Yesterday morning I was watching the first of two Dave Chappelle Netflix specials as a result of not being able to sleep. He was funny as his usual unfiltered self, until he mentioned Bill Cosby and his rape allegations under the guise that he was guilty. In that same special at least four different times, Dave Chappelle talked about O.J. Simpson.
By all accounts, Bill Cosby was an asshole outside of his Cliff Huxtable character whereas O.J. Simpson was seen as an all-American saint even when he acted as the Naked Gun films. The O.J. Trials, more than the court-of-public-opinion blasting of Bill Cosby, will always be remembered. Comedians are entitled to talk about what they want and I certainly don’t pay their bills. One question bothered me after hearing yet another Bill Cosby joke; Why the hell does this bother me?
Part of my issue lies in the legacy which has been forever tarnished by the rape scandal, of all the black television shows praised within our community (Empire, Good Times, Jeffersons, etc), The Cosby Show still stands as the pinnacle of them all. The Huxtables were the family that black audiences hadn’t really gotten with the others that I had mentioned; successful middle-class parents with children who had their own interests that didn’t include drugs, gangs or any other kind of self-destructive behavior. The black community, even before the rape scandal became front page news, seemed largely divided about the legacy of the show; some believed that the show sugar-coated the trials and tribulations of our community, while others felt while it wasn’t a realistic image that it was an image people could aspire to be.
Given that we had a black president, I would say The Cosby Show holds more power now than any other black show in history (and yes, that even includes The Wire). What show do you know can mirror a possible positive future? If you can tell me a single black show that has done that in the past few years, I’ll watch it and give it a chance.
So far however, I haven’t found it yet.
I’ll leave it here for now and probably do a part 2 of this…..