When we look back on '60s comedy, we think foremost of Lenny Bruce and George Carlin, stand-ups who did yeomen's work railing against the venality of the establishment (roughly moneyed white men). More quietly, Bill Cosby reached the targets of those comics' scorn and made them his audience. Once asked about the lack of racial content in his act (the sort of question, incidentally, that rarely falls to a white comic who doesn't discuss race), he replied that by leaving out the topic of being black which he hardly would have needed to point out to audiences and simply telling stories, he was doing as much for race relations as anyone. He continued that pop subversion with The Cosby Show in the '80s and by pitching Jell-O, Coke, and Kodak to America's moms. You like that a black man can be elected president? Thank the Cos.
Thu., April 1, 6:30 p.m., 2010