At one point, Bill Cosby was as famous as it got, essentially America’s Dad during his run on the eponymous The Cosby Show during the 1980s and early 90s. But he had a fall from grace after disturbing allegations surfaced about sexual conduct. He ended up spending time in jail following a sexual assault conviction in 2018. In the wake of these allegations, it’s called into question how folks reconcile the Bill Cosby they once “knew” on the big and small screen with the person who’s had such disturbing allegations surfaced. One comedian is putting that discussion in the framework of a docuseries.
The new docuseries is called We Need to Talk About Cosby presented by host W. Kamau Bell is set to take a look at Bill Cosby and how the star’s legacy had to be put into a new context. Bell labels himself a “child of Bill Cosby”, someone who grew up at a time when the star comedian’s image was as wholesome as you could ever imagine. And through a series of interviews, as well as a look into how Bell grew up heavily influenced by Cosby, the series is set to discuss the latter’s legacy. Check out the first trailer for We Need to Talk About Cosby:
We Need to Talk About Cosby is set to premiere on Showtime on January 30th after debuting at The Sundance Film Festival on January 22nd. In the trailer, Bell speaks about how growing up in the 70s, being black, and being a comedian meant that Cosby was one of his heroes. In the aftermath of Cosby being convicted of sexual assault, he felt it was time to discuss and evaluate just how the cultural impact would need to pivot and be reexplored.
The Cosby Show ran for eight seasons on NBC from 1984 until 1992. It was a cultural phenomenon, following the lives of the family with Bill Cosby’s Cliff Huxtable as the patriarch. The sitcom helped lead the way in making it easier for shows to have full black casts. From a ratings perspective, it dominated its time slot, ranking first overall in Nielsen for seasons two through six.
But then in 2014, it came to light that Bill Cosby had been rumored to have been accused of alleged sexual assault. This first started in comedian Hannibal Burress’s routine but then many women stepped forward with stories of encounters with Bill Cosby over the years. One case ended up going to court in Pennsylvania and in 2018 Cosby was convicted of aggrieved indecent assault and sentenced to 3-10 years in prison. But due to a technicality in the legal process, this past year Cosby was released from prison. He is now a free man.
There have been rumors that Bill Cosby was trying to get another show into production. But it’s unclear if there has been any movement on that front. It seems unlikely that a studio would be interested in doing business with the disgraced comedian. This new show is set to at least shine light on Cosby’s case and just how different his legacy has become after the allegations were made public.