"I shook the anger stick when I said I don't want canned laughter," Cosby said. "And word came back from the network, 'We want laugh tracks.' And I sent word back, 'You will not put laugh tracks on any of this. I want the audience to laugh at what they want to laugh at, and I don't want any of my writers to be able to push a button and get a laugh from something and nobody's laughing at home.' Canned laughter is sort of like ... placebo Valium. You hear it but you don't laugh. It's so close to marketing, I just found it obscene."
For The Record
Los Angeles Times Thursday August 24, 2006 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 2 National Desk 1 inches; 36 words Type of Material: Correction
"The Bill Cosby Show": An article in Tuesday's Calendar section about the release of "The Bill Cosby Show" on DVD said Joyce Bulifant costarred in the series as a teacher. She played a school guidance counselor.
Next to the nightclub or theater stage, where he can simply talk and get from point here to there -- or not -- by whatever circuitous route he cares to devise, the sitcom is Cosby's natural home, because it's there that he seems most himself.
He has spent his life talking about his life -- or a version of it, but one which was always believable -- which is perhaps one of the reasons his film career never really took off: We are disinclined to take him as anyone else, whereas the roles he's played on the small screen seem to relate strongly to the Cosby we think we know. And "The Bill Cosby Show" is in some ways the purest expression of that person.
"I wanted to put my comedy storytelling [on screen]," said Cosby. "And I wanted my character to stand tall, even though he just wanted to go down to the post office, lick some stamps, come back."