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At a far-flung gig, Bill Cosby turns the tables on public outrage

Bill Cosby made his first stop of an endangered U.S. comeback tour Friday and, for at least a short time inside a central Florida theater, turned back the clock on a firestorm.

Cosby found an adoring crowd that would clap, laugh, whoop and even raise its fists in solidarity with the embattled entertainer. The comedian responded by serving up his traditional helping of universally relatable humor on subjects such as parenting and marriage, at a time when his image is at its most divisive.

Through a 90-minute set that began punctually and ended with no encore, Cosby never mentioned the allegations of sexual assault leveled at him by more than a half-dozen women over the past few weeks. He didn’t have to. His decision to go on despite canceling the public appearances that had not already been canceled on him — and being given a spirited welcome as he did — delivered his point as potently as any onstage remark.

The audience at the Maxwell King Center for the Performing Arts, on the campus...

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Bill Cosby's attorney blasts media for 'vilification' of comedian

The attorney for comedian Bill Cosby is blasting the news media for rushing to publicize what he called "unsubstantiated, fantastical stories" from several women who have come forward in the past few weeks to accuse Cosby of sexual assault.

"It is long past time for this media vilification of Mr. Cosby to stop," attorney Martin D. Singer said in a statement released the same night that the embattled comedian received a rousing ovation during his sold-out performance at a central Florida theater.

It was one of Cosby's first public appearances since the uproar over the allegations prompted several media companies to abandon projects with him. Several appearances, including a concert set for Thanksgiving weekend at Treasure Island in Las Vegas, have been canceled.

"The new, never-before-heard claims from women who have come forward in the past two weeks with unsubstantiated, fantastical stories about things they say occurred 30, 40 or even 50 years ago have escalated far past the point of...

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Netflix grabs Tina Fey comedy 'Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt' from NBC

Netflix seems to want everything these days — even Tina Fey comedies that were meant for someone else.

The movie and TV streaming giant announced Friday that it had picked up two seasons of "Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt," a new series about a woman (Ellie Kemper) who escapes from a cult and tries to start a new life in New York.

Fey co-created the show with Robert Carlock, with whom she worked on the NBC comedy "30 Rock." Both serve as executive producers.

NBC originally announced "Kimmy Schmidt" as a midseason show for this year. But the network has few openings, given all its lineup of one-hour dramas such as "The Blacklist" and "State of Affairs," plus its singing hit "The Voice." What's more, NBC hasn't had tremendous luck with comedies lately.

"While it was originally developed for NBC, we have a very drama-heavy midseason schedule so we're thrilled about this Netflix opportunity," NBC Entertainment Chairman Robert Greenblatt said in a statement. "It's an instant win-win for everyone...

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Bill Cosby gets ovation after Florida comedy show

Bill Cosby walked off-stage Friday night the same way he came on -- to enthusiastic cheers and a rousing ovation.

The reception to the legendary comedian's 90-minute performance at a central Florida theater was in marked contrast to much of the national mood about Cosby, who took the stage in spite of a withering series of renewed allegations of sexual assault.

Although there was heightened security at the venue -- the 2,000-seat Maxwell King Center for the Performing Arts on the campus of a local college -- there were no protests or hecklers. And Cosby's set did not acknowledge or address the controversy that has threatened to destroy the entertainer's legacy as one of TV's most beloved figures.

The closest any moment came to nodding to his current circumstance occurred when a female fan screamed from the balcony, "We love you, Bill Cosby." He raised his fist in solidarity, and the crowd went wild.

In his set, the 77-year-old comedian worked a range of family material, flashing back...

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Bill Cosby's Florida performance goes on despite assault allegations

Even as other entertainment outlets abandoned him and suspicion grew over a series of renewed allegations of sexual assault, Bill Cosby was welcomed to a central Florida theater Friday night to a rousing standing ovation.

Wearing his trademark "Hello Friend" sweater in tribute to his late son, the 77-year-old comedian acknowledged the audience by flashing a thumbs up. The opening moments of his performance made no mention of the controversy that has threatened his legacy as one of television's most beloved figures.

The beginning of his routine, which he delivered sitting down next to a small table, revolved on bits about a religious relay race, churchgoing and drink-swilling relatives. The audience laughed and clapped appreciatively. 

Cosby also delved into two of his preferred topics -- childhood and race -- by telling‎ a story about how as a young boy he misunderstood how babies were born a given color. He recalled asking his uncle why he was black if the stork was white.

...

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TV Picks: Thanksgiving TV, 'Hello Ladies,' 'MasterChef Jr.,' more

"Hello Ladies: The Movie" (HBO, Saturday). Those mourning Stephen Merchant's one-season-and-canceled HBO series about an Englishman in Hollywood looking for love in (some of) all the wrong places, or those just seeking closure, will be cheered by this brief return. Or not so brief: At 80 minutes, it is nearly half as long as the whole first season. But it's a real movie, with a dominating through-line and an actual conclusion, not just a series of episodic exertions and humiliations strung together. Directing and starring and writing again with Gene Stupnitsky and Lee Eisenberg (veterans of the American version of "The Office," whose British original Merchant co-created with Ricky Gervais), Merchant concentrates on the relationship between his character, Stuart, and his friend and tenant Jessica (Christine Woods), a long-aspiring actress who has decided that her aspiring days are through. Some of the shots at Hollywood feel a little easy and familiar -- it's a target as broad as a...

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