“The Cosby Show” debuted 25 years ago on NBC. To mark the anniversary and subtly promote their DVD release, many of the cast members reunited on “The Today Show” this morning for an interview with Matt Lauer. They showed some great clips, though I’m guessing almost everyone is familiar with them already since the show’s still on about five hours a day in reruns. Bill Cosby had some rather odd moments throughout the chat – he’s aged into a sometimes unusual fellow, to say the least.
Can you believe it’s been 25 years since The Cosby Show first aired?
To mark the anniversary, the cast reunited on The Today Tuesday to relive their favorite moments.
“Our stuff is funny. There’s love there. It’s all genuine,” Bill Cosby explains of the endurance of the show, which premiered Sept. 20, 1984.
Malcolm-Jamal Warner, who played Theo Huxtable, says the show is still popular after all these years because of Bill Cosby’s “vision. He wanted the show to be timeless. If I wanted to put slang in, he’d say, ‘No, let’s make up slang so 20 years later, it’s still relevant.’”
Keshia Knight-Pulliam, who starred as 4-year-old Rudy, says she thinks of the Huxtables as more of “an American family” than an “African-American family…that was what was so groundbreaking and still so relevant today. The family issues weren’t about race.”
Mom Phylicia Rashad continues: “We were always an African-American family…that’s an American family. We were not a novelty. This American family has existed for decades and decades and centuries…we were just new to television.”
Knight-Pulliam also opens up about learning her lines when she was just four years old. “I couldn’t read and I had to learn lines. I memorized them [with my parents],” she says.
[From Us Weekly]
The part about their show being funny was a great interaction. Matt Lauer notes that when other casts watch their clips on “Today” they seem to feel awkwardly, but the cast of “The Cosby Show” still laughs and enjoys them. Cosby replies, “Yes, because our stuff is funny.”
Some of his stranger moments occurred when he started talking about their great editor who knew to stay on the kids when they delivered a funny line, and then without any segue started talking about how everybody knows “the mother with the eyes” (meaning Rashad). And he goes off on that for a long time, until Matt Lauer finally says, “Did I even ask a question?” Everyone laughs, but for some reason Cosby doesn’t and then calls Lauer “Charles Dickens.” Naturally.
It’s hard not to notice that everyone still refers to him as “Mr. Cosby” or “Dr. Cosby” – something I’d noticed in other interviews over the years. Lauer asks if it has to do with respect, and Cosby replies “No, it has to do with checks!”
One of the most interesting questions comes off a skit from “The Daily Show,” in which one of the correspondents says that Barack Obama is basically just Cliff Huxtable. The reasons being that “They’re both married to hot lawyers, both work out of offices on the west side of their houses, and both have unrealistically cute daughters.” Lauer uses this as a jumping off point, asking, “Did this show, in some ways, pave the way for a President Obama?”
Malcolm Jamal-Warner answered it in a way I thought was really great. He said, “It changed the ways white America AND black America looked at the black middle class.” And noted that “24” had a black president, thus there were other shows that may have contributed along the way. Overall it was a fun interview to watch, even with some of Cosby’s unusual and slightly awkward antics.