INTERVIEW: Bill Cosby to appear in Honolulu, March 2013

Bill Cosby is returning to Hawaii for one performance March 30 at Neal Blaisdell Concert Hall. I caught up with him on the phone about his upcoming show, his experiences in the Islands and also picked his brain on how Honolulu’s younger comedians can get Hawaii’s alternative comedy scene off the ground.

While Cosby says he’s not a regular to Hawaii, he has come to appreciate its people. “I told a fellow that it appears that the people in Hawaii didn’t get the memo on how to be upset and rude to each other. It’s just a pleasure to be there among honest people,” says Cosby. He felt so strongly about this, he made it a point to close our interview by again telling me to “make sure you tell the people it’s their smiles and attitudes and kindness that makes me feel” that way.

He also raved about The Royal Hawaiian hotel and its customer service. “The people are absolutely friendly. Their service and what they do is very very clean. They make you feel like you’re very very important.” He says he’s not one to party after a show (not that we expected him to), but instead goes to his room or on his plane, and goes to sleep. Touring is work to him. And it’s a job he still enjoys doing.

Don’t expect pyrotechnics at a Cosby show. “I perform and I need to bring happiness and fun, a good feeling, and it’s as if we’re in this building and we are enjoying being together. I don’t have machines. I don’t have a band. It’s Bill Cosby. He comes out, he sits down and here we go.” At 75-years-old, Cosby has years of experience as a master storyteller who is able to make anything seem funny. The show, he says, is made up of “75 percent things you have seen, but haven’t really thought about.”

Bob Newhart, Jack Benny, Jerry Lewis, Seinfeld and Steven Wright are some of his favorite comedians (past and present), but don’t expect him to mention any of our local Frank Delima’s or Mel Cabang’s. He never experienced our local-style comedy scene, but does offer words of advice to Hawaii’s younger comedians: “Tell them, if they want their own club, then they have to knock the ball out of the park, each time one of them goes up on stage.” Build a reputation, find an entrepreneur, name the club after the group and, with this, you’ll be known as the place to go to get laughs, he adds.

$45+, 8 p.m., Saturday, Mar 30, Neal Blaisdell Concert Hall. or call 800-745-3000.