PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Bill Cosby carried out in public for the primary time since a intercourse abuse scandal embroiled him in 2015, joking that he “used to be a comedian” and taking part in with a jazz band in his hometown as a retrial looms in his felony sexual assault case.
The 80-year-old entertainer took the stage for about an hour Monday evening at a Philadelphia jazz membership for his first show since May 2015. Before a pleasant crowd, he informed tales, honored previous buddies and completed by main the band in a set, first utilizing his mouth to scat in place of a lacking horn part after which taking a flip on the drums.
Cosby, handing the drumsticks off to the bass participant’s 11-year-old son, requested if the boy knew who he was after which informed him.
“I used to be a comedian,” Cosby deadpanned.
Cosby reminisced about his childhood, telling the gang about how when he was four he grilled a relative in regards to the impending delivery of his brother. He mimicked his Uncle William, who took a swig from a cocktail earlier than answering each query — together with whether or not a stork was actually delivering the infant to his dad and mom.
Afterward, Cosby practically dropped a glass jar he was utilizing as a prop, prompting a “Whoa!” from the gang.
Cosby, who’s legally blind, seized on the second.
“Let me let you know one thing about folks speaking to blind folks, you sighted folks,” Cosby mentioned. “If you see a blind particular person strolling right into a pole or one thing, in the event you communicate good English, there is a phrase referred to as ‘Stop!’ Not ‘Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa!’
“You chuckle when blind folks stroll into issues,” he continued. “And guess what: Blind folks chuckle when sighted folks fall down!”
Cosby arrived on the jazz membership on the arm of his spokesman, Andrew Wyatt. He wore a grey hoodie bearing the phrase “Hello Friend,” one thing his late son, Ennis Cosby, typically would say.
He posed for photographs with buddies, together with a pair he honored in the beginning of his set. They all grew up in the identical public housing complicated.
Cosby mentioned he determined to make his return to the stage due to his buddies.
“I got here right here tonight to get pleasure from being with my buddies and the musicians and the individuals who got here,” he mentioned after the show.
He declined to focus on his upcoming retrial in a sexual assault case.
During the show, the receptive crowd applauded and laughed together with Cosby’s jokes, a far cry from how his final performances went. His final comedy tour ended amid protests as about 60 ladies had been coming ahead to accuse him of drugging and molesting them over 5 many years, one thing he has denied.
Cosby is scheduled for an April 2 retrial on expenses he drugged and molested a lady at his suburban Philadelphia residence in 2004. He has pleaded not responsible and stays free on bail. His first trial ended with a hung jury final 12 months. Jury choice for his retrial will begin March 29.
Cosby’s spokesman notified reporters of the comedy efficiency about two hours earlier than he was to take the stage on the LaRose Jazz Club. The show was a part of a program honoring jazz musician Tony Williams.
Outside the jazz membership there was one protester, a lady who regularly hounded Cosby at his trial final 12 months. She performed Helen Reddy’s tune “I Am Woman” on a loop and held up an indication that mentioned, “Perseverance to all survivors.”
The jazz membership efficiency is Cosby’s newest step again into the highlight he’s largely shied from since his December 2015 arrest.
Two weeks in the past, Cosby invited reporters to tag alongside as he ate dinner with previous buddies at a Philadelphia restaurant.
Over the weekend, Cosby’s social media accounts featured photographs of him visiting a barber and a restaurant in the realm and displaying assist for the Philadelphia Eagles, who received Sunday’s NFC Championship recreation towards the Minnesota Vikings and secured a spot in the Super Bowl.
This story has been corrected to show the arrest was in 2015, not 2005.