I need a moment to get over my own shock and horror over this current rumor — although is it still considered a rumor when your source is the Associated Press? It appears that despite Bill Cosby's silence on the rape allegations he has been facing, allegations bolstered by the stories of over 20 women who claim Cosby drugged and assaulted them, there's still humor to be found in the situation. At least, that's how the comedian feels. According to AP, Cosby joked about the sexual abuse scandal during a stand-up show in Canada on Thursday night and both that and the response from his audience kind of makes my skin crawl.
As the story goes, a woman got up from the audience, and Cosby did what many comedians do when people get up during their shows and incorporated her action into the set. When asked where she was going, the woman responded that she was going to get a drink. Cosby then said, "You have to be careful about drinking around me." Get it? Because word on the street is that he drugs women's drinks so he can sexually assault them! Isn't that just so hilarious?
Immense sarcasm aside, even worse to me than the fact that Cosby would make a joke like that is the response of the audience. While some reports state that there were some gasps, the audience broke into applause. "Loud applause," according to AP. When one heckler derided Cosby as a rapist, the crowd began to boo the man until Cosby asked them to stop and the man was subsequently removed by police officers. I mean, I don't know about you, but there's too soon and then there's Too Soon — and this joke was in such bad taste, and so far beyond Too Soon, that I'm utterly shocked it even happened.
Don't get me wrong. I'm one of those people who believe that ten out of ten rape jokes aren't funny, because rape isn't a joke. Even with this controversy aside, finding out that Cosby told a rape joke would have drastically reduced my previously high opinion of him because I feel it's the lowest form of so-called humor. But when his official stance on the rape allegations is a dismissive statement from his lawyer, and silence otherwise, the fact that the former Cosby Show star broke that silence to joke about the situation just goes to show how little this is all truly affecting him. While Phylicia Rashad can lament the loss of Cosby's legacy all she wants, it's the alleged victims who have been so haunted by Cosby's actions that they are still trying to tell their stories decades too late for them to get any legal justice. Meanwhile, Cosby can outright dismiss their claims and then get on stage and joke about them as if he is untouchable.
This is what I would consider a PR nightmare, but I'm just as disappointed that, out of the theater full of people, only one person stood up and called Cosby out for his ill-timed and disgusting joke. I'm even more disappointed that everyone else in the theater booed the man and then had him removed. When I imagine being the woman who was the catalyst for Cosby to make that joke in the first place, I can't even imagine how she must have felt — either as a woman or as a presumed Cosby fan — to hear a beloved icon casually joke about drugging and raping women. Sure, it's not the first time Cosby has made such a rape joke in his stand-up, but the circumstances have changed between then and now.
After the show, Cosby released a statement — not about the joke, but about the heckler that was removed from the theater during the show. "Dear Fans: One outburst but over 2600 loyal, patient and courageous fans enjoyed the most wonderful medicine that exist for human-kind. Laughter," said Cosby, via his publicist. "I thank you, the theatre staff (Budweiser Gardens), the event organizers and the London, ON Community for your continued honor and support. I'm Far From Finished."
With regards to the actual rape controversy, Cosby's official statement on the entire situation remains the same. "Over the last several weeks, decade-old, discredited allegations against Mr. Cosby have resurfaced. The fact that they are being repeated does not make them true. Mr. Cosby does not intend to dignify these allegations with any comment. He would like to thank all his fans for the outpouring of support and assure them that, at age 77, he is doing his best work. There will be no further statement from Mr. Cosby or any of his representatives."
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