For those who grew up with Bill Cosby’s comedy, feelings of sadness shouldn’t be confused with sympathy in appraising a legacy that — whatever the eventual outcome of the criminal case against him, in which a jury on Saturday failed to reach a verdict — has already been forever tarnished.
Cosby’s accomplishments as a comedian and TV star are near unique, in part because of the time in which he achieved them and the nature of his appeal.
In a recent Los Angeles Times piece, comedian/producer Larry Wilmore noted that while some will be able to compartmentalize their view of a comic whose Hall of Fame credentials earned him the title “America’s dad,” this unsavory chapter “will overshadow his career.”
Others noted that Cosby’s TV, comedy and cultural footprint is simply too large to erase. Although spared a conviction, faced with dozens of accusers, the damage to his image has been done. And even those who can still quote from old Cosby routines will be hard-pressed to do so again without wincing at thoughts of the source and this comedy legend’s tragic last act.
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