Legendary. I do not think I am going out on a limb to suggest that there is no stand-up comedy fan anywhere in the world who does not love and adore Bill Cosby. One of the pioneers, and one of the absolute masters. Cosby released his first stand-up comedy album in 1963 and then continued to release more than 20 superb albums over the course of the next couple decades. The last Cosby album was released in the mid-1980s, and we have gone the better part of 30 years without any new albums from this comic genius. Well, he’s back. Cosby is set to release a new album called “... Far From Finished,” telling the world that he is not yet ready to stop delivering comedy gold. MP3 album at Amazon
There was, undoubtedly, a tremendous amount of pressure on Cosby to release exquisite material. After all, the expectations of this album were going to be sky high. How could anybody live up to those expectations? Well, I’m not sure if “anybody” could live up to those expectations. But, we’re not talking about just “anybody” -- we’re talking about Bill Cosby. So, did this album live up to my almost impossibly high expectations? Unreservedly, yes!
Quite simply, Cosby has not skipped a beat. As soon as he took the stage and started speaking, a warm feeling came over me and it reminded me of when I used to listen to Cosby albums as a young child. The exact same voice, the exact same tone, the exact same pacing. Everything, right on point. And everything hilarious.
“... Far From Finished” is available as a DVD or CD/MP3. Both contain The ninety-some minute set. The Blu-ray features a forty-eight minute interview Cosby gave to Robert Townsend. The 2 CD and MP3 album have two bonus tracks, Bernadette and Otis that run a total of fifty minutes.
As for the material, Cosby stuck to what he knows best … family. He opens the show with a roughly 20 minute bit about the differences between girlfriends and wives, and then a large chunk of time about being a husband. Although these are all familiar topics, Cosby always finds a way to make it unique and funny. Classic Cosby came in a bit called “You’re Not Rich.” In that bit, Cosby’s kids ask him to drop them off a few blocks from school so that they could walk the rest of the way. The kids explain that they do not want to be dropped off in front of the school because other kids make fun of them for being rich. Cosby responds and tells the kids that they are mistaken. He and their mother are rich; but they (the kids) are broke. They have nothing, and they should go tell that to their “friends.” One of my favorite bits is a 13 minute bit about chocolate chip cookies, wherein Cosby explains the torture of having to sneak around to find a way to eat cookies because his wife is worried about his health. The story is fantastic.
If you only plan to pick up one version -- either the DVD or the CD/MP3 -- I recommend going with the DVD. My review copy was the audio-only version, and there were a few bits that required a visual. In fact, the show opens with a bit that relied on a visual. Later on, there is bit called “GPS” where Cosby discusses driving in a car with his wife and another married couple. The other husband was driving, and every time the GPS gave an instruction, the wife repeated the instruction. There was a moment during that bit where Cosby had to silently motion to his wife to get a point across, and that moment was entirely visual. The audience was laughing, and laughing HARD. Uncontrollably. And, as a listener of the audio-only version, not being able to see Cosby’s facial expressions was incredibly frustrating. So, needless to say, I am very much looking forward to actually seeing the special as well.
As mentioned, the album closes with about 40 minutes of “bonus” material, comprised of two tracks -- one about a childhood crush on a girl named Bernadette, and one about his childhood friend Otis. The bonus tracks are good, but it is clear why these were edited out of the proper special. Cosby is a master storyteller, and while the two bonus stories are interesting, entertaining and undoubtedly funny, they did not pack the same laugh-per-second “comedy punch” as those in the proper special.
Absolutely recommended. Welcome back, Cosby!
Other Bill Cosby Reviews
Oh, Baby: another very good if different Cosby cd. 1991 on the Geffen label.
When I Was A Kid: When I Was A Kid, originally released on the Uni label in 1971 and now available on Geffen, is a collection of childhood stories from Bill Cosby' s stand-up days after he left the Warner Brothers label.
Bill Cosby Is A Funny Fellow, Right!: probably the Bill Cosby album or comedy cd everyone is most familiar contains his classic and memorable Noah bit comprised of Noah: Right! Noah: And The Neighbor, and Noah: Me And You, Lord.
The Very Best of Bill Cosby: definitely not the very best of Bill Cosby.
To Russell, My Brother, Whom I Slept With: Title track worth the price of the CD
Wonderfulness: Contains Chicken Heart, Go Karts, Tonsils and other good stuff
It's True! It's True!: A high school student could have done a better job with an old cassette copy, a tin can, and a piece of string
200 MPH: another classic though lesser-known Bill Cosby comedy CD
I Started Out As A Child: Contains Street Football and Lone Ranger, the rest of minor interest
Revenge: Features three back-to-back absolute classics: Cool Covers, 9th Street Bridge, Buck Buck
The Bill Cosby Collection: contains some of his most offbeat and hard to find stand-up comedy bits.
Why Is There Air?: Bill Cosby comedy CD contains $75 Car, Shop, and other good stuff
Himself: Bill Cosby DVD with The Dentist, Brain Damage, Naturan Child Birth, Chocolate Cake For Breakfast and other good stuff.
Ghost Dad: almost decent family fare
Leonard Part 6: 1987 Golden Raspberry Award winner for worst picture
Bill Cosby - Just For Laughs 2006: A giant show by the giant of comedy
Cosby And The Kids: The best Bill Cosby stand-up comedy CD compilation.
The Cosby Show - Season 3: A classic situation comedy that was excellent in its early years.
Bill Cosby - Montreal, July 25th 2009: This comedy giant is still a giant.
Icon: Nothing new if you already have other Cosby CDs
Far From Finished - Blu-ray: Brilliant. The video version includes a forty-eight minute interview but not the two bonus tracks from the CD