The recent suicide of Robin Williams puts into bold perspective that we really don’t know very much about the inner lives of the people that make us laugh. From Lenny Bruce to Richard Pryor, from Johnny Carson to Bill Cosby, the demons and private lives that drove these comedians were often anything but funny.
Cosby was particularly unique in several ways. He broke the color barrier for television with I Spy. He appealed to predominantly white audiences, yet subtly advanced the civil rights agenda. He broke the rules, yet didn’t shout while he was doing it. The Cosby show has become a part of American iconography and some would argue paved the way for the election of Barack Obama.
But what we know about his influential comedian has been mostly underwater. That is until journalist Mark Whitaker now pulls it all together in his new biography Cosby: His Life and Times