Bill Cosby may be a disgraced comedy legend now, facing retrial this spring on charges of drugging and raping at least one woman (dozens of other women have come forward with similar accusations).
But Cosby, now 80, decided to emerge once more, to perform for the first time since his tour dates evaporated amid the rape charges a couple of years ago. Why? To pay tribute to Tony Williams and the Tony Williams Jazz Quartet at La Rose’s, a jazz club in the Germantown section of Cosby’s native Philadelphia. Cosby’s publicists announced the “surprise” gig earlier Monday via Facebook: “Bill Cosby will honor his fans with a historic performance with the Tony Williams Jazz Quartet and he will be performing a special comedy concert that will culminate the evening.”
You can see how photographers seemingly outnumbered patrons at the gig, or at least crowded them out.
Onstage, he didn’t talk about his trials in court, instead joking about his childhood and his wife (per usual), with updates now about how his friends and family treat him as he’s losing his eyesight.
Bill Cosby jokes about his blindness at Germantown’s La Rosa Jazz Club pic.twitter.com/XnkKgg15kQ
— Jeremy Roebuck (@jeremyrroebuck) January 23, 2018
And Cosby himself told a local TV reporter, when asked about performing in the wake of serial rape allegations, that he wasn’t afraid to show his face. Life happens, life changes, he said. “I came here tonight to enjoy being with my friends and musicians and the people who came.”
Bill Cosby speaks with @DeniseNakanoTV after performing in public for the first time since 2015: https://t.co/dno7g78TNO pic.twitter.com/DrnxOTy8CB
— NBC10 Philadelphia (@NBCPhiladelphia) January 23, 2018