Cosby Wows Parents Weekend Crowd

  • News Photo 620
    Bill Cosby
    Photo By: Jason Raddin / Baylor Photography
  • News Photo 621
    Bill Cosby
    Photo By: Jason Raddin / Baylor Photography
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    Bill Cosby
    Photo By: Jason Raddin / Baylor Photography
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    Emcee John Morris, Baylor's director of broadcasting, with Bill Cosby.
    Photo By: Jason Raddin / Baylor Photography
  • News Photo 619
    Bill Cosby
    Photo By: Jason Raddin / Baylor Photography
Sept. 24, 2002

by Lori Scott Fogleman

Wearing a Baylor University cap, green warm-up pants and a gold track and field t-shirt, comedian Bill Cosby combined his patented humorous take on families and fatherhood with a message about the importance of education, character and integrity during his sold-out Parents Weekend performance Sept. 20 at the Ferrell Center.

"I'm always tickled to do Parents Weekend," Cosby said. "The reason why colleges and universities all over around the world have Parents Weekend, Mothers Weekend, Fathers Weekend, Aunt and Uncles Weekend, because that's the only way they can get you to clean up those rooms."

Sitting in a folding chair on a darkened Ferrell Center stage, Cosby took advantage of both students and parents in the audience to talk about procrastination, especially when it comes to studying.

"You're not giving yourself an education when you wait until the last minute. You're setting yourself up to just pass," he said. "I'm 65 years old, and I don't want to be on the operating table with someone who just finished the book. Didn't even read it, just scanned it."

Students should come out of college with something more than just a diploma, he said, directing his comments particularly to first-year students.

"There's nothing new you're going to bring in terms of an excuse. There's no paper that you're going to lift from somewhere that your professors haven't seen before, so keep your integrity and your character. Do your work and study," he said. "These people are experienced and they grow very tired of people who think they're bringing something with no integrity new to the table."

The man known for literally "writing the book on fatherhood" also talked about the importance of a college education for hard-working parents and for their children.

"These people who had you had an idea that if they ever had a child, the one thing they wanted to be able to afford was a college education, because they felt that that diploma or that piece of paper was very, very important for the kid," he said. "You'll find that this is so significant that some of your grandparents are going to try to live long enough to see you walk across the stage."

Cosby kept the Ferrell Center audience laughing with monologues on retirement, Father's Day, his daughter's marriage, television news and his own childhood. He wrapped up his nearly two-hour-long performance with one of his most famous routines, "The Dentist," about how a dentist attempts to converse with a patient whose lips and face are numb from a shot of novacaine.

Before he took the stage, Cosby met coaches and members of Baylor's men's and women's basketball and track and field teams. The star of "I Spy" and the ground-breaking 1980s TV show "The Cosby Show" attended Temple University on an athletic scholarship. He also is known for his appearances at the Penn Relays, one of the nation's top college track meets.

"The interesting thing about track and field is that it's right there with studying. What it is is your personal best," Cosby said. "If I can beat my last best time, that makes sense."

Cosby's performance was delayed by approximately 20 minutes as cars continued to pull into Ferrell Center parking lot for the scheduled 8 p.m. performance. Baylor's Director of Broadcasting John Morris, who served as emcee, said Cosby agreed to the delay so all members of the audience could be seated. The proceeds from the Cosby performance will help fund the Ferrell Center's new state-of-the-art permanent floor.

This was Cosby's second appearance at Baylor. He performed during Homecoming in November 1990.

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