May 11, 2015
To those familiar with Hannibal's work, the bit captured something essential about his point of view as a comic, the way his jokes rely on bemusement, skepticism, a kind of made-you-think discomfort. But it also accomplished something unexpected, thanks to the capricious whims of the internet: for the first time, it really got people talking about the elder comedian's dark side. The ensuing controversy cost Cosby dearly: he lost an NBC series, a Netflix stand-up special was postponed, and reruns ofThe Cosby Show were taken off TV Land. To the Cosby loyalists that sent Hannibal hate mail and death threats, he seemed like an opportunistic, young black comic making his name by taking shots at a legend.