Bill Cosby revelations may cast renewed spotlight on comedian Hannibal Buress
Bill Cosby admitted in a 2005 deposition to buying Quaaludes he intended to use on women for sex, it was reported by the Associated Press on Monday.
The latest revelation in the ever-widening scandal could lend credence to the allegations brought forth by almost 40 women, including models Janice Dickinson and Beverly Johnson, against the once-beloved star of “The Cosby Show.”
The information also lands just days before the Wednesday premiere of “Why? With Hannibal Buress,” a new series featuring the very comedian who, almost unwittingly, helped revive the charges against Cosby.
The documents uncovered by the AP were part of a civil lawsuit filed by Andrea Constand, a former Temple University employee who accused Cosby of drugging and inappropriately touching her. Thirteen women claiming similar experiences were cited as Jane Doe witnesses in the case, which was settled out of court in 2006.
The charges were largely forgotten until last fall when, during a standup performance in Philadelphia, Buress railed against what he saw as Cosby’s hypocritical crusade against hip-hop culture and the unraveling of the black family.
“Bill Cosby has the ... smuggest old black man public persona that I hate,” Buress said onstage at the Trocadero on Oct. 16. “He gets on TV: ‘Pull your pants up, black people, I was on TV in the ‘80s. I can talk down to you because I had a successful sitcom.’ Yeah, but you rape women, Bill Cosby, so turn the crazy down a couple notches... I guess I want to just at least make it weird for you to watch Cosby Show reruns.”
Mission accomplished -- and then some. Cosby’s alleged improprieties were already a matter of public record and Buress had been performing variations of the routine for months but, thanks to an audience member with a camera phone and the vagaries of the Internet, the allegations finally took hold with the public.
Within weeks, NBC and Netflix scrapped projects with Cosby, standup performances were canceled around the country, and TV Land pulled “The Cosby Show” from its lineup.
Buress, a former writer on “30 Rock” and supporting player on Comedy Central’s “Broad City,” has downplayed his role in the demise of Cosby, who at the height of his fame in the 1980s had the most-watched show on television and was also a highly paid spokesman for Jell-O and Kodak.
“It wasn’t my intention to make it part of a big discussion,” Buress told Howard Stern as the controversy snowballed in October. “It’s just information that’s out there. ... I said it and I gotta stand on it, but it is an interesting situation.”
Still, the latest wrinkle in the Cosby case may stoke interest in Buress’ show, which will be taped in front of a studio audience the same week that it airs and will address subjects “in the zeitgeist,” according to Comedy Central press materials.
It’s unclear whether this will extend to the newly uncovered admission by Cosby, though it seems as if Buress has mixed feelings about becoming known as the Guy Who Brought Down a TV Legend.
“That was one thing that people, the media kind of grabbed on to,” he told the A.V. Club in an interview published Tuesday. “I just do my work.”
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