By Shannon Frost Greenstein
There was a while there when Bill Cosby was a nightly mention in the evening news. His highly publicized trial for aggravated indecent assault ended with a hung jury, after 52 hours of deliberation. He kept a low profile, speaking to few reporters and shying away from the limelight.
That appears to have changed.
On Monday night, Cosby put in an appearance at LaRose Jazz Club in Germantown, which was leaked to reporters two hours prior to his performance. He scatted with the band, jumped in to jam on the drums, and did a stand-up routine while seated on a wooden stool.
Cosby, who has lost most of his sight, cracked jokes about blind vs. sighted individuals and the aging process, while also telling stories of his youth growing up in public housing. All in all, it seemed the comedian was trying to recapture the public persona he had prior to the sexual assault accusations coming out…charming, comfortable, harmless, and beloved.
“He’s re-introducing himself as that old comedian, that funny guy. He is that hometown person who we all knew and loved, and that’s how he wants to be thought of now,” said David Harris, a law professor at the University of Pittsburgh.
According to WHYY, the crowd’s reaction to Cosby was, for the most part, positive. Not a word was spoken about his upcoming trial for the same charges, however, nor the scores of women who have come forward accusing the actor of sexual misconduct.
There were mixed opinions in the audience regarding this topic. A longtime friend of Cosby’s and jazz drummer named Craig McIver doesn’t believe any of the charges, commenting that, “I’ve been around a lot of famous people as a professional drummer, and I can tell you, people throw themselves at these people. They really do.”
However, audience member Julia Conway believes there may be some weight to the accusations. She told WHYY Reporter Bobby Allyn, “I believe the women. I really do. I feel as though it’s too many women for them to make up similar stories. If there were a few, I think it would be different.”
Cosby’s next trial is scheduled for April, on the same three counts of assault. However, prosecutors are seeking permission to introduce the testimony of an additional 19 women who claim they were molested by Cosby. The tweet below illustrates Cosby’s reaction when asked if he thought the #MeToo movement would impact future jurors.