Bill Cosby is Not Sorry

Under a Nelson Mandela portrait, the accused rapist delivers bizarre jokes to his die-hard fans

Comedian Bill Cosby performs at the Buell Theater in Denver, Saturday, Jan. 17, 2015. Cosby, 77, is facing sexual assault accusations from at least 15 women, with some of the claims dating back decades. He has denied the allegations through his attorney and has never been charged with a crime. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)
Comedian Bill Cosby performs at the Buell Theater in Denver, Saturday, Jan. 17, 2015. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)


(Salon) – Show up early to a Bill Cosby show these days and you’re met with a strange dichotomy.

A prerecorded message plays on the theater’s public address system, repeating every five minutes. “We have been advised there may be attempts to disrupt tonight’s performance,” the recording, playing just softly enough that you have to struggle to hear it, says. “If a disruption occurs please remain calm until the matter is resolved and do not confront the person making the disruption.”

At the same time, there’s a photo projected onto a screen behind the stage where Cosby will soon perform. It’s the kind of screen and the kind of photo that feel like they should be part of a slide show, but no, there’s just the one photo. Taken in 1997, it’s a picture of a younger, smiling Cosby. He’s wearing a bright red sweater, looking directly into the camera and shaking hands with a laughing Nelson Mandela.

The not-so-subtle subtext seems to be: Forget what you’ve heard, forget the nearly three dozen women and their crazy claims, forget that droning announcement, I’m a good guy. Mandela thinks so.


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