Comedian Hannibal Buress has been widely credited with resurfacing rape allegations made against Bill Cosby in a stand-up routine that went viral, but some clever Internet sleuths have uncovered evidence that another funny figure might have called attention to the controversy first: Tina Fey.
In both a “Saturday Night Live” segment on Weekend Update and in an episode of her sitcom “30 Rock,” Fey made pointed references to claims that Cosby has drugged and raped numerous women.
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On a 2005 episode of “SNL,” Fey and her co-anchor, Amy Poehler, did intentionally mediocre impressions of the now 77-year-old comic legend, while alluding to his out of court settlement with a woman who had accused him of sexual assault. Fey joked that “Cosby could not be held responsible from his actions because he was suffering from [imitating Cosby’s voice] the brain damage.” At the time, her fellow cast-member Kenan Thompson was starring in a big screen adaptation of Cosby’s iconic cartoon series “Fat Albert”:
Fey: [in ‘Cosby’ voice] No, Kenan is not coming out because of the “Fat Albert,” and the money, and the sequels!’
Poehler: [also doing a Cosby impression] Of course he can’t talk about the boobies, and the groping, and the pudding pops!’
Fey: Because it would upset Mr. Cosby, and his wife, Camille!’
A few years later, Cosby was the subject of a running gag on the NBC sitcom “30 Rock.” The infamously sanctimonious stand-up was lampooned as being a member of a fictional black celebrity consortium called “The Black Crusaders” (which included Oprah Winfrey) who were constantly dogging Tracy Morgan’s character for his racially insensitive material. On a 2009 episode written by Fey called “The Bubble,” Morgan made a crack about Cosby’s alleged history of sexual abuse when confronted by another character impersonating the former sitcom star.
“Bill Cosby, you got a lotta nerve gettin’ on the phone wit’ me after what you did to my Aunt Paulette … 1971. Cincinnati,” Morgan says. “She was a cocktail waitress with the droopy eye!”
Ironically, Buress served as a writer for “30 Rock” for a six-month stint and occasionally made cameos on the show.
Cosby has never been charged with a crime and has denied the allegations being made against him. One of Cosby’s lawyers, Marty Singer, told NBC News in a statement that the multiple accusations that have surfaced in the last few weeks and span several decades are both “unsubstantiated” and “fantastical.”
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Still, the controversy has cost Cosby considerably. He has lost prestigious positions at his alma maters, seen a sitcom in development with NBC scuttled, and has been forced to either cancel or postpone several performances of his ongoing “Far From Finished” comedy tour. The most recent blow to his reputation was a decision by the Navy on Thursday to revoke his title of honorary chief petty officer. Cosby served in the Navy from 1956 to 1960 before being honorably discharged.
A civil suit was filed against Cosby on Tuesday by a 55-year-old woman who alleges he molested her when she 15 years old at the Playboy Mansion in Los Angeles. She claims the alleged encounter left her psychologically and emotionally scarred.
Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck told reporters on Thursday that his department is “willing and prepared” to investigate any and all accusations brought against Cosby.