Hundreds of people packed into the Harman Hall of the Christopher Cohan Performing Arts Center (PAC) to watch and listen to famous comedian Bill Cosby perform stand-up comedy on Sunday.
The routine, which lasted nearly two hours during both the 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. shows, focused on various universal topics such as age, religion, student life, male and female differences and marriage.
While Cal Poly Arts Director Steven Lerian discussed upcoming shows before Cosby was supposed to begin his act, Cosby came onto the stage prematurely to a shocked audience, and thus, a standing ovation, and talked with Lerian about the state of jazz music.
When Lerian told Cosby about some of the upcoming jazz acts, such as Esmeralda Spalding and Diane Schuur, Cosby said, “this is a very hip school.”
Once Lerian left the stage, Cosby joked about how the onions from the salad he ate earlier caused Lerian’s eyes to become moist.
Finally, Cosby began his show by joking about his age (73 years old) and the afterlife.
Next, he discussed how his age affects his understanding of modern society, such as how he doesn’t like hearing young people say something “sucks,” or the confusion he felt when he first heard a commercial for erectile dysfunction, a condition that was rarely talked about when Cosby was younger.
“Look, we’re alive because we sucked,” Cosby said. Of erectile dysfunction, Cosby “thought they were talking about some prehistoric animal.”
Cosby also offered anecdotes about the physical effects of aging, including the time his wife, Mrs. Cosby, realized he no longer had the same rear-end he once had when he starred in the ‘70s drama “I Spy.” Cosby responded by pointing to his stomach and simply saying, “it’s here.”
With his role in “I Spy,” Cosby was the first African American to star in a television series and receive three consecutive Emmys for his role in the show. Besides starring in “I Spy,” “Kids Say the Darndest Things,” “The Bill Cosby Show” and the cartoon “Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids,” Cosby has also released comedy albums and more than 10 books.
Perhaps Cosby is most well-known for his role as the father figure of an affluent African American family in “The Cosby Show.” The show, which aired from 1984 to 1992, focused on upper-class family life.
Cosby got the inspiration for the material in his show from his own experiences. During the show, Cosby did not shy away from referring to his family members in his jokes.
Another story Cosby shared in his act was the time he bought a top-of-the-line giraffe piñata for his niece Monica’s sixth birthday party — and forgot to fill it with candy. The children kept whacking the pinata; however, no matter how many limbs fell off of the giraffe, there was no candy to be found.
“Nobody told me,” Cosby said as he pretended to sob into a tissue.
“The little children were expecting so much,” Cosby said through fake tears. “I thought the candy was already in there.”
This, along with many other stories, had the audience roaring in laughter.
Throughout the show, Cosby frequently responded to comments or laughs from members in the audience. Cosby made the oldest person in the room, a 102-year-old woman named Dorothy, prove that she could still yell.
“I like how he interacted with the audience,” sociology freshman Ashlee Evonc said. “His timing (with the jokes) was perfect.”
Aerospace engineering freshman Kyle Rom agrees.
Rom said he liked how Cosby’s facial expressions added to the stories he told, such as when he rolled his eyes when audience members gave obvious answers to his questions.
Although much of the audience was older than most Cal Poly students, Cosby still connected with the college-aged crowd.
It’s important to get good grades because a ‘C’ average “means you only know 70 percent,” Cosby said. No one would accept a doctor who only knew 70 percent about his professional field, Cosby said.
After discussing how universities were not originally intended for “getting drunk and throwing up in bushes and having your laughing friend find you (in a random location),” Cosby again focused on the topic of religion and how there must be missing stories and explanations from the Book of Genesis. For instance, God must have presented random objects and animals such as turtles for Adam to name when he created the world, and Adam must have felt many emotions when Eve came into the picture.
After seeing Eve in all her glory — her face, body and hair — “Adam said ‘Woo! Man! This is better than an armadillo,'” Cosby said.
Cosby also detailed the first man’s struggles with romance.
After hearing Adam call Eve the “bone of (his) bone” or “the flesh of (his) flesh,” that was “probably the first time someone said ‘Oh God,'” Cosby said.
Cosby linked the beginning of the loss of trust between spouses to something more than just a fruit that Adam and Eve ate.
“I’m not concerned about what they ate (in the Garden of Eden),” Cosby said. “I’m concerned about the control and how she got it.”
To offer examples, Cosby told stories of how his wife began giving him things — even when he didn’t ask for them.
“Why give you a side of the bed? Why do you need to give a side of the bed?” Cosby asked.
Cosby said his wife also declared a certain side of the closet his side without asking for his input beforehand.
In his closing remarks, Cosby explained how a wife is not a friend, but rather different, like a supervisor.
According to Cosby, wives may sporadically change the décor of the house, hog drawers, disapprove of friends and surprise their spouse with a foot scraper in the middle of the night.
“They own us,” he said.
Biomedical engineering sophomore Jack Ross, who is not yet married, enjoyed how realistic Cosby made marriage seem.
Everything Cosby said about wives is true, Ross said. “I’ve seen it and can’t wait to experience it.”