The AV Club gives this weekend’s Far From Finished, Philly native Bill Cosby’s special for Comedy Central, a C+: “He’s built up a ton of goodwill and truly earned it, but that doesn’t make what he’s doing now any more exciting. He’s like your kind, funny, endearing uncle—his humor might not be your style, but he’s fun to spend a little time with.”
The Wall Street Journal has an interview with Cosby:
When you came up in comedy in the 1960s, there were comedians trying to influence politics and race relations. You weren’t a political comedian, but you did change things.
There were routines I was doing in those days, working ’til 4 o’clock in the morning in Greenwich Village. I did a routine about slavery. My stuff was all in the storytelling. But I never believed that after laughing at what was said on stage, about what was going on offstage, racially, was going to change anybody’s minds. The thing that I do with helping people identify was enough. I felt that if you hear me talk about my mother, and your mother did the same thing, what’s the difference? But it still doesn’t change anybody’s racism.
Really? If people are identifying with you, maybe it does.
No, because racism is a mental illness. I've had guys come up to me, and they'll say to me "My father didn't like black people, but he brought your album home and he played it and laughed and laughed." And some of them say that was the difference. "He was still a racist, but he didn't mind if I had a black friend." So in some ways the laughter works. But not enough of an elixir to stop somebody from thinking that they don't like somebody's color.
New York Mag also considers Cosby's long standup career:
And it might make us mourn all the stand-up specials he didn’t tape because he was too busy revolutionizing the sitcom, making a mint as a commercial pitchman, stinking up the big screen with Leonard Part 6, lecturing young people on the virtues of pulling their pants up, getting caught in various hypocrisies that belied his self-styled Father of the Century image, and otherwise making us forget about his greatness as a storyteller. We shouldn’t. Far From Finished reminds us why.