The last time Bill Cosby performed in Las Vegas, I asked him how he got to be so great, because he invented contemporary stand-up. Louis CK says Cosby still is one of the best comics onstage.
I am only now printing our exchange since this week it’s timely. Cosby will perform Friday at Treasure Island.
Cosby answered my “How did you get to be so great” question by saying he got “beamed” by “divine intervention.”
Cosby said he didn’t want to work for anything when he was a teen. He had inertia. He quit school. And then?
“Divine intervention,” Cosby said.
“I got beamed. I got beamed, and the choices I made” came from that.
“I got beamed. I joined the Navy. I got beamed again, man. The man (in the Navy) yells at me and says, ‘I’m not your mother.’ ”
Cosby didn’t enjoy mopping floors in the Navy, but he got beamed and realized he could lift himself up.
“I CAN get out of it if I study. I CAN get out of it if I understand — to know, to educate, to be promoted, to score. To be promoted, I got beamed.”
Also, Cosby was an athlete in football, basketball, baseball and track. Sports stress helped him realize he shouldn’t be afraid to talk to people, because talking was easier than athletic heroism.
“It’s more nerve-racking with your team down by one, and you’re at the foul line, and there is one-fifth of a second left, and you got two shots on a one-on-one.
“I got beamed because, through all of that, I began to believe that I had a message for seventh- and eighth-grade boys: You can’t live the way you’re living rejecting education.
“I didn’t say to myself, ‘That’s my job.’ I said, ‘I am going in to make sure these kids … see the future. I know they can do it.’ ”
I asked Cosby why he got beamed, instead of someone else.
“I have no idea, man. It’s like asking what Mrs. Cosby did in her previous life. What did she do wrong that they put her with me as her husband?”
Cosby’s new special, “Bill Cosby: Far From Finished,” came out Tuesday on Blu-ray, DVD and CD.
Comedian Jim Gaffigan is also back in town to perform Friday and Saturday at The Mirage.
The last time Gaffigan was in town, I asked about his nail polish incident. This is another story I haven’t previously mentioned. It is incredibly silly.
Some women attacked Gaffigan online in May after he tweeted:
“Ladies I hope getting your nails done feels good, because not a single man notices you got them done.”
Later, Gaffigan sarcastically “apologized” if “anyone was offended by my edgy ‘nails done’ joke.”
Looking back, Gaffigan couldn’t believe “the absolute anger.”
“If you want to be misunderstood, just post something on the Internet,” he said.
“There was this outrage, and I thought it was hysterical, because obviously I had no intention to insult women, or to characterize that women exist for the amusement of men. That’s absurd.”
I told Gaffigan my girlfriend shows me her nails, and I don’t know what to say. Then I show my girlfriend how I murder fake people in “Call of Duty,” and she doesn’t know what to say.
“In general, men, we’re the more disgusting side of the species. The fact that any women date men is baffling to me.”
I could not agree more.
Doug Elfman’s column appears on Page 3A in the main section on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. He also writes for Neon on Fridays. Email him at email@example.com. He blogs at reviewjournal.com/elfman.