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Buress used his stage for a different kind of bit.
Last Thursday at a show in Philadelphia, comedian Hannibal Buress told one of the most taboo stories there is to tell: He called out Bill Cosby, a Philadelphia native, for his history of rape accusations.
Buress, an entertainer who also appears on Broad City, isn’t known for calling out comedy legends on stage. His brand of humor is more observational. But on Thursday, Buress wanted us to think about something else—specifically, the number of women who have accused Cosby of sexual assault.
Thirteen. It’s even worse because Bill Cosby has the fucking smuggest old black man public persona that I hate. He gets on TV, ‘Pull your pants up black people, I was on TV in the 80s! I can talk down to you because I had a successful sitcom!’ Yeah, but you rape women, Bill Cosby, so turn the crazy down a couple notches.
He wonders aloud why he’s telling the audience this, then says:
I guess I want to just at least make it weird for you to watch Cosby Show reruns. Dude’s image, for the most part, is a public Teflon image. I’ve done this bit on stage and people don’t believe me, people think I’m making it up. ‘Bill Cosby has a lot of rape allegations.’ ‘No, you do!’… When you leave here, Google ‘Bill Cosby rape.’ That shit has more results than ‘Hannibal Buress.’
Cosby has been accused of sexually assaulting 14 women. In 2006, Cosby settled a lawsuit against a woman who claimed he raped her in 2004. Since he settled, none of the 13 other women who agreed to testify got to do so. Several of his accusers have given interviews to media outlets. Cosby’s newly published biography obviously omits any mention of these allegations. When asked why, author Mark Strickland explained, “I was aware of the allegations, but ultimately decided not to include them in my book. I didn’t want to print allegations that I couldn’t confirm independently.”
Good for @HannibalBuress. Just because something is crushingly sad doesn’t mean it isn’t reality. We need more men speaking against rape.
— Jesse Thorn (@JesseThorn) October 21, 2014
We don’t want to talk about this, of course. Everyone loves Bill Cosby and no one wants to think he’s capable of being a rapist. This story has been told so many times before, but the allegations have effectively been swept under the rug. Cosby continues to work and take speaking engagements. Sometimes it takes another person with a stage to say what no one wants to.
Apparently, right after Buress’s Cosby’s bit, someone in the audience vomited. What a punchline.
Apparently there was a guy projectile vomiting in the back rows while I was performing in Philly yesterday. I was super oblivious.
— Hannibal Buress (@hannibalburess) October 17, 2014
Audra Schroeder is the Daily Dot’s senior entertainment writer, and she focuses on streaming, comedy, and music. Her work has previously appeared in the Austin Chronicle, the Dallas Observer, NPR, ESPN, Bitch, and the Village Voice. She is based in Austin, Texas.