Bill Cosby is set to regain his freedom, thanks to a split decision Wednesday from the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to overturn his sex assault conviction from 2018 sent him to Pennsylvania state prison.
But will Cosby be free to perform comedy again? Will he even want to?
He’ll turn 84 on July 12. Seven years ago, though, he filmed a Netflix stand-up special on his birthday, conveniently titled Bill Cosby 77. Netflix made big plans to release it the day after Thanksgiving in 2014, because what family wouldn’t want to share an hour or two watching America’s Dad one more time for posterity?
Bill Cosby 77 supposedly features Cosby, sitting per usual for about an hour inside the San Francisco Jazz Center, telling stories about some of his favorite comedy subjects: Children and childhood, romance and matrimony. His wife, Camille, even helped with the editing.
Then came the accusations from dozens of women, all alleging the award-winning actor and comedian had drugged them to have sex with them without their consent. Within hours, just 10 days before Thanksgiving, Netflix pulled the plug on Cosby. Not now, Netflix chief Ted Sarandos told reporters two months later at the winter TCAs. By summer 2015 TCAs, Sarandos couldn’t imagine any release date for Bill Cosby 77. “I don’t think it’s appropriate to release now,” he said then.
Of course, what’s appropriate does seem to change over time.
After Louis CK admitted to sexual misconduct in front of multiple women in the comedy business in 2017, Netflix promptly removed all of his catalogue from the platform. Now, though? A search for Louis CK on Netflix pulls up three of his stand-up specials: Hilarious; Live at the Comedy Store; 2017. As well as the movie CK wrote and directed, 2001’s Pootie Tang based on sketches from The Chris Rock Show. Which itself just finally resurfaced on HBO Max.
So never say never. And Sarandos never did.
We reached out to representatives at Netflix for comment, and will update this post accordingly if and when we hear back.
In the meantime, The Cosby Show is available on Amazon Prime Video now. You also can rent his 2013 Comedy Central special, the perhaps now ironically-titled Far From Finished. And you can still see Jerry Seinfeld and Chris Rock fawn all over Cosby in the 2002 documentary, Comedian.
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