Comedian W. Kamau Bell gets serious about Bill Cosby
Content warning: This interview includes extensive discussion and descriptions of sexual assault.
On the latest episode we talk with W. Kamau Bell. He’s a longtime friend of the show, and a terrific standup comic. He hosts the CNN show United Shades of America, and before that the FXX show Totally Biased.
Kamau directed a new documentary series. It’s called We Need To Talk About Cosby.
Bill Cosby is one of the most successful TV and stand-up comedy stars of all time. He’s also been accused by more than sixty women of sexual assault. He was convicted of sexual assault in 2018, though he was released from jail last year when his conviction was overturned on technical grounds.
The documentary includes first-hand testimony from women describing Cosby actions. It’s also about what Cosby means, and how we – all Americans, but especially Black Americans like Kamau – can deal with what he did.
It’s a complicated, difficult topic. One that intersects with the fabric of the American entertainment system, with race, the justice system, the MeToo movement and so much more.
In this conversation we talk with Kamau about the documentary at length. He talks about what Cosby meant to him as a kid and as a comic. He talks about Cosby’s pioneering work in civil rights and in television, and about how we struggle to square all that with the person we now know Cosby to be.
We Need To Talk About Cosby will be available to watch via Showtime on January 30.
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Bullseye is a celebration of the best of arts and culture in public radio form. Host Jesse Thorn sifts the wheat from the chaff to bring you in-depth interviews with the most revered and revolutionary minds in our culture.
Bullseye has been featured in Time, The New York Times, GQ and McSweeney’s, which called it “the kind of show people listen to in a more perfect world.” Since April 2013, the show has been distributed by NPR.
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