WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT COSBY is a four-part documentary dealing with the conundrum of who Bill Cosby is and how do we process all that has occurred. 

Bill Cosby was a “once beloved” iconic comedian. He was a successful actor, stand-up comic, spokesperson, movie star, and activist for Black rights. Cosby was considered everyone’s father figure, and he will go down in history for creating some of the funniest comedic bits. He won Grammys, Emmys, and even an Honorary Doctorate. America totally trusted him, yet he has also been accused of sexual assault over 50 times and convicted on three counts. He served time in prison and was released recently. Cosby is said to have drugged most of the women who accused him of rape or sexual abuse. Bill Cosby used to speak out against drugs on infomercials. “Just say no.” His accusers find this ironic and hypocritical since they believe he is one of America’s “biggest predators.”

This series presents the question repeatedly to comedians, producers, victims, and professors…how do we process who really is Bill Cosby? Can we listen to his recordings, watch reruns of I SPY, FAT ALBERT, or THE COSBY SHOW? Do we still laugh at Noah’s Ark or jokes about Spanish Fly (Cosby was obsessed about the advantages of the drug Spanish Fly)?

The hardest part for me watching WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT COSBY was listening to the stories from many of his women accusers. These took place throughout Cosby’s career, starting in the mid-’60s. I met Bill Cosby once long ago when I was visiting Las Vegas. I saw him across the room, recognized the man in the sweater, and went running up to greet him specifically. I let him know how much I admired his work, and he was one of my favorite comedians. This is hard for me to accept. 

WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT COSBY just presents the past, proven facts, clips, and theories. It is a compelling series. I did not expect this. I wasn’t sure I even wanted to watch, but now, I can’t turn away. I actually am looking forward to the next two installments. W. Kamai Bell is unobtrusive and excellent at holding up that mirror. It forces me to think about unpleasant topics that need to be placed in the light of day. It is time. 

WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT COSBY is available to stream on SHOWTIME.  

Esta Rosevear

Esta Rosevear has been a Theatre Arts teacher and director for 35+ years, published Children’s author of the Rebecca series, and is passionate about playing her violin, walking, gardening, and reading murder mysteries.

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