Life on and off the waters of the Wood River Valley
The Cosby Show Comes to Town
Scholars have long argued as to why God, after making a perfectly good, exceptionally well-behaved and seemingly contented man —better known as Adam—decided to make a woman.
One of the first rules of bartending, the trade of serving beer, is to never talk about politics or religion. Of course, Bill Cosby isn’t a bartender by trade, he’s a joke teller—and one of the best to ever hone the craft. So politics and the editorial work done on the Holy Bible are, quite naturally, his forte.
“I have no problem with God…but the editors,” Bill began in his deep, slow-paced voice. Just then the skies suddenly closed and it began to pour hard enough to make Moses nervous. “On second thought, I will not talk about the Bible.”
Soon to turn 74, Bill Cosby still practices his craft with the precision of a master and he delighted the crowd with his razor sharp take on marriage, manhood and his explanation of the Genesis section of the Bible.
“There’s pages missing,” Cosby told a audience, which included a fairly large conference of bankers from the Beehive State. “I don’t know where they are but I think they’re in Utah.”
For more than two hours, Cosby put on his show with the ease and mellow energy that has earned him countless Emmys, Grammys and honorary PhDs. What was most impressive about his performance, however, was that despite tackling topics like sex, puberty and marital quarrels, Cosby never uttered even a single foul word.
“You give her a ring,” Bill advised the bachelors of the crowd about marriage, “she gives you an answer.”
One of the wonders of watching Cosby at his craft is how effortlessly he masters the use of silence. No one uses the quiet pause, served with a side of great facial expressions, better than Cosby. He somehow tickles the funny bone by not saying anything.
“God would never say, ‘you need a woman,’” Cosby declared when explaining Eve’s entrance into the world. “No, it was ‘you need a helpmate’—which describes nothing by the way,” Bill said, then scanned the crowd and gestured to his right. “God could have come out with a Shammy.”
There isn’t a better venue in America to catch the Cosby (or just about any) show than the Sun Valley Pavilion. Having fond memories of listening to bands belt it out of the big white tent scattered across the Sun Valley lawn—this was my first show at the still somewhat new Pavilion (opened in the summer of 2008) and I was duly impressed
The building itself is covered in stunning Mariotti travertine stone (the same Italian stone used to grace places like the Roman Colosseum, the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in Washington D.C. and St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican) the backdrop of Idaho mountains is sublime. Yet the Pavilion is still small and intimate enough that it felt like Cosby looked right at me, and just about every other member of the chuckling crowd, a few times.
Despite having been a professional comedian of stage, screen and the boob-tube for more than a half-century now, Cosby seems to have taken a page out of Methuselah’s section of the Bible and hasn’t aged a minute. That must explain why some of his jokes are timeless—as well as occasionally applicable to those of us of any age: “When you’re 15 you’ve got two things going for you: stupidity and hope.”