One of the enduring images of my childhood:
And a defining comedy bit:
And now, Bill Cosby is a convicted rapist. He may be able to appeal the verdicts long enough to avoid actually going to prison, but that's the endgame. So, what do we do with his significant legacy? This is a man who entertained my father in the 1960s (he owned the album pictured on the YouTube link), taught me life lessons in the 1970s, and was America's Dad in the 1980s. We are 30 years on from his greatest triumphs, but it's all out there to see and hear. Or do we pretend those triumphs don't exist going forward, because Bill Cosby the man behaved in despicable ways when the camera was put away and the recording devices weren't running?
As a rule, comedians are screwed-up people. Aside from perhaps Bob Newhart, you'd be hard pressed to find a great comedian who didn't behave badly in their private lives. Cosby's contemporary, Woody Allen, is a monster in dozens of ways. He continues to work because his work remains profitable to the niche audience it targets. Cosby hasn't been so fortunate.
We struggle with work of geniuses who are monsters. I can't pretend that Bill Cosby's work had an influence in my life. Nor do I think I should.