The funniest part of Bill Cosby’s appearance at a fundraiser for mayoral candidate Otis Rolley this week wasn’t funny-ha-ha but funny-strange.
Cosby held a 15-minute news conference with reporters from TV, newspapers and blogs in between a $4,000-a-head dinner and his stand-up show. In a brown sweater and trousers, Cosby greeted reporters with a jocular "OK?"
Then came the first question, a perfectly polite, normal, opening softball that nonetheless annoyed The Cos.
"I'm Melody Simmons with the Daily Record. Nice to meet you. Could you please talk about why Otis, why now?"
An awkward few seconds of silence passed, so Simmons appended "Mr. Cosby" to her question. To no avail. She might just as well have asked the comedian about that gal who claimed to be his love child.
"You know, I really hate that," Cosby replied. "'Why Otis, why now?' What does that mean? What does that question mean? 'Why Otis, why now?' As opposed to what, Coca-Cola?"
Simmons tried again: "We'd like to know about your affiliation with the candidate here tonight at the fundraiser."
For some reason, the question suited The Cos better that way.
"Good!" he said, going on from there to make his pitch, pleasantly if somewhat ramblingly, for Rolley.
Rolley, incidentally, wasn't saying how much money his event raised, so politicos will be in suspense until the end of the month, when his first campaign-finance report is due.
Since the crowd numbered about 300 and tickets ranged from $75 for Cosby's show to $4,000 a head for the show plus dinner and a reception with Cosby, the total should be somewhere between $22,500 and $1.2 million.
About 20 to 30 people were at the dinner, according to one person who attended, so that sounds more like low six figures. About 75 of the show passes were offered free to Johns Hopkins graduate students, according to some who attended.
Rolley would only say this much: "We are on target and last night we very much surpassed what we hoped for -- to have standing room only in a snowstorm."