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Cosby's comedy a refreshing change

Dr. Cliff Huxtable was on call last night at the Seneca Niagara Casino Events Center, but Rudy, Theo and Vanessa weren't sharing the spotlight.

Instead, Bill Cosby, known for bringing the humorous family-man physician to life throughout the '80s and early '90s, conversed about Thanksgiving, women and of course, his family.

To call the Friday night event a show doesn't seem right. From the opening moments of the evening when Cosby walked onstage in an oversized U Mass sweat shirt and sweatpants, to when he settled back in his comfy brown leather armchair, it was if the audience was being treated to a night of stories with an old friend rather than a formal comedy show.

That's not to say the laughs weren't there, and that's certainly not to say that anyone was safe from Cosby's good-natured jabs.

"How many of you are Canadian?" he asked his crowd. When a group cheered, Cosby quipped, "I don't know why you came over here."

He then informed the audience about the changes in the worth of U.S. and Canadian currency, and explained to his Canadian fans that they were gambling away their "more powerful dollar" to win "our weaker dollar."

To end his lecture, he summed up his point simply: "Go home!"

Throughout the course of the evening, Cosby drew laughs as he explained why Indians make so much noise [they don't use saddles], and as he explained how he unsuccessfully tried to find turkey bacon when he was carving his family's dinner this Thanksgiving. The laughs only got harder as the night progressed.

"What time is it?" Cosby asked a member of the audience at one point. "Nine-thirty? OK. Don't forget to go gamble. That's why they've brought you here."

But the comedian wasn't about to let his audience out into the casino without a hard time. After telling the crowd that casinos amaze him because "they're the only place where dissatisfied customers keep coming back," Cosby asked which audience members enjoyed playing keno. He then brought a woman to the stage, and told her he would show her why it was so pointless. After explaining that the gambler picks a number, shows her number to the dealer, and then he chooses the winning numbers, he told the woman to pick either number one or number two. Perhaps out of nervousness or maybe even a little starstruck, the woman confidently, incorrectly, responded, "Twenty-two." Cosby had a field day.

Over the years, Cosby has fulfilled the roles of stand-up comedian, television host and author, but Friday night solidified his true talent as a communicator. Whether he was making fun of his daughters, his wife, or his constant need to succumb to both, he was able to make a connection with the audience that many comedians these days seem unable to do. To top it off, Cosby has been known for his ability and commitment to entertain with "clean" comedy, and Friday's show was no different. In an era of comedy in which it's easy to draw a laugh by tossing out raunchy jokes about sex, drugs and women [which, should be noted, isn't necessarily a bad thing], Cosby takes a refreshingly different route by finding other material to entertain his audiences.

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