August 6, 2011
Legendary Bill Cosby doesn't grace Orange County every day, so it was understandable that on a beautiful night droves of people came out to the Pacific Amphitheatre to enjoy a night of comedy. I was surprised to see a sprinkling of kids in the crowd. They're probably fans of The Cosby Show and they just had to see cool and slick Mr. Huxtable in the flesh. Bill Cosby is clearly timeless.
The stage was set with a rug, side stable, trash can, box of Kleenex, and a chair with a "Hello Friend" sweatshirt draped over it. If you follow Cosby, you'd know this is a nod to his deceased son Ennis.
Bill captured everyone's attention and you barely noticed the huge stage surrounding him. All eyes were on Bill as he told of story of getting to the venue earlier saying, "People were smoking pot (medicinal of course) on the top rows, and the wind was blowing. The people on the bottom rows started to smoke to blame it on the people up top." Then he mentioned his wife and mother-in-law getting hungry shortly thereafter. Of course it sounded funnier coming out of his mouth.
That would be the first of many times he mentioned Mrs. Cosby. I've always known that he talks about his wife a lot--and tonight was no exception. He spoke of wife complaints, compliments, and the sound that comes out of her mouth ("bleh bleh bleh bleh"). He also told stories of his childhood in the projects and their linoleum rug, his running buddy who had a stroke, his first kiss, and his friend Poppy Whitehead and their shenanigans. It was all filled with many laughs, great detail, and the facial expressions we have come to love from Cosby.
He also talked about his kids and grand kids a lot! Bill boomed, "My children. I don't like them. They're old people and they still haven't paid me back the money! Every time I see a kid I say, where's my money?"
He also had a funny story about his grand kids figuring out that he was not just Grand Poppy but also, that he was Bill Cosby. There was another one about his granddaughter's birthday and the fiasco of buying a giraffe piñata. Unaware that he had to fill it with candy and that it didn't already come with it, a cry fest ensued. It was pretty hysterical.
At that moment, I realized that Bill Cosby is an excellent story teller. Whether the scenarios he was talking about were true or not, he paints a picture with his stories and you just visualize that you're there too. Since the crowd was mostly born in say, the 1945 era, they related and responded by laughing and looking at each other confirming his funny.
On a side note and in case you were wondering, Bill Cosby wears boxers. He addressed his "fat lump" that goes all of the way around and having his pants pulled so high to cover all of that. He then went into a lengthy conversation about the fat area and his umm...under carriage area. Cringe-worthy, Mr. Huxtable. Cringe-worthy.
I will say that Bill seemed a little A.D.D. and was often distracted by the sights and sounds of the outdoor venue. He stopped several times to comment on planes flying by and sirens but, he also played off the crowd bringing some improv humor at the audience's expense.
At one point Bill stopped the show saying rather sternly, "Hey you whistling! Stop that! Nobody likes to hear whistling here because people's hearing aid batteries are turned up too high." There was also a moment where a guy up front yelled out to him (drunk I suspect) and Bill said, "You must be alone. Just because we are a broke nation doesn't mean we have to find scapegoats. Now shut up and eat a cookie!"
His set was pretty old school; it wasn't your typical stand-up and not just because he sat the whole time. I personally couldn't figure out if it was really funny or if it was funny because it was Bill Cosby right there in front of us. Apparently everyone else knew the answer though because the crowd laughed at everything. Especially "Mr. Belly Laugh" who was seated next to me and who shook my seat with laughter every time he belted one out.
Critic's Bias: Hopefully I was the youngest one there. I wonder if they sold pudding pops?
The Crowd: The crowd was a complete melting pot from old to young and from old to older. A mixture of tired kids and pimp suits packed the venue and I sense it was date night for the couple in front of me who made out multiple times during the show. Stay classy, Orange County.
Overheard in the Crowd:
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"Bill Cosby for President!!"
"Oh my god! His pants are pulled up soooo high!!"
"I love you Bill!!"
Random notebook dump: Of course the "jolliest" of all men had to sit down next to me. There goes my arm rest. I feel like a sardine!