Bill Cosby's Far From Finished Comedy Special
Bill Cosby is a career comedian who is in his late 70s. It is difficult to say how much his age affects his performance, because, from what I understand and remember, Cosby always seemed to be "older" or more mature in his comedy even before he was elderly. For one thing, he has always been a comedian who has worked "clean" and he has never cursed on stage. I remember that even Eddie Murphy incorporated that into one of his comedy specials more than 20 years ago when he did a routine about Bill Cosby supposedly calling him to criticize him for using too much foul language in his act. So, it is not a function of Cosby's age that he works a clean style, since that has always been his style. The only part of that that might be a function of his age is the way he talks about appearing on Comedy Central as though that is some radical new form of media or venue. In that respect, his age and perspective might have made him seem a bit out of touch with his audience.
There is also another element of Cosby's style that certainly could seem like something that relates to his age: namely, the way that he tends to tell long rambling stories that take a long time to get to the point. The stories take even longer because he regularly...
In some ways, that definitely reminds me of the way that my grandfather tells stories. On the other hand, that also seems to be a specific style that Cosby has used throughout his career. He may be a slow-building, overly-animated, long-winded, even boring story teller, but I believe that has always been his style as well. The one place where I thought Cosby's age works against him is that his comedic stage style involves a lot of physical movement and demonstration or acting out stories. To me, this is where his age showed the most and it seemed that this particular style is no longer really suited to him. I was more comfortable (for him) when he just sat on his stool and talked into the microphone.
As has always been the case, much of Cosby's humor has to do with self-effacing stories about his marriage and about the relationship between husbands and wives in general. Again, it is tempting to consider his viewpoint a function of age that makes him seem out of touch to his audience, but this also seems to be a feature of his act that has actually been very constant throughout his career. He talked about some of the ways that wives are in charge of the home and that they move around like queens on a chessboard whereas husbands are kings who have to stay in one spot and stay out of the queen's way in the rest of the house.
Similarly, he admits that he has not had the keys to his own house for many decades and that only his wife knows the security alarm code. It's…
Audiences can ponder the issue of fate when presented with Oedipus, afterlife when thinking of Antigone, and motherhood and marriage when confronted with Medea. Further, modern plays often offer this type of ending as well. For instance, Tennessee Williams' The Glass Menagerie allows audience members to consider the theme of love and romance, superimposed with family. At the end of the story, audience members must contemplate whether Tom should
This echoes life. To others we present as a simple person, perhaps even shallow and one-dimensional. Yet inside we are a mass of interminable twists and turns of plots and subplots. The story must reflect positive morality or, as Aristotle warned, when storytelling goes bad, the result is decadence. As stories become more extravagant and violent, and all the areas of storytelling - acting, stage settings or environments, music,
REFERENCES Brown, G. Movie Time: A Chronology of Hollywod. New York: McMillan, 1995. Byrge, D. The Screwball Comedy Films. New York: McFarland, 1991. "Censored Films and Television." January 2000. University of Virginia. September 2010 . Dale, A. Comedy is a Man in Trouble. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2001. Ebert, R. "Some Like It Hot." 9 January 2000. Roger Ebert.com. 12 September 2010 . Engleking, A. "A Barbed But Generous Comedy of Manners." 17 June 2010.
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