Cosby sat in a chair, next to a small table, for most of his 90-minute performance Sunday afternoon, the first of two shows at the Newport Yachting Center.
But it wasn’t too long before Cosby found his comedic groove as the master of the family dynamic. In the early years of his career, Cosby mostly used his own childhood for material. Now he speaks from the perspective of both child and exasperated parent.
Cosby’s mobile facial expressions, body language and vocal inflections allow him to be equally funny as a pouty 9-year old or a mother perilously close to losing her sanity.
Cosby describes the psychological reasons why Father’s Day is such a pitiful holiday, with dad receiving a last-minute gift of a cheap mug labeled “World’s Greatest Dad.” According to Cosby, it goes back to the father’s limited role in the conception process.
The father just “releases” millions of sperm, Cosby said. It’s up to them to swim as fast as they can, straight to the egg. So who’s really doing the work?
On the other hand, it does give him a perfect answer to the classic childhood whine: “I didn’t ask to be born.”
“You could have hung a left,” Cosby replies.
Cosby told a long and very funny story using one of his favorite comic foils, his brother Russell. The whole function of first-born children, Cosby explained, is to watch the rest of the kids so the parents can go out.
After a long and convoluted battle between the siblings — forget rivalry, Cosby said; it’s hatred — Cosby exacted a terrible revenge by killing Russell’s invisible friend.
Cosby was raised in an era when parents gave kids “a beatin’” (Which is not the same as “a whuppin’.” We’ll explain in a bit.)
No doubt it’s politically incorrect, but Cosby got some very funny material from his own corporal punishment. He remembers he was always hit on each syllable: What! Did! I! Tell! You!
Then there were the theological implications. His mother threatened to beat the bejesus out of him. But what — or who — was the bejesus? Cosby said he’s given up asking the Methodists and is now seeking answers from Catholics.
And it wasn’t until Cosby was in the Navy and encountered men from the South that he learned about a whuppin’. In a whuppin’, the parent actually makes the child go outside and cut the switch that will be used for the whipping.
“Those are the laziest parents, and the dumbest kids,” Cosby said. “You give me a knife and tell me to leave the house? You’ll never see me again.”
Then he imagines his 77-year-old face is still on the milk carton as a missing child.
By Andy Smith/Providence Journal