S01E07 Tribute: Bill Cosby

podcastWe start by teaching about surprise in comedy (breaking the dialogism) to our students.

We get right into to talking about our tributee because we learned from our mistake on the Sarah Silverman episode, to stop taking so much time NOT talking about them. Today we tributize a true, classic legend Bill Cosby!

We talk about his penchant for talking about simple things like family and friends. Even if you’re lost in the mall, that can be funny.

Then Joel breaks the dialogism by confusing Bill Cosby for Bing Crosby. But he doesn’t stick to the joke because it’s too silly. Kevin mentions the hard C and K sounds again and they wonder if the “R” in “Crosby” softens the comedy of the “C”.

Right off the top contest: If a consonant follows a hard C or K, does that soften it? Do some consonants not soften it (in a comedy way)?

We talk The Cosby Show which featured the incredible Madeline Kahn. We figure she’d be a huge fan of our show because she has a great comedy sensibility. They talk her career with Mel Brooks and in What’s Up Doc with Barbara Streisand. Babs is a comedian, singer and everything else (booty not with-standing).

Then they wonder which was The Bill Cosby Show and just The Cosby Show. Which one was Madeline in? She actually took voice lessons. And they speak of the amazing way she said “Howard” in What’s up doc (show clip).

She died of ovarian cancer, it was such a loss, but The Cosby Show did a tribute episode.

They continue talking about Madeline which evolves into Young Frankenstein and then Gene Wilder. What a genius of comedy! He created the true Willy Wonka personification from the Chocolate Factory, something Johnny Depp couldn’t do. That was probably Tim Burton’s fault. Wilder was as funny as Steve Martin‘s wild and crazy guy! Other Wilder films: Funny About Baby, The Producers, Hear No Evil/See No Evil and Blazing Saddles.

They talk more about Madeline Kahn and her “I’m so tired” performance.

Then they discuss how brilliant Mel Brooks is with his period pieces: Blazing Saddles and Spaceballs (future period). He’s Gandalf the White, not Gandolf the Grey: He’s a wizard of comedy. Thank you Mel!

Then they get into the meat of the lesson discussing “long form comedy”, the Star Wars joke, Lord of the Funny (Rings), Back to the Funny (Future), Terminator of Comedy, Funny (Fast) Furious Five or just funny franchise. They share metaphors to help the students understand what long form comedy is.

The question arises, WHEN does comedy come from? Childhood, prepubescence, adolescence, teenage years and early twenties?


That’s when Bill Cosby’s signature SIT DOWN comedy is brought up. Sitting in a cigar with a big ole leather chair in his mouth. As if we’re right there in his living room (metaphorically, atmospherically). This is a lesson Mike Birbiglia took to heart, he also doesn’t try in a similar way.

Then, as we often do, we get deep and discuss Bill Cosby on Spy vs Spy and ask “Did he ever grow up from that”? Why does he only talk about himself as a kid? How has Birbiglia matured so much. Why does Bill wear those sweaters? Does he suffer from those artistic quirks as the consummate professional he is?

And we chastise those comedians who just make fun of Bill’s pudding pops because he’s as 2 dimensional as Tony the Tiger who is the Tiger in your tank, the Eye of the Tiger and the tiger upper cut in street fighter two.

Then they get into short form comedy. Steven Wright is the perfect example of short form comedy. They nail a couple of his most famous jokes. Concise one liners. They also mention Mitch Hepberg, the modern Wright. He was always so high on drugs that he was addicted to. But we don’t celebrate drugs on the podcast.

Then we talk about Eddie Murphy and his 80s stand-up. Bill wasn’t a big Eddie Murphy fan because Eddie Murphy was vulgar. Joel compares Madeline Khan to David Bowie. Yes, irreverency is funny, but George Carlin already broke down those barriers of swears with his dated “7 words you can’t say on television” bit. It’s old news. There’s no need for swears any more.

It’s only now that Murphy is doing timeless family comedy with the Klumps, Pluto Nash, the Klumps 2 (Getting Klumpy!!). Whereas his old stuff has a date stamped on it. It’s no longer current. It’s no Dr. Dolittle. Rex Harrison would agree! What Rex did with Dr. Dolittle was way better than what Murphy did with RAW.

This week’s other contest: Try your own long form comedy, post it on our page, email us. Write us a long form comedy joke. Tweet it in many different tweets and we may read it!

And then we introduce a new segment: What if?! We contemplate “what if” Bill Cosby was something else. What do the boys come out with?

USE YOUR IMAGINATION! Picture yourself in Cancún, watching the buffalo, whales, Super Bowl or bufferfloat.

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Have a great week! Class dismissed.

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