Bill Cosby's Heymann Center show in no danger of selling out

by Patrick Flanagan

The better question: How many will actually show when the beleaguered comedian arrives in Lafayette next week?

A beleaguered Bill Cosby is set to arrive in Lafayette next week for a performance at the Heymann Center as his 2015 comedy tour makes its way across through the nation following a scandalously tough year for the man once considered America's "favorite TV dad" for his longtime role as Dr. Heathcliffe Huxtable.

From the Cosby tour's promo flyer:

Over the past century, few entertainers have achieved the legendary status of WILLIAM H. COSBY JR. His successes span five decades and virtually all media – remarkable accomplishments for a kid who emerged from humble beginnings in a Philly project. In the 1960s, his stand-up act was a coast-to-coast sensation, spawning a string of hilarious, best-selling comedy albums, which went on to win eight Gold records, five Platinum records, and five Grammy Awards. His role on TV’s I Spy made him the first African-American to co-star in a dramatic series, breaking television’s racial barrier and winning three Emmy Awards. In the 1980s, he again rocked the television world with The Cosby Show, a gentle, whimsical, and hugely successful series that single-handedly revived the family sitcom (and rescued NBC). With hit movies like Uptown Saturday Night and best-selling books like "Fatherhood," BILL COSBY is quite simply a national treasure with the unique ability to touch people’s hearts.

Unfortunately, it was his "unique ability" (or whatever you wish to call it) for touching other things, particularly drugged women, as the allegations go, which has led to all the recent troubles currently faced by the former Dr. Huxtable. While claims of sexual assault are nothing new for Cosby — the allegations stretch back two decades or so — the situation arguably went from bad to worse last year, shortly after an appearance by comedian Hannibal Buress at the Trocadero Theater in Philadelphia — Cosby's hometown — on Oct. 16.

Here's Buress from that night:

Bill Cosby has the f--king smuggest old black man public persona that I hate. 'Pull your pants up, black people. I was on TV in the ’80s. I can talk down to you because I had a successful sitcom.' Yeah, but you raped women, Bill Cosby. So, (that) brings you down ... a couple notches.

And it didn't take long for the bit to go viral thanks to a video caught by one audience member's cell phone. Shortly after, more than six additional women came forward — all with similar stories involving Cosby, alcohol, pills and unwanted sexual advances — bringing the grand total of women with sexual assault allegations against the 77-year-old comedian up to 28. Since then Cosby's reputation has taken a beating — even drawing protestors outside several of his tour dates. Yet, Cosby has largely gone about business as usual, and aside from one statement made in December, has for the most part remained silent in the face of his growing list of accusers. Here's Cosby's comment on everything:

I know people are tired of me not saying anything, but a guy doesn't have to answer to innuendos. People should fact-check. People shouldn't have to go through that and shouldn't answer to innuendos.

Despite some early speculation that he would cancel his national tour slated to begin late last year and continue through 2015, Cosby is now making his way into the tour's final leg and will hit Lafayette next week where the comedian will take the stage before an audience inside the Heymann Center Performing Arts Center and its 2,200 seats at 8 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 28.

How many of those seats will be filled with warm human bodies come next Friday's show? That remains to be seen. But according to what we were able to glean from the Heymann's box office, it's not looking good. The IND spoke with one box office employee over the phone; she says "quite a bit" of tickets remain for Cosby's show, with seats available in nearly every section of the theater except the front row, which is reserved for members of the Broadway in Lafayette Series.

After Lafayette, Cosby will head for Augusta, Ga., followed by another 13 stops as he makes his way across the country between now and the summer.