Longtime friend of the site Dan Pasternack has shared many stories behind his collection of signed comedy albums with McSweeney’s online in a series titled, “My Signed Comedy LPs: One Comedy Nerd’s Obsessive Journey.”
Today, Pasternack — head of Big Beach TV and former VP of development and production at IFC — offered a poignant post-script to the essay he’d written a year ago about his earlier memories of Bill Cosby.
Because he and I and the whole world now know so much more about the disturbing truth and horrible ways this legendary comedian treated women offstage. Cosby, sadly, isn’t the first comedian-turned-rapist that Pasternack knew. As he shares in today’s essay, “Bill Cosby — A Follow Up,” Pasternack knew the infamous Vince Champ when both were younger comics in the late 1980s and early 1990s, and wrote jokes for Champ that made it onto TV.
“I have never written about Vince and have barely even spoken of him since. The crimes were incomprehensible to me and the fact that I spent many years in Vince’s company without the slightest inkling about his unspeakable dark side, even in hindsight, troubles me to this day. I have always seen comedy as a noble pursuit. A calling to rescue us all from our worries and pain. And while I have seen many incarnations of the tragic face that sometimes exists underneath the comic’s mask, I didn’t know how to accept how anyone whose purpose was to bring joy and laughter could be that evil.”
As for Cosby? Pasternack found himself reexamining his view of the legend of Cos, his signed LP framed on the wall, and his ability to separate the artist from the art.
“But here’s the problem. Especially with a comedian, the artist and the art are one and the same. You love the art because you love the artist. It’s not a disembodied, freestanding collection of jokes and stories. It’s a human being who is the vessel. The comedian is the art personified.”
And so, the LP has come down with the myth of the comedian who made it.
Please read all of Dan Pasternack’s essay for McSweeney’s, “Bill Cosby — A Follow Up.”