Photos by: Kelly Gubler
Some students grew watching Bill Cosby on re-runs of the Cosby show, but on June 6, thousands saw Cosby perform live at BYU-Idaho. What they may not have expected was the mutual respect the comedian shared for them.
A chorus of over three thousand voices said “Amen” after the opening prayer in the Hart Auditorium.
For students at BYU-I, a prayer prior to events and performances is the norm.
But according to the three-time Emmy award winner, the Wednesday performance had the most impressive ‘amen’ he said he had ever heard. In fact, it became a running theme not only for the first show on Wednesday, but the remaining Thursday and Friday performances as well.
“Bill has commented that he loves speaking to students,” said Don Sparhawk, Center Stage and Performance Tours coordinator at BYU-Idaho.
Because BYU-I students and faculty mainly purchased the tickets for the Wednesday performance, Cosby tailored the performance to his specific audience.
Whether it was making the sounds of an ancient organ playing a graduation ballad or describing a 6-year-old temper tantrum, Cosby, who has performed his stand- routines since the 1960s, kept his crowd laughing with stories of family, growing and the obstacles that come with different stages of life.
The reaction from many of those in attendance was positive, with an overwhelming sport of Cosby and an appreciation for his talent.
“I thought that the show was absolutely fantastic,” said Jacob Earl, a sophomore studying exercise physiology. “I loved that he was personable with the audience and the way that he interacted with everyone.”
Sparhawk spearheaded the idea to bring Cosby to campus.
“I always thought he would be out of our price range, and so I never directly contacted them,” Sparhawk said.
However, when he learned from Cosby’s booking agents that the comedian would be available at an affordable price, Sparhawk made the necessary preparations for a June performance.
Eventually, due to popularity, two additional shows were added and all three were sold out. Many students said they recognized the opportunity to see a performer such as Cosby and wanted to take advantage of it.
“I probably won’t be able to see him in a live performance like this ever again,” said Chathum Nielsen, a senior studying communication.