Bill Cosby performed in public for the first time since a sex abuse scandal embroiled him in 2015, joking that he “used to be a comedian” and playing with a jazz band in his hometown as a retrial looms in his criminal sexual assault case.
The 80-year-old entertainer took the stage for about an hour Monday night at a Philadelphia jazz club for his first show since May 2015. He told stories, honoured old friends and finished by leading the band in a set, first using his mouth to scat in place of a missing horn section and then taking a turn at the drums.
Cosby, handing the drumsticks off to the 11-year-old son of the bass player, asked if the boy knew who he was and then told him.
“I used to be a comedian,”
Cosby arrived at the club on the arm of his spokesman Andrew Wyatt. He wore a grey hoodie printed with the phrase “Hello Friend,” something his late son, Ennis Cosby, often would say.
He is scheduled for an April 2 retrial on charges he drugged and molested a woman at his suburban Philadelphia home in 2004. He has pleaded not guilty and remains free on bail. His first trial ended with a hung jury last year. Jury selection for his retrial will start March 29.