Notable Quotes
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American comedian (1937- )

Sex education may be a good idea in the schools, but I don't believe the kids should be given homework.

BILL COSBY, The Joplin Globe, Apr. 7, 2007

Let us now set forth one of the fundamental truths about marriage: the wife is in charge.

BILL COSBY, Woman's Day Magazine, Sep. 1, 2009

The measure ov overexposure is not how many times people see you on TV or in the bookstores. It's whether you can maintain the quality of your entertainment. If you can, people will always be glad to see you.

BILL COSBY, Time Magazine, Sep. 28, 1987

I didn’t like what was on TV in terms of sitcoms—it had nothing to do with the color of them—I just didn’t like any of them. I saw little kids, let’s say 6 or 7 years old, white kids, black kids. And the way they were addressing the father or the mother, the writers had turned things around, so the little children were smarter than the parent or the caregiver. They were just not funny to me. I felt that it was manipulative and the audience was looking at something that had no responsibility to the family.

BILL COSBY, interview, Sep. 17, 2009

My father established our relationship when I was seven years old. He looked at me and said, "You know, I brought you in this world, and I can take you out. And it don't make no difference to me, I'll make another one look just like you."


I recently turned fifty, which is young for a tree, mid-life for an elephant, and ancient for a quarter-miler, whose son now says, "Dad I just can't run the quarter with you anymore unless I bring something to read."

BILL COSBY, Time Flies

Having a child is surely the most beautifully irrational act that two people in love can commit.

BILL COSBY, Fatherhood

The game of chess. Supposedly men made it up, and it's about war and men and the ravages and the bravery and the genius of commanding and moving pieces and ... No. It's marriage. The Queen moves anywhere she wants.

BILL COSBY, Far from Finished

Listen to John Coltrane enough and after two bars, just two bars at any place, and you know that's him. We all have signature things that happen to be similar that you can predict and you try to stay away from that except the rhythms: those pauses, they're part of my signature, the part where I know when I say nothing, I already painted enough, led enough and I don't even have to say anything. But those pauses don’t belong to me. Jack Benny was one of the first guys in comedy to make the anticipation so great that during the pause people start to laugh before the execution.

BILL COSBY, interview, Jan. 16, 2011

Fathers are the geniuses of the house because only a person as intelligent as we could fake such stupidity.


I don't think you can bring the races together by joking about the differences between them. I'd rather talk about the similarities, about what's universal in their experiences.

BILL COSBY, Time Magazine, Sep. 28, 1987

In America ... the seven ages of man have become preschooler, Pepsi generation, baby boomer, mid-lifer, empty-nester, senior citizen, and organ donor.

BILL COSBY, Time Flies

A word to the wise ain't necessary, it's the stupid ones who need advice.

BILL COSBY, attributed, The Gods Are Angry

If the audience knows you can be funny when you want to be, they will be willing to wait for that payoff.

BILL COSBY, Time Magazine, Sep. 28, 1987

Women don't want to hear what you think. Women want to hear what they think -- in a deeper voice.

BILL COSBY, attributed, The Best Book of Useless Information Ever

My father wanted me to play pro football, and he didn't like the fact that I'd left school. And he said, "It takes a man to play football. And any fool can go up on the stage and make an ass of himself."

BILL COSBY, interview with Charlie Rose, May 14, 1996

In spite of the six thousand manuals on child raising in the bookstores, child raising is still a dark continent and no one really knows anything. You just need a lot of love and luck - and, of course, courage.

BILL COSBY, Fatherhood

Parents are not interested in justice — they want QUIET!


You can turn painful situations around through laughter. If you can find humor in anything, even poverty, you can survive it.

BILL COSBY, attributed, Humor Me

The day [Phylicia Rashad] got the part [of Clair on the Cosby Show], I was sitting in the back, and women were ... reading with a couple of the kids. And many of them when ... they were going to tell the kid off, started the head moving like a bobble doll ... and when Phylicia's turn came and she was reading with Malcolm [Jamal-Warner] and he said something to her ... there was a pause from her. And do you know what she did in that pause? She did something with her eyes. She didn't bop her head; she didn't throw her hand up on her hip; and she didn't say anything out loud. She cut a look that said, oh, maybe four or five things -- and none of them were good. And I turned to Marcy, and I said "That’s Clair."

BILL COSBY, interview, Sep. 17, 2009

When you become senile, you won't know it.

BILL COSBY, attributed, The Ultimate Book of Quotations

Always end the name of your child with a vowel, so that when you yell the name will carry.

BILL COSBY, Fatherhood


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