at Sundance on January 22, and is set to begin streaming on January 30.