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The Weirdness of Realizing That All Your Comedy Heroes Are Monsters in Their Private Lives

November 21, 2014 in Blogs

By Curtis Cook, Curtis Cook

As a kid, I wanted to be a comic after listening to a Bill Cosby tape. I don't know if I can say that anymore.

I was eight when I knew I wanted to be a stand-up. I sat in the family’s used mini-van for a road trip to visit relatives, and my mom put a Bill Cosby cassette into the tape deck. It was an old copy of To Russell, My Brother, Whom I Slept With, and it was the first stand-up I ever heard. I grew up on that tape, so much so that my sister and I would quote Bill Cosby when we were mad at each other saying, “You’re not my real sister. The police dropped you off,” or mimicking the sounds he made with a mouthful of water, playfully threatening to spit it on each other while we brushed our teeth.

I wasn’t the kid whose parents plopped him down in front of a television and let TV shows raise, but there were shows I that spoke to me as a child. I never watched Roseanneas a kid and considered the importance of a female voice in sitcoms, nor the informative setting class helped set in the show; but I did realize that I was watching a lower-middle class parent try her best while keeping the family together, and I could muster enough understanding to think, “Oh, that’s like Mom.” I didn’t grow up watching The Fresh Prince of Bellaireconsidering the importance of the show’s representation of the class divide between Black America and general society; but I knew enough to see someone who grew up under different circumstances struggle to maintain in a wealthy, predominately white (save for his family) space and thought, “Oh, that’s like Dad.” And I, like so many other kids of the 90’s, loved Full House, in part because it showed that sometimes uncles and cousins and family need to all live in the same house, and it normalized the relatives who came and stayed in my parent’s home out of need over the years. Full House was also …read more


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