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home : activities : arts & entertainment

10/17/2012 2:55:00 PM Email this articlePrint this article 
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Legendary entertainer Bill Cosby appears at the Town Toyota Center Saturday night.
Comedy legend Bill Cosby to perform in Wenatchee
Ian Dunn

Comedy legend Bill Cosby makes an appearance in Wenatchee Saturday night at the Town Toyota Center. You probably think the famous comedian has never been to Wenatchee before. But, surprisingly, this is not the case.

Cosby has been here two times, but it was a long time ago. He wondered if it was any easier to get to Wenatchee than 40 years ago. To him, Wenatchee looks like Canada. And, naturally, he will be performing in a facility used for hockey.

For most of us, Bill Cosby, 75, is an entertainer we have known a long time. Whether you saw him in the 60s on I-Spy, or in the '70s on his morning cartoon, or in the '90s on his number one TV show, Cosby has long been in the public eye.

One constant, and what really gave him his start, is the stand up comedy, which he still enjoys. The family based humor remains a constant, whether he is Washington or South Carolina in Virginia or English speaking parts of Mexico.

"It's about family and observations of other situations, husband and wife," Cosby said. "There's always something fresh. It comes from fresh people, like freshly picked apples."

His act has changed over the years. It is now 50 years old, he said, but it is not tired. It stays fresh.

"It keeps changing because of what I see. There are thoughts that come," he said. "I have gone from observation as a husband to observation as a father, family, and now some observational things on the experience of being a grandparent. There are also the observations of a guy whose friends are the same age."

He focuses on what he sees and hears, the choices he makes. It is observational of human beings and one's self, he said, which makes it absolutely wonderful.

"It is the connection of you in the audience and the performer," he said. "When you are performing...I am suing this guy. He's in my house, watching me and my wife and children. He is copying what we're doing. That keeps us together on stage. It keeps us sharing and enjoying. So that you get a feeling, you know what? I am not alone."

Cosby is always on the lookout for new material. When he see's something funny, he'll make a mental note, and then jot the idea down later.

When he does a show, there is a set routine, but he can also change based on the reactions of the audience. No matter where Cosby is performing, big city or small town, he can find something that works.

"In 50 years you retain a lot of stuff. You're armed. I have 50 years of experience working with an audience," he said.

It all started for him freshman year at Temple University in Philadelphia. He was 23 years old in remedial English. The professor asked the class to write a composition about the first time you ever did something.

"I went home and set the books on the table. I wanted to do something and make it different. It came down to 750 words telling how I pulled my tooth as a kid," he said. "The professor read the paper to the class."

His second paper was called, the Perfect Point. It was about getting that perfect point on pencil, only to see it ruined with the first stroke. The professor also read this to the class. It was an epiphany for young Cosby.

"Discovering that this way of thinking, I was not aware what I was doing was, this flow of consciousness, arranged on paper in a way that people were reading and were connecting and agreeing with what I was saying," he said.

In recent years, Cosby has been performing shows, but he also just recently wrote a book entitled, "I didn't ask to be born, but I am glad I was." It is a collection of humorous essays.

He is also trying to pitch some ideas for sit-coms, not on the big networks, but the smaller ones. Cosby is not interested in performing, but rather producing, writing and directing.

"Make some changes from these reality shows. Put on some family shows," he said. "Family that I used to know as opposed to people keep smiling and talking about reality."

Forty years ago, he never thought profanity would make its way onto regular TV.

"I never saw language changing where profanity is a form of entertainment, coming out as easily as, 'pass the salt, please,'" he said. "I do know, without a doubt, nothing has changed in terms of human beings needs. A child needs people to help it grow, help it stay healthy. Give it good ideas. Teach the child how to think and remain a solid, healthy citizen, according to the laws and rules of society. We have to do that. You can't have 'Lord of the Flies' in your house."

You might wonder, what keeps Cosby performing after all these years.

"I love the idea of giving to the people. I love being the cause of laughter and it's healthy. Just makes a great feeling," he said. "Smiling and laughing, feeling good. I can do that."

Bill Cosby performs at the Town Toyota Center in Wenatchee on Saturday, Oct. 20 at 7:30 p.m. For more information, call the ticket office at 667-7847 or go to

Ian Dunn can be reached at 548-5286 or

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