There was an awkward moment at yesterday’s luncheon that rose from a serious woman’s comment about homosexuality. She innocently mentioned a man who might be able to help those in the audience better understand the circumstances faced with friends or relatives coming out of the closet, but her delivery was unknowingly unique.
She introduced him without any forethought as a man who “loves the brain, sex and Jesus.” Everyone cracked up and his wife turned 30 shades of pink.
The odd introduction coupled with a subject matter that is awkward for many, set the stage for numerous jokes throughout the afternoon. While some poor jokes surfaced out of nervousness, most jokes opened the door for people to explore the subject for the first time. I was impressed by the willingness of people to learn about things outside of their comfort zone.
This was made possible in the moment of introduction, because Bill took things in stride and added some additional humor – Causing many to feel more comfortable about the subject matter. His comicality brought a sense of joy into the room and disarmed internalized tensions of many. His words were filled with grace and self-deprecation.
What made the moment funny for me was remembering back to the promo piece I shot last week. Bill was one of the actors who made everyone on set laugh with little effort.
The comedian’s skills far exceeded what you might expect from a conservative university professor that teaches classes on the brain. And amazingly, he returned from a three month sabbatical that utilized his theological degree and other credentials in writing a book on how sexuality of female Evangelicals affects their brain.
So, when the woman casually asked him what he did over the summer, it’s easy to understand how she summarized his passions the way she had.
I lost track of how many degrees Bill has, but I’ll never forget how funny his impromptu shtick was on set. He was in rare form last week and he had the entire cast and crew in stiches. Several people thought we should rewrite the promo to include more of Bill doing his hilarious adlib, but the script had already been approved.
After seeing Bill in his horse riding costume, I immediately thought of “My Professor’s Study,” a live action/animated children’s series I designed for ages 8-12. Once financed, I’ll have to consider Bill for the role of the goofy professor. I would also plan to shoot the script with enough time left over for Bill to spin his humor through impromptu play.
What is it about people with numerous degrees, like Bill Cosby, that creates some of the funniest impromptu bits?