Famed comedian Bill Cosby went on Jon Stewart's "Daily Show" this week and chewed out the popular talk show host for swearing at an event they both attended. "It was Yiddish," Stewart responded.
“What you have to understand, Jonathan: from whence I cometh, when people cursed, the next thing that was gonna happen was somebody was gonna hit you,” Cosby said.
“See, now there’s a whole new culture. People curse and they laugh. But for me, when you were cursing, I started crying.”
Stewart later suggested that Cosby must have heard profanity when working clubs on Bleecker Street with Richard Pryor, Salon reported. “No,” said Cosby, who has spoken against using profanity in comedy throughout his entire career. “You could not use profanity.”
Cosby has been known to swear, but only to make a point about swearing.
“Profanity is a security blanket," he told hourdetroit.com, "because you know the audience is going to laugh when they hear profanity. If I take profanity away from you, you will feel like you don’t have anything to say. You have to have style, you have to have material, and that’s not good for someone who just has timing. So you listen to a lot of these guys, they will pretend they have some material that has a subject.
“Recite to me, from childhood days, the poem ‘There was a Crooked Man,’ ” he asked the HourDetroit.com writer. “Now I’m going to show you how, just using profanity, you can make people laugh. I will read the poem, and I will replace the word ‘crooked’ with ‘m-----f-----g.’ ‘There was a m-----f-----g man, who walked a m-----f-----g mile’ You see what I mean? You will have people on the floor."
It's a long-standing concern for Cosby. He twice turned down the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor because he did not like the raunchy shows produced honoring the likes of Richard Pryor. In 2009, he finally agreed to accept the prize, but only after insisting on strong editorial control of the awards show.
"I told them flat out no because I will not be used, nor will Mark Twain be used, in that way," he told The Associated Press, NBC reported at the time.