The night I met Bill Cosby

By Nathaniel Crossley

On May 8th 2013, Dr. Cosby came to Fort McMurray to make us laugh, giggle, and chuckle. He came and spoke about his life, his kids, and to answer our questions. I got a chance to interview Bill but the recording was shaky. Before I entered the room to meet him, I felt very excited to meet a legendary comedian. While we asked questions, he joked around and told us very interesting stories. When I was asked to represent CONNECT, I did not know who Dr. Cosby was until my father showed me videos from The Cosby Show, Kids Say the Darnest Things, and clips from some of his stand up comedies.

Dr. Bill Cosby, as you know, has a comedic side but also has a humanitarian side too. He started a foundation called the Hello Friends/Ennis William Cosby Foundation after his son, Ennis William Cosby, was shot fatally in 1997. Bill has also won the Bob Hope Humanitarian Award at the Emmys. Dr. Cosby has supported numerous charities including the Jumpstart, Keep a Child Alive, and the Airlift Research Foundation.

Here is the interview that I had with Dr. Cosby.

When did you start this “Hello Friends/Ennis William Cosby Foundation” and why did you start the foundation?

“Mrs. Cosby and I established the Hello Friend/Ennis William Cosby Foundation in 1998 to carry forward the life’s work of our son.  Ennis was dedicated to helping others with learning differences like himself access the tools to experience academic success and the joy of learning.  Among its programs, Hello Friend helped train a cadre of New York City elementary school teachers to become master reading instructors to make sure that children with verbal-based learning difficulties would not fall hopelessly behind.  Many of these “Cosby Scholars” have gone on to become literacy experts who are training others in these advanced teaching techniques.”

How did you feel about receiving the “Bob Hope Humanitarian Award” and why did you receive it?

“Bob Hope is the foremost and forefront monologist.  To receive that award is to be honored in comedy monology.  At that time, I was the second recipient to receive the Bob Hope Humanitarian award for my long history of charitable work and activism in support of education and racial equality.”

I felt very excited to meet such a wonderful man. I hope he comes back to Fort McMurray and make us laugh again.