Here’s that ironically meta message from Bill Cosby from a 1984 “Fat Albert” episode about people in prison

“All of those people who are in prison right now were kids once, just like you. They went to school. They had girlfriends, boyfriends. They played baseball. Rode their bikes. Just like you! And then, somewhere along the way, they did something wrong. Something dumb. Maybe it was getting mixed up with a bad crowd, or maybe it was shoplifting, or stealing a car. Whatever it was, it probably started small. Became bigger. Maybe they even got away with it at first, and thought, they’d get away with it. But they were wrong. Now, they’re in prison. Now prison isn’t any fun and it isn’t any joke, so play it straight, gang. That way you’ll get where you want to go. Not where you don’t. Right? Right!”

Bill Cosby (1984)

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver took a deep dive into prison labor in this week’s episode on HBO, investigating how prisoners and their families are taken advantage of both by the prisons themselves as well as by companies that work with prisons. But the segment opens with an ironic throwback clip to Bill Cosby, speaking to the youth who watched his Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids, explaining to them how most people in prison didn’t start out as bad people, but became badder over time. Or, as you’ll likely figure out from the words Cosby chooses, some people, Cosby himself included, thought they could get away with bad behavior without ever getting caught.

Here’s the full segment from HBO:

And here’s an unedited version of the Cosby clip, uploaded to YouTube last year, the same day TV writer Jesse McLaren shared it on Twitter. In both of these cases, the unedited clip shows the images both blurry and backwards.

Sean L. McCarthy

Editor and publisher since 2007, when he was named New York's Funniest Reporter. Former newspaper reporter at the New York Daily News, Boston Herald and smaller dailies and community papers across America. Loves comedy so much he founded this site.

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