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IN THE MIDST OF A ROUGH YEAR, BILL COSBY HEADS TO BUFFALO

Bill Cosby has been dogged by tragedy and scandal in the past year, but his sense of humor remains intact. Local fans will be able to laugh for themselves when the famed comedian performs at North AmeriCare Park on Aug. 17.

Cosby will perform after a 2 p.m. Buffalo Bisons baseball game in the downtown park. It's believed to be the first time that a comic has headlined an entertainment event at the ballpark.

Cosby has endured a harrowing year.

Ennis Cosby, his 27-year-old son, was murdered in Los Angeles in January.

Soon afterward, Autumn Jackson, 22, a woman claiming to be Cosby's illegitimate daughter, reportedly demanded $40 million not to reveal their relationship to a tabloid newspaper.

Cosby denied fathering the woman but did admit to having a sexual affair with Ms. Jackson's mother, Shawn Upshaw.

Ms. Jackson has been charged with extortion, and her trial is expected to end soon in U.S. District Court in Manhattan.

It has been a tumultuous period for America's favorite father figure. Despite the problems, he has displayed grit and humor in performances.

"This is not difficult for me because a part of my lifetime has been you all," he told an audience in his first live performance shortly after Ennis' death.

Cosby said going back to the stage was therapeutic not only for him, but also for friends and family.

"I don't mean to sound arrogant, but somebody had to give them a release," he said. "I have to give them a release because that's what I do for a living. I don't sing."

Cosby added, "I do sell pudding."

Tickets ($20 general admission, $35 for a limited number of field seats) will be available for Bisons season ticket holders at 9 a.m. Thursday at the stadium box office only. Tickets go on sale for the general public Friday at 9 a.m. at the stadium and Fantastix outlets.

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