Bill Cosby wasn't yet 50 when he performed in his last televised standup comedy special, "Bill Cosby: Himself." Thirty years later, the 76-year-old Emmy and Golden Globe winner has even more personal stories to share in "Far From Finished," the new Comedy Central special that marks his first TV special in three decades.
When the funnyman chatted with Yahoo TV earlier this month, he shared the exciting news that he's planning a return to TV land (and maybe TV Land?) with a fresh family comedy. In part two of our chat, he shares the reason he chose the seemingly unlikely home of Comedy Central for his new performance, whether or not we can expect a "Cosby Show" reunion for the series' 30th anniversary next year, and the very funny reason his special is called "Far From Finished."
You touch on it in "Far From Finished," but why Comedy Central for this special?
When we started ("The Cosby Show"), the idea for me was, I just hope I can get enough people to keep the idea — the show — on the air so that I can put these ideas that I believe in across. And now with this Comedy Central special, at the age of 76, it's once again sort of a competitive situation. Because my work, and the work of most of the majority of the younger set … they do what I call "party" monologue. And with the party monologue comes the use of certain words … and they fall into the category of profanity or bad words. But I see it as party, because I've watched audiences listening to men and women who will use that language. And I've seen people laugh, and I think to myself, "This is a party." So for me to be allowed to have a special on Comedy Central … my work is "party" also, but my work is with a performance of characters and — I'm not saying the other people don't use their observations — but I write these things so that I can do the characters. And draw them, and play them as large as I want to, or as small as I want to. The people at Comedy Central like to use those cutaways, and I asked them not to, and [director] Robert Townsend was right there with me. No cutaway to the audience please, because I don't want cameras going in on audience [members], to intimidate them, so they have to then act. And I think it's an invasion. I will perform, you laugh, we hear it. That's the way I shot ["Bill Cosby: Himself"]. Mrs. Cosby also gives notes on the editing. The lighting is fantastic, and gave this piece that you will see on Comedy Central a very special, special feel.
Was Comedy Central the first network that you went to about the special?
Yes. And Comedy Central went against its own image. They've broken a lot of rules. I'm 76-years-old, rule No. 1. All these young men and young women coming up … No. 2, party language. Broken the rule. No. 3, how long do you talk before you come to the end of a story to make them laugh? How long do they have to wait and listen, so that the build-up is worth the laugh? So in many ways, Comedy Central broke the rules [with this special], and I'm very thankful, because they were never anything but supportive.
Why the title "Far From Finished"?
Because you don't want the title, "Not Dead Yet." That's [from] Mrs. Cosby. She doesn't want this man that she loves, that she's married to, for anybody to think that this man is not thinking. And she wants this man out there, and up there, because the imagery of numbers, [age] … she just doesn't want the prejudice that goes with it, and the best way to do it is to show people, and she made up the title.