Playing phone jockey with Bill Cosby

Bill Cosby and I just conference-called people around Las Vegas and Texas for an hour. It was pretty, pretty, pretty amazing.

You see, Cosby (who performs Friday at TI) was telling me a story on the phone about his old days at the Las Vegas Hilton in the 1970s. But Cosby couldn’t remember the name of a Hilton executive in his story, so he asked me to phone the Hilton on a three-way call to find the executive’s name.

First, I accidentally called Hilton’s toll-free number in Texas. A woman answered.

Woman: “Good afternoon, Hilton hotels, this is Holly, how may I help you?”

Cosby: “Polly?”

Holly: “Yes.”

Cosby: “This is Bill Cosby, how are you?”

Holly: “I’m fine, how are you?!”

Cosby: “Where are you? In Hawaii?”

Holly (laughing): “No, sir, I’m in Texas.”

Holly: “This is the real Bill Cosby, isn’t it?”

Cosby: “This is the real, ‘Hey, hey, hey’ (in Fat Albert’s voice).”

Holly was thrilled but explained she works for Hilton, which no longer owns the LVH, so she passed us to Hilton guest assistance.

Holly: “What a blessing to talk to you.”

Cosby: “What a blessing to talk to you, too. You take care of yourself over there in Hawaii.”

Holly: “Thank you so much for making us laugh and smile.”

Cosby: “Thank you.”

She transferred the call. I asked Cosby if everybody blesses him like that.

Cosby (humbly): “Quite a bit.”

Our phone transfer picked up.

Dude: “Thank you for calling guest assistance. My name is Bradley (something). How can I help you today?”

Cosby: “OK, my name is Bill Cosby. I used to play the Las Vegas Hilton a long time ago. … I was trying to remember the name of a fellow that was the entertainment director for the Las Vegas Hilton.”

This went on for a while. Bradley gave us the LVH’s 702 number.

Bradley: “Can I ask you a quick question? Does this happen to be Bill Cosby the entertainer?”

Cosby: “Hey, hey, hey!”

Bradley, thrilled, laughed with terrific joy. We hung up. I called the LVH.

Dude: Thank you for calling the LVH, this is William, how may I be of service?

Cosby: “William, this is Bill Cosby calling, how are you?”

William: “Well, I’m just wonderful! How are you sir?”

Cosby: “I used to play there a long time ago.”

William: “I remember. I have been here a long time. Everyone here has their favorite (Cosby) stories.”

Cosby: “Ha, ha, ha.”

William turned us over to Rick White, vice president of entertainment.

Rick: “Hello, how are you doing?!”

Cosby: “I have a young man on the phone who writes for the Las Vegas Journal-Review. … I was telling him about, actually the story is: I’m working the Las Vegas Hilton. I think my salary was around $50,000 a week. The showroom holds 2,000 people. And the entertainment director’s name … his first name was Dave. … I’m walking around the casino, not wandering, just walking around, and Dave comes over, he’s the entertainment director, and he says, ‘Bill, why don’t you ask me for a raise?’ I said, ‘May I have a raise?’ He said, ‘Yes,’ and he gave me $75,000 a week.”

Cosby, Rick and I had a laugh.

And then Cosby remembered the name of the entertainment director.

“Dave Vickerson! Dave Vickerson!”

Cosby and the Hilton guy reminisced for a while, then Cosby said: “Take care, doctor. I’ll be in Las Vegas March 14, so if there’s anything I can do for you, to come and see a show, just let me know. I’m a TI man.”

Doug Elfman’s column appears Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Email him at delfman@reviewjournal.com. He blogs at reviewjournal.com/elfman.