Rounding 40 years since he first stood up to recount comical things, Dr. Cosby is the Cal Ripkin of standup. Just as regularly, no matter what, he suits up and delivers another slim volume of agreeable musings on matters of general interest (Love and Marriage, 1989; Childhood, 1991, etc.).
An integral part of Cosby’s writing is his powerful persona, and a reader can hear the droll delivery on each page, if not actual rim shots on the punch lines. When Cos was six, he informs us, “my father said to me: ‘Son, I’m going to tell you something and I want you to never forget it.’ And then he knocked me out.” There are many pleasantries about growing up in the projects in North Philly, where Cosby was the brightest kid in his school. When he found that out, he joined the Navy. Then he attended Teachers College at Temple University (things move quickly in Cosby’s world). Matters uxorious, a Cosby stock in trade, are not neglected, as in the discussion of nights long after the wedding in which he seeks the toilet without turning on the light. And no one can present a better exegesis of a little kid’s tantrum. The tales, true or false, are generally diverting, though not all equally so. There is a particularly nice story about playing the Big Time for the first time at Mr. Kelly’s in Chicago all those years ago; but frankly, Bill, we could have done without the detailed essay about your ingrown hair. Though the text contains no Fat Albert, each chapter is graced with a drawing by the great George Booth.
A quick and easy senior seminar taught by a quick and easy senior instructor, false attempts at grouchiness notwithstanding. It’s amiable entertainment—it could not be otherwise—and fully anodyne.