Cosby’s Bahamas show earns standing ovation

Comedian Bill Cosby performs during a show at the Maxwell C. King Center for the Performing Arts in Melbourne, Fla., Friday, Nov. 21, 2014. Performances by Cosby in Nevada, Illinois, Arizona, South Carolina, and Washington state have been canceled as more women come forward accusing the entertainer of sexually assaulting them years ago.
Associated Press / Phelan M. Ebenhack

Amidst mounting allegations from more than a dozen women, comedian and actor Bill Cosby traveled south last weekend and might be rethinking the alluring tourism commercial which boasts that “It’s better in the Bahamas.”

The former darling father-figure of American television viewers performed at a benefit fund-raiser for the Nassau chapter of The Links and despite the scandalous headlines repeating in U.S. newspapers, his hilarious routine on the Caribbean island received a standing ovation.

Held at the Atlantis Resort, organizers booked Cosby for a 90-minute set that received applause and approval despite allegations of sexual misconduct dominating world news here.

“I think everybody is entitled to the presumption of innocence until proven guilty,” Alfred Sears, an official with the College of the Bahamas and a former attorney general told the Associated Press.

Along with prominent Bahamians who attended the event, the consensus was that the veteran entertainer deserved the benefit of doubt.

“Tonight is for a cause, and I think that he has contributed to the cause,” Sears added.

Preferring to postpone judgment, the former attorney general said “in terms of the other issues the court of law and the court of public opinion will deal with those issues.”

The predominant upscale audience apparently had no problem ignoring allegations that have made headlines worldwide claiming that Cosby had drugged and sexually abused women at intervals spanning more than two decades.

During his 90-minute performance, Cosby deferred reference to the damning allegations. Instead he focused on anecdotes about his life. Much of the routine centered around stories about his childhood growing up in the projects of Philadelphia. He also made a few observations about life in the Bahamas.

In his traditional comedic stand-up performance he related episodes drawn from his long marriage to his wife Camille. According to reports, she accompanied him to the island.

After the performance, Camille briefly attended a post-show reception. Reportedly, the funnyman did not attend the intimate after-show gathering but Camille mingled briefly with patrons.

While visiting the Caribbean islands, more accusers surfaced. Carla Ferrigno, wife of the original “Incredible Hulk” star Lou Ferrigno, and Therese Serignese, 57, a registered nurse from Florida, on the same day told The Huffington Post of a drugging and raping episode they each claim to have encountered. Louisa Moritz, 68, who starred in the ’70s show “Love American Style,” reportedly informed the TMZ website that Cosby forced her to perform oral sex on him in her dressing room before an appearance on Johnny Carson’s “Tonight Show” in 1971.

By Friday, model and actress Angela Leslie, 52, told the New York Daily News that Cosby forced her to fondle him in a Las Vegas hotel suite in 1992. To add fuel to the raging fire, a former talent agency secretary Kristina Ruehli, 71, also told a magazine in his childhood hometown that in 1965 Cosby drugged her and tried to force her to perform oral sex on him.

Cosby’s lawyer called the mounting charges ridiculous.

“We’ve reached the point of absurdity,” said Marty Singer. “People coming out of nowhere with this sort of inane yarn is what happens in a media-driven feeding frenzy.”

Cosby has not addressed any of the allegations. Although his hit television show was taken off cable’s TV Land weekend schedule and NBC killed plans for a new series, reportedly the BET-owned Centric TV will begin showing the once popular show which features Cosby as Dr. Cliff Huxtable, a doctor married to a lawyer.

Voted consistently as one of America’s most credible father-figures on television, Dr. Huxtable heads a household that broke tradition by showcasing a positive image of a middle-class Brooklyn, black family. Throughout the series, the show appealed to mainstream audience by addressing current and relevant issues that pertain to Americans of all races.

The channel launched by Magic Johnson in 2012 reportedly aims at 51 million viewers. Marathon airings of “The Cosby Show” are planned.

Meanwhile, Cosby is scheduled to perform on Black Friday in Melbourne, Florida.

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