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Fat Albert

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Album Review

The early '70s saw comedian Bill Cosby branch out into the educational aspects of television. In 1969, he first starred as an original cast member of the Children's Television Workshop PBS series Electric Company — which also boasted the innumerable talents of Rita Moreno and Morgan Freeman. Then Cosby developed his own Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids animated series, airing Saturday mornings on CBS affiliates from September of 1972 to August of 1984. The show was based upon the adventures of the Fat Albert character first introduced on Cosby's '60s standup albums — most notably his 1967 release, Revenge. With the overwhelming response and acceptance garnered — from both young and old fans — Cosby returned to the standup nightclub stage of Harrah's in Reno, NV, to document more fables and tales. While a majority of Fat Albert centers around the exploits of Albert and the gang, the disc also includes two pieces, "My Wife and Kids" and "Fernet Branaca," dedicated to his adult life as father and husband. There is an inherent beauty in the obvious affection that Cosby relates in these yarns. Without a doubt this is why children of all ages and ethnic backgrounds are so enamored with not only the characters, but also the hilarious situations they constantly find themselves in. Several of these stories have since become cornerstones in Cosby's repertoire of observational humor. Among these are "Fat Albert's Car," "Fat Albert Plays Dead," and "My Brother Russell." These reach back and bookend the decade of stories begun on I Started out As a Child (1964) and ending on this volume. Despite the obvious endearment of these recordings, Cosby would not revisit Fat Albert as subject matter of his future comedy albums, choosing to seek a more mature audience with monologues dealing with parenthood and married life.

Biography

Born: 12 July 1937 in Philadelphia, PA

Genre: Comedy

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Although African-American comedians had long been a staple of the standup circuit prior to the emergence of Bill Cosby, none had come even remotely close to reaching the same heights of commercial success or universal acceptance. Before Cosby, black comics were largely relegated to the so-called "chitlin circuit" of black nightclubs and theaters, their albums banned from white-owned record stores; after Cosby, comedians of all racial and cultural backgrounds found a home in the mainstream, and were...
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Fat Albert, Bill Cosby
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