Bill Cosby

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Parents are not interested in justice — they want QUIET!

William Henry "Bill" Cosby, Jr. Ed.D (born July 12, 1937) is an American actor, comedian, television producer and activist.


Our children are trying to tell us something, and we are not listening. I don't care what the statistics say.
I said to a guy, I said, "Tell me, what is it about cocaine that makes it so wonderful?", and he said, "Well, it intensifies your personality." I said, "Yes, but what if you're an asshole?"
Because of my father, between the ages 7 through 15, I thought my name was "Jesus Christ."
  • We've got to take the neighborhood back. We've got to go in there. Just forget telling your child to go to the Peace Corps. It's right around the corner. It's standing on the corner. It can't speak English. It doesn't want to speak English. I can't even talk the way these people talk. "Why you ain't where you is go." I don't know who these people are. And I blamed the kid until I heard the mother talk. Then I heard the father talk. This is all in the house. You used to talk a certain way on the corner and you got into the house and switched to English. Everybody knows it's important to speak English except these knuckleheads. You can't land a plane with "why you ain't…". You can't be a doctor with that kind of crap coming out of your mouth. There is no Bible that has that kind of language. Where did these people get the idea that they're moving ahead on this? Well, they know they're not, they're just hanging out in the same place, five or six generations sitting in the projects when you're just supposed to stay there long enough to get a job and move out.
    • "Dr Bill Cosby Speaks at the 50th Anniversary commemoration of the Brown vs Topeka Board of Education Supreme Court Decision," known as the "Pound Cake" speech (May 2004).
  • I am not interested in statistics that tell me things are not as bad as they seem. Things are horrible. I have met people crying about what is happening, but there is no solution yet. Our children are trying to tell us something, and we are not listening. I don't care what the statistics say.
  • We see a successful, elegant man now, but as a child, an adolescent, his life was not a done deal. Sidney respected his mistakes. When failure came, he never said, "This is too difficult, too hard," he had the resiliency to try again. His life is somewhere between astounding and unbelievable.
  • My father walked to school 4 o'clock every morning with no shoes on, uphill, both ways, in 5 feet of snow and he was thankful.

Himself (1983)[edit]

  • My father established our relationship when I was seven years old. He looked at me and said, "You know, I brought you in this world, and I can take you out. And it don't make no difference to me, I'll make another one look just like you."
  • I said to a guy, I said, "Tell me, what is it about cocaine that makes it so wonderful?", and he said, "Well, it intensifies your personality." I said, "Yes, but what if you're an asshole?"
  • A person with no children says, "Well I just love children," and you say "Why?" and they say, "Because a child is so truthful, that's what I love about 'em — they tell the truth." That's a lie, I've got five of 'em. The only time they tell the truth is if they're having pain.
  • My wife stood up in the stirrups, grabbed my bottom lip and said "I want morphine!" I said "But, dear —" [vigorously breathing]. She said "You shut up! YOU did this to me!" And on the next contraction she told everybody in the delivery room that my parents were never married.
  • Fathers are the geniuses of the house because only a person as intelligent as we could fake such stupidity.
  • I'm not the boss of my house. I don't know how I lost it, I don't know when I lost it, I don't really think I ever had it. But I've seen the bosses job...and I don't want it!
  • And mothers are always more interested in the condition of your underwear than your body if you're ever in an accident. And they tell you that, "I hope for my sake that if you're ever in an accident, you have on clean underwear!" Well, I thought that was what an accident was! Look, you're driving a truck. Here comes another truck, gonna hit you. Now, whether you hit the truck or not, you're going to have soiled underwear! Because first you say it, then you do it! Now here comes your mother to the hospital. "Did he have on clean underwear?" "Yes, we found it in the glove compartment."
  • And because of my father, between the ages 7 through 15, I thought my name was "Jesus Christ." He'd say, "JESUS CHRIST!" And my brother, Russell, thought his name was "Dammit." "'Dammit, will you stop all that noise?! And Jesus Christ, SIT DOWN!" So one day I'm out playing in the rain. My father said "Dammit, will you get in here?!" I said, "Dad, I'm Jesus Christ!"
  • [About his first-born child] My mother looked at it and said, "Oh, how precious!" I don't know why she said it. Well, I didn't know then. I know now, because my mother put a curse on me. A long time ago, I remember when I was a child what she said, and I later found out that mothers, all mothers, put a curse on their children. They say, "I hope, when you get married, you have some children who act exactly the same way that you act." And this curse WORKS! I mean, it started with that child! My wife and I have not been intellectuals since. Oh, my wife was pretty good for a while, but it didn't last that long. It didn't last two years.
  • You know what my father's favorite game is? "Come here and pull my finger."
  • I once asked my father for a dollar for the school picnic. He told me how he once killed a grizzly bear with his loose-leaf notebook.
  • My mother said to me: "When your father gets home, he's going to shoot you in the face with a bazooka! And I'm not going to stop him this time, either! You know, he's always wanted to kill you! The day you were born, he said, 'Kill it!' I stopped him from killing you for eleven years... [starts sobbing] ...and this is the thanks I get for saving your life!"
  • I didn't know how serious it is to a female that you lift the lid.
  • Parents are not interested in justice — they want QUIET!
  • I love it when mothers get so mad they can't remember your name. "Come here, Roy, er, Roquefort, er, Rutabaga... what is your name, boy? And don't lie to me, because you live here, and I'll find out who you are."
  • Every father says the same thing: "Where's your mother?"
  • "FIBBRE!"
  • When [mothers] ask you a question, you try and answer, they tell you to shut up! "Day and night, night and day, work my fingers to the bone, for what?" "I don't..." "SHUT UP! And when I ask you a question, you keep your trap shut! Think I'm talking to hear myself talk? ANSWER ME!"
  • [about his mother] I tell my kids, "That is not the same woman I grew up with. You are looking at an old person, who is trying to get into Heaven now."
  • "And tired" always followed sick. Worst beating I ever got in my life, my mother said, "I am just sick..." And I said, "And tired." I don't remember anything after that.
  • My wife and I have five children. And the reason why we have five children is because we do not...want...six.
  • But the reason why the curse works is because all children have brain damage. Now, for those of you without children, let me describe the brain damage. You come into the room with a Coca-cola, you set it down to grab the newspaper. The child comes walking in, picks up the drink, and you say "Give me that! Didn't I tell you not to drink it?" The child says, "Uh-huh." You say, "Tell me what I said." "You said for not for to drink your drink." "Every time I tell you that, don't I? When I have a drink, don't you drink it." "Uh-huh." "Now tell me what I said." "You said for not for to drink your drink!" "That's right!" So you set the drink down, turn to grab the paper, the child picks it up again and quickly starts to drink it! So you say, "Give me that! Didn't I just tell you to..." "Uh-huh." "Then why did you drink it?" "I don't know!" Well, that's BRAIN DAMAGE!! If you KNOW you're not supposed to do something, and you do it, and people ask you why and you say "I don't know!"...brain damage!
  • Now the our lives. This is what we asked God for. This is what we wanted to see...if we could make! And I looked at it...and they started to clean it off...and it wasn't getting any better. I turned to my wife, I kissed her ever so gently on the lips and said, "Honey, I love you...very much. You just had...a lizard." Because the thing changed colors three times! And the neck and head didn't work it just [imitates a bobbing head]. And I said to the doctor, "Can you put this back? It needs to cook a little longer. Another three months maybe?" The hospital made us take it home.
  • [About going upstairs to "kill his son."] So I say, "Your mother sent me up here to kill you." He says, "Uh-huh." So I looked at him. And I noticed that from here...[points to one side of his head and circles around to the other side] all the way around to here...there was no hair! I said, "Son?" Called him "son". "What happened to your hair?" He said, "I don't know." I said, "Son, take your hand and put it on top of your head and tell me what you feel." He said, "There's no hair." I said, "Right! Now, tell Dad what happened to your hair." He said, "I don't know." I said, "Son, was your head with you all day today?" He said, "Uh-huh." I said, "Was this the hairstyle you wanted?!" He said, "Uh-huh." I said, "A reverse MOHAWK?!!" He said, "Uh-huh." I said, "Did you cut your hair off?" He said, "Uh-huh." I said, "Well, why didn't you tell me that?" He said, "I don't know!" I said, "Is this the hair style you wanted?!" He said "Uh-huh!" I said, "A REVERSED mohawk?!" So I went back downstairs, and my wife said "DID YOU KILL HIM?!" I said "No!" She said, "Why?" I said "I don't know!!!"
  • It's always strange. I've had a lot of people work for me, and I've found out it's a funny thing that you give them Saturday and Sunday off, and they work so hard to get to those two days and those are the two days that they totally destroy themselves. I mean, you know you think to yourself, you say, "My goodness, I've really pounded these people and worked to them to death." And Friday comes and they say, "Yeah!" And then they come in Monday... [he makes an expression that looks like he's exhausted and upset] and say, "Boy, am I glad to be back here. I'm no good on my own. I was given two whole days and I just went crazy."
  • [About drunks.] So, now you've got to go. So you come into the bathroom, close the door; now, don't forget: you owe this to yourself. You've worked hard all week. It's come to this: [leans on his stage chair like a toilet] "Ooooohhhhhh...eeeeehhhhh.....ahh, Jesus... Oh, God... if You get me out of this, I'll never drink again as long as I live... " Now you are put your a place...that was never built for your face. "Ohhhhh!" Now you feel it coming, so you say "holding on! Holding on! We're going for a ride, yes! Bring it on, yes! Here it comes, I'm ready to explode!" [Imitates someone vomiting into a toilet.] And your muscles lock, everything! And you would not be would not be surprised...if you saw your SHOES come out of your mouth! Now that wave has stopped, you say "Oouough!" And you put your head on the side of the bowl...and you thank the toilet bowl! "Thank you, toilet bowl. Thank you for being so cool on the side. Only you understand me, toilet bowl. You're the only friend I have. My wonderful toilet bowl."
  • "I hope that youbar sabbisfiebd! I hope that youbar SABBISFIEBD! I PU' the wabber in my moubooth, I TOE you i can't ribbinse, becos I hab no bobbom libbip!! The wabber is ALL DOWBOON IN MY LABBIP!! I hope that youbar SABBISFIEBD!!"
  • My parents never smiled... because I had brain damage. My wife and I don't smile because our children are LOADED with it!! Oh, my parents smile now, whenever they come over to the house and see how much trouble I'm having. Oh, they have a ball! "Havin' a li'l trouble, huh, son?!"
  • When you're a father you censor yourself. You get just as angry with a child but you don't want to say, "What the filth and foul and I'll filth and foul, filth and foul and, yeah, ya filth and foul face, and I'll filth and foul, foul, filth!" You don't want to say that to a child so you censor yourself and you sound like an idiot: "What the... Get your... I'll put a... Get out of my face!"
  • [when his wife sees that he has given the kids cake for breakfast] I've always heard about people having a conniption, but I've never seen one. You don't want to see 'em. My wife's face... SPLIT! The skin and hair split and came off of her face so that there was nothing except the SKULL! And orange light came out of her hair and it lit all around! And fire SHOT from her eye sockets and began to burn my stomach! And she said, "WHERE DID THEY GET CHOCOLATE CAKE FROM?" And I said, "They asked for it!" And the children who had been singing praises to me... LIED on me and said, "Uh-uh! We asked for eggs and milk... AND DAD MADE US EAT THIS!!" And my wife sent me... to my room! Which is where I wanted to go in the first place. So you see? We men are dumb, but we are not so dumb. It takes great brain power and work to avoid working.
  • [after his wife had beaten the children for disobedience] Now here's the funny part: she comes downstairs with a broken stick. She throws it on the table and begins to talk out loud... to... NOBODY! "Tell me you're not gonna do something when I tell you to do something? I mean, you MOVE when I say move! Think I carried you in my body for nine months so you can roll your eyes at me?! I roll that little head of yours down on the floor! You don't know who you're fooling with! I'll beat you until you can't grow anymore!"
  • I don't wear no condom and I don't plan for no kids.


  • I don't know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody.
    • Originally from Herbert Bayard Swope (1882-1958); often attributed to Cosby, he actually cites this as a sound advice he once read elsewhere, in "Dr. Bill Cosby" in Ebony, Vol. 32, No. 8 (June 1977), p. 136
  • The very first law in advertising is to avoid the concrete promise and cultivate the delightfully vague.

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