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American comedian Bill Cosby is the type of celebrity who’s personality has been the subject of parody for a number of years prior to the Internet. In recent pop culture, he has been parodied on both Family Guy and The Simpsons which contributed to much of the memetic material.
Here is a Cosby Parody in the Simpsons episode “Child of a Lesser Clod” (original airdate, May 13th, 2001.)
Cosby has also been parodied on the following Family Guy Episodes.
- Season 2, Episode 1: “Peter, Peter, Caviar Eater.” First Aired: September 23rd, 1999
- Season 3, Episode 2: “Brian Does Hollywood.” First Aired: July 18th, 2001
- Season 7, Episode 5: “The Man With Two Brians.” First Aired: November 9th, 2009
House of Cosbys
On January 30th, 2005, the first House of Cosbys cartoon created by animator Justin Roiland aired on the internet TV channel Channel 101. The premise was loosely based around the movie Multiplicity.
House of Cosbys ran for only four short episodes, but in that time gained wide recognition. However, Bill Cosby himself was none too pleased. In June of 2005, Mr. Cosby’s attorney, John P. Schmitt issued a cease and desist.
Dear sirs, we are counsel for Mr. William H Cosby, Jr. We have just learned that you offer a deeply offensive animated film that you created, entitled “House of Cosbys”. […] As you are certainly aware, none of you are licensed or in any way authorized to use Mr. Cosby’s voice, name, or likeness. […] Therefore, we demand that you immediately cease and desist from any use of our client’s name, voice, and likeness, including the development and distribution of the “House of Cosbys” series.
Very truly yours,
John P. Schmitt
Despite the fact that parodies are usually protected under Fair Use, Roiland complied. As a result, House of Cosbys was cancelled. But the fans were upset, and took it upon themselves to create a fifth episode as a response to Bill Cosby and his lawyer.
Bill Cosby YTMND Fad
At the same time that House of Cosbys was attracting viewers, Bill Cosby was also being parodied on YTMND.
The first Bill Cosby YTMND Ever created was Bill Cosby Likes Drugs was created on May 1st, 2004 by user Shitman.
The most viewed Bill Cosby YTMND of all time is Bill Cosby Pokemon, created by user Sic-Suicide-Note which consisted of a still from the Simpsons Cosby parody, along with the audio.
As of today (August 2nd, 2009) there are currently 499 different Bill Cosby YTMNDs.
Other Notable Bill Cosby YTMND’s include:
- What is Cosby?
- I Love Bill Cosby
- Bill Cosby is Metal
- Bill Cosby PSA
- Snakes on Bill Cosby’s Plane
- Bill Cosby Triforce
- Bill Cosby Sings the Beatles
The Science of Cosby – Nedroid.com
On June 26th, 2009, the blog nedroid.com posted the results of a study in which their readers were asked to draw Bill Cosby from memory. The purpose of the study was to ascertain what the image of Bill Cosby was within the larger collective consciousness.
if we got several people to draw pictures of Bill Cosby, without seeing what each other drew, the majority of them would involve Cosby in a wacky sweater with Jell-o pudding. With that we (by which I mean you) got to work.
Fans of the blog posted their drawings onto the Nedroid Livejournal.
Now of course, science is unpredictable. As it turns out, our hypothesis was incorrect. Out of a total of 190 Cosbies, only 8 had both a sweater and Jell-o pudding. Baffling, right? That’s only 4.2%! What a shock!
Here is the scientific data we collected:
Cosbies wearing sweaters: 52 (out of 190)
Cosbies with a Jell-O Product: 21
Cosbies spouting gibberish: 10
Cosbies with sweaters and Jell-o: 8
Cosbies with sweaters spouting gibberish: 4
Cosbies with sweaters and Jell-o and gibberish: 0, can you believe it?
Cosbies that confused us: 19
Cosbies facing left with hands clasped which were clearly based on the first Google Image Search result for “Cosby”: 15
Four days later, the 20 most bizarre entries were showdcased on the blog The Geek Pad, which had declared that Bill Cosby drawings were a meme. Some of the drawings even made reference to the Cosby clones from House of Cosbys.
Bill Cosby’s huge presence and influence on American culture is undisputed. Parodies on other popular series like The Simpsons and Family Guy occurred without the need of an Internet Following, but both series contributed to the vast majority of parodies and remixes around the web, which can be found on nearly every major community online.