Bill Cosby gestures during an interview on Nov. 6, 2014.
Evan Vucci/AP

Cosby’s history of ‘Spanish Fly’ jokes comes back to haunt him


A recently unearthed 1991 Larry King interview with comedian Bill Cosby shows that the embattled performer has a history of making jokes about drugs and sex.

The 77-year-old has been accused of drugging, and in some cases sexual assault, by several women since last fall. Although Cosby has never been charged with a crime and through lawyers has denied allegations in the past, mounting accusations of misconduct have seriously tarnished his once stellar reputation as a family-friendly comedian.

RELATED: Judd Apatow defends criticism of Cosby: ‘I have two daughters’

In his 1991 appearance alongside King, which was part of a promotional tour for his book “Childhood,” Cosby joked about “Spanish Fly,” which was a slang term in his youth for a pill that could serve as an aphrodisiac

Spanish Fly was the thing that all boys from age 11 on up to death — We will still be searching for Spanish Fly,” Cosby told King, who laughed and agreed with him. Then this exchange takes place:

Cosby: And what was the old – the old story was, if you took a little drop – it was on the head of a -

King: Pin.

Cosby: - pin! And you put it in a drink -

King: That’s right. Drop it in her Coca-Cola – It don’t matter.

Cosby: It doesn’t make any difference. And the girl would drink it and -

King: And she’s yours.

According to, the phrase “Spanish Fly” is one of “the most common phrases in the book.”

In the wake of renewed coverage of allegations against Cosby, many Internet sleuths have resurfaced a routine from the comedian’s 1969 album “It’s True! It’s True!” which also featured ruminations on the appeal of “Spanish Fly.” In that bit, Cosby describes seeking out the “drug” while traveling abroad in Spain to film his hit TV series “I Spy.”

Although Cosby has declined to speak publicly about the allegations against him, he did joke about them during a stand-up performance earlier this month in Ontario, Canada. According to several witnesses, when a female audience member in the front row got up to get a beverage during the show and asked Cosby if he’d like one, the comedian replied: “You have to be careful about drinking around me.”

RELATED: Two women join defamation suit against Cosby

Cosby’s ongoing “Far From Finished” tour has been increasingly besieged by hecklers and protests. It returns stateside on Jan. 17 in Denver. Gloria Allred, who represents Cosby accusers who have filed a defamation suit against the comedy legend, has promised to appear at a demonstration outside his shows at the Buell Theatre in Denver, featuring women who have alleged assaults by the “Cosby Show” star.

“I think it’s important for the community in Denver to understand why women have made the allegations,” Allred told The Denver Post on Tuesday. “It’s also important to know what [Cosby’s] response has been, how this performance is impacting the alleged victims, and what the people of Denver can do about this.” The Buell Theatre is offering refunds to ticket buyers who are having second thoughts about seeing Cosby in the wake of the controversy.

Meanwhile, a recent study by the University of North Dakota found that a startling percentage of college-aged men (31.7% percent) said they would take advantage of a women sexually “if nobody would ever know and there wouldn’t be any consequences,” while 13.6% admitted that they would rape a woman.