Bill Cosby To Perform In First Televised Comedy Special In 30 Years

Bill Cosby is returning to the place that launched his career — the comedy stage.

Cosby is set to appear in his first televised concert special in 30 years this November, Far From Finished. Comedy Central announced the special on Friday, which happened to be Cosby’s 76th birthday.

In Far From Finished, Bill Cosby performs stand-up material from earlier this summer. It’s directed by Robert Townsend, who also directed The Five Heartbeats.

The last televised concert special for Cosby was actually the one that led to the peak in his career. In 1983 he performed a now-famous show called Bill Cosby: Himself, in which he sat in a chair on an otherwise-empty stage, musing about family life and visiting dentists. The show and the routine were simple and groundbreaking, with Cosby’s storytelling and timing exquisite.

At that point Cosby was a star on the stand-up (or in his case, sit-down) circuit, but Bill Cosby: Himself launched him into a new level. The next year he would star in the groundbreaking sitcom The Cosby Show, the first on television to center on an upper-middle class African-American family.

After the show’s end Cosby has taken on a more political stance, speaking out on many social issues and garnering some controversy in the process. In 2004, after receiving an award to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Brown v. Board of Education ruling, Cosby made remarks critical of African-American culture, saying it placed a higher priority on sports and fashion than education and self-respect.

In later remarks Cosby would implore African-American families to place a greater emphasis on teaching children morals at a young age.

“Parenting needs to come to the forefront. If you need help and you don’t know how to parent, we want to be able to reach out and touch,” he said.

But Cosby has also used his fame to help others. In 2003, when Baylor University was rocked by a scandal in which one basketball player shot and killed another, Cosby personally called the university’s president and offered to perform at a school rally free of charge.

So why did Cosby, who could be enjoying retirement at home, want to make another televised comedy special?

“Because,” Bill Cosby told Comedy Central, “funny is funny.”