Kooky thoughts and tweets keep Bill Cosby comically busy

Thu Jan 9, 2014 10:31am EST
 
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By Mary Milliken

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - In this new year, Bill Cosby offers an encouraging tale to late bloomers operating several notches below their potential.

There he was in 1960 in a remedial English class in college, where he had entered in his twenties with a total 500 SAT exam score (out of a possible 1,600), wrestling with two composition assignments. He resolved to write about yanking his tooth out as a boy and procrastinating on a paper by sharpening his pencil over and over, down to the eraser.

Cosby got A's for the stories (and lesser grades for the grammar and syntax). More importantly, the compositions unlocked a gift for comedic storytelling and a confidence that launched a prolific career that continues to this day at the age of 76.

"I am feeling that there are thoughts I have about things that are kooky enough, and I know they are kooky because I like them and they are funny," Cosby recalled in a telephone interview from his Massachusetts home. "I've got to do something with these things."

So he started selling stories to comedians for $25 a pop. Most didn't think they were funny enough to buy, forcing him to try his hand at his own stand-up act. To this day, he says, "People are getting the full value of the thoughts I have."

His kooky thoughts on love, marriage and family are the basis for his first TV special in 30 years, "Far From Finished," which premiered on Comedy Central in November. In a contrast to the cable outlet's often coarse, profanity-laced humor, Cosby's 90-minute routine is free of cursing.

The exposure on Comedy Central has in turn fueled new interest in Cosby's earlier work. His comedy albums occupied some of the top positions on Amazon's bestseller CD list during December, including "Wonderfulness" from 1966 and "Why is There Air?" from 1965 along with "Far From Finished."

Cosby is clearly amused by the fact that his "LPs," as he calls them, are selling nearly 50 years later.   Continued...

 
Actor Bill Cosby arrives at the "TV Land Awards 2011" in New York City April 10, 2011. REUTERS/Jessica Rinaldi