Actor Bill Cosby, the ’80s TV comedian who was convicted in Pennsylvania of a felony sexual assault charge in 2018, plans to return to the stage next year, according to a report on Tuesday.
In a WGH Talk radio interview, Cosby, 85, said “yes” when asked if he plans to tour again in 2023.
Cosby – once known as America’s dad before many women accused him of sexually assaulting them – told radio host Scott Spears he plans to return to the circuit. comedy “because there’s so much fun in this storytelling that I’m doing.”
“Years ago, maybe 10 years ago, I thought it was best to say it after writing it,” Cosby said. “I feel like I’ll be able to perform and be the Bill Cosby that my audience knows me to be.”
Some met Cosby’s plan to return to live performance with disbelief.
“Bill Cosby is going on tour,” said comedian Rachael Millanta on Twitter. “Tell me again how the cancel culture has gone too far?”
Cosby was released in 2021 after nearly three years in prison when the Pennsylvania State Supreme Court overturned his conviction. His spokesperson, Andrew Wyatt, confirmed to Variety that the comedian is “looking…to start a tour” in the spring or summer.
Earlier this month, five women – including Cosby Show actors Lili Bernard and Eden Tirl – filed a civil lawsuit in New York claiming that Cosby had “abused or sexually assaulted” them.
Bernard, Tirl and another complainant, Cindra Ladd, have previously spoken out about Cosby’s alleged behavior. They are joined in costume by Jewel Gittens and Jennifer Thompson. The lawsuit was filed during a one-year “look-back” window allowing for the filing of sexual abuse claims that might otherwise have exceeded key deadlines known as statutes of limitations.
The plaintiffs allege that Cosby either raped them or forced them into sexual acts. Four of the allegations date from the late 1980s or 1990s when The Cosby Show aired on NBC.
NBC, along with Kaufman Astoria Studios and the Carsey-Werner Company, is named in the complaint which alleges the companies ‘facilitated the sexual assault of women’ by failing to verify Cosby’s power and inclinations, failed to protect women to be alone with him and took advantage of his work.
“It was well known that Bill Cosby regularly took young women to his dressing room,” plaintiffs’ attorney Jordan Rutsky said. He said ‘there have been instances where staff saw this happening and even encouraged the complainant to submit’.
The fifth allegation involves Cindra Ladd, a former Hollywood executive who accused Cosby of raping her in 1969 when she was 21. Ladd said Cosby drugged and raped her.
Cosby’s spokesperson said, “Mr. Cosby continues to vehemently deny all allegations against him and looks forward to defending himself in court.”
Cosby was released from prison after Pennsylvania’s highest court of appeals overturned his conviction after finding that a statement the comedian made in a civil deposition should not have been used in a criminal proceeding.
In March, the United States Supreme Court rejected an offer by Pennsylvania prosecutors to reinstate Cosby’s conviction. The court said without giving further details that it declined to hear the appeal.
Jurors in a civil trial in Los Angeles in June found Crosby liable for the sexual abuse of a 16-year-old girl at the Playboy Mansion in 1975. They awarded Judy Huth, 64, $500,000 after he allegedly discovered that Cosby had intentionally caused harmful sexual contact with the teenager, whom he reasonably believed to be under the age of 18, and that his conduct was motivated by an unnatural or abnormal sexual interest in a minor.