Bill Cosby is best known for his roles in “I Spy,” “The Bill Cosby Show” and “The Cosby Show.” He has won nine Emmy Awards, three Grammy Awards and eight People’s Choice Awards.
And now he has a Stony Brook letterman jacket, having been the featured performer on Saturday for The Staller Center’s 25th annual gala. Cosby, who donned a white long-sleeved shirt and green-ish gray sweat pants, went on to talk about his kids, his experience in South Africa and a lot about marriage.
“You don’t have to be crude, dirty to get a laugh,” Cathy Beirne, 80, of Smithtown, who seemed satisfied with Cosby’s performance, said.
As the audience filed into Staller’s main auditorium, a chair sat on the stage covered with a “Hello Friend” T-shirt. The table next to the chair stood atop a garbage can and held up a box of tissues and a green bottle. A picture of Cosby and the late South African President Nelson Mandela was projected onto a screen at the back of the stage.
Alan Inkles, the director of the Staller Center, took the stage and introduced Stony Brook President Samuel L. Stanley Jr. who introduced George Booth, a Stony Brook village cartoonist for The New Yorker and Cosby.
“This one is really going to be pretty spectacular,” Stanley said.
Once they got on the stage, Inkles and Stanley had a stage hand bring out Stony Brook letterman jackets. After Booth introduced Cosby and Inkles had already left the stage, Stanley moved to walk Booth off the stage. He went to Cosby for a handshake.
“Don’t touch me,” Cosby said.
While he was in South Africa, he said that he charged one of the attendees with finding a man who grew up with the gorillas – one of the only white men in Africa, he said. Tarzan. His attendant enthusiastically went to find Tarzan, figured out that Cosby was playing him and brought back a white guy, about to claim that this man was the man who was raised in the jungle.
“You had my friends laughing at me so hard,” the man said. “On that paper is an autograph from King Kong.”
Cosby spent the rest of his night cracking jokes about marriage and his kids.
He exaggerated the steps to marriage – dating a girl and thinking every song is about them and then wanting to move past the girlfriend title by getting a girl’s best friend mounted on a gold band.
“I want to live with you for the rest of my life which is odd because you’re asking them to get old and die,” he said.
He poked fun at his children, referencing a time that his children asked to be dropped off around the block from school because other kids were teasing them for having nicer things for being rich. Cosby drove about a mile away from the school and told them to walk.
“You are not rich — your mother and I are rich,” he said. “You’re also homeless.”
Cosby went on to talk more about marriage, from being a husband and not really having a say in what his wife buys him or where they go in the house to being a father and still not really having any say. Another time, he joked about killing his brother’s imaginary friend.
Still, the audience seemed to enjoy Cosby’s family-friendly humor.
“We believe in Bill Cosby,” Beirne said.