Showtime has released the official trailer for We Need to Talk About Cosby, which is set to premiere at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival this month. The four-part series explores the complex story of Bill Cosby’s life and work, weighing the public allegations against his indisputable global influence through interviews with comedians, cultural commentators, journalists, and women who share their most personal, harrowing encounters with him.
Directed by W. Kamau Bell, the series will present new information, stories, and discussion about the disgraced comedian and television star. Bill Cosby’s reputation has been challenged in recent years by serious allegations of sexual assault which have changed the way the world viewed him. Through archival footage, the comedian reveals who he may have been all along – the antithesis of the principled, public figure who became a hero, not only to African American people but to everyone.
Peeling back complex layers of Bill Cosby’s career, We Need To Talk About Cosby gives viewers the chance to reconsider his legacy in a society where views on rape culture, toxic masculinity, capitalism, and white supremacy are shaping how society re-evaluates sex, power, and agency. Bell also takes an unfiltered look at the unexpected ramifications for the industry that enabled him. As someone who grew up as a Bill Cosby fan, the director noted how difficult it was to tell this story.
In a statement via Slash Film Bell said he was a huge fan of all Bill Cosby’s shows and wanted to be a comedian because of him. He never thought he’d ever wrestle with who we all thought Cosby was and who the public now understands him to be. “I’m not sure he would want me to do this work, but Cliff Huxtable definitely would.”
Bill Cosby began his career as a stand-up comic at the Hungry I nightclub in San Francisco during the 1960s. Throughout the decade he released several standup comedy records which earned him multiple Grammy Awards for Best Comedy Album. He also had a starring role in the television crime show I Spy opposite Robert Culp. He made history as the first African American to win the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series in 1966. Cosby continued to prosper in his career until the notorious allegations were brought against him.
To date, Bill Cosby has been accused of rape, sexual assault, and other allegations by approximately 60 women. The dates of the alleged incidents range from 1965 to 2008, in 10 states across America and one Canadian province. The disgraced comedian has served nearly three years in prison but maintained his innocence throughout this time.
When Bill Cosby was denied parole, the board even noted that this was in part due to his refusal to admit his guilt and participate in sex offender rehabilitation programs. The former television star had referred to himself as a political prisoner while behind bars. There have been rumors of the comedian wanting to go back on tour with his comedy act. But it remains to be seen if that would be possible given his current reputation.
We Need to Talk About Cosby will be screened at the Sundance Film Festival on January 22nd, followed by a Showtime debut on January 30th at 10 pm ET. All episodes of the Bill Cosby documentary series will be available across all Showtime streaming and VOD platforms on the same day.