Between his groundbreaking sitcom, incredible standup comedy career, and continued presence as an American comedy fixture, Bill Cosby has crafted a legacy impossible not to admire. Below, some of his best:
1. A word to the wise ain’t necessary – it’s the stupid ones that need the advice
2. Women don’t want to hear what you think. Women want to hear what they think – in a deeper voice.
3. Fatherhood is pretending the present you love most is soap-on-a-rope.
4. Men and women belong to different species and communications between them is still in its infancy.
5. Sex education may be a good idea in the schools, but I don’t believe the kids should be given homework.
6. You know the only people who are always sure about the proper way to raise children? Those who’ve never had any.
7. Parents are not interested in justice, they’re interested in peace and quiet.
8. I don’t know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody.
9. A person with no children says, “Well I just love children,” and you say “Why?” and they say, “Because a child is so truthful, that’s what I love about ’em – they tell the truth.” That’s a lie, I’ve got five of ’em. The only time they tell the truth is if they’re having pain.
10. My father established our relationship when I was seven years old. He looked at me and said, “You know, I brought you into this world, I’ll take you out. And it don’t make no difference to me, I’ll make another one look just like you.”
11. I said to a guy, “Tell me, what is it about cocaine that makes it so wonderful,” and he said, “Because it intensifies your personality.” I said, “Yes, but what if you’re an asshole?”
12. Having a child is surely the most beautifully irrational act that two people in love can commit.
13. Immortality is a long shot, I admit. But somebody has to be first.
14. It isn’t a matter of black is beautiful as much as it is white is not all that’s beautiful.
15. Old is always fifteen years from now.
16. A new father quickly learns that his child invariably comes to the bathroom at precisely the times when he’s in there, as if he needed company. The only way for this father to be certain of bathroom privacy is to shave at the gas station.
17. Family is conflict and it’s something that we all relate to.
18. There is no job a man can do that is undignified – if he does it well.
19. I guess the real reason that my wife and I had children is the same reason that Napoleon had for invading Russia: it seemed like a good idea at the time.
20. If the new American father feels bewildered and even defeated, let him take comfort from the fact that whatever he does in any fathering situation has a fifty percent chance of being right.
21. Kids need to remember that when you put something on Twitter, it’s not like whispering to your friend, you’ve put it on a billboard that the whole world, including your own kids someday, can see.
22. Gray hair is God’s graffiti.
23. For college seniors there should be a week of being allowed to cry. Just break down and cry because you are scared and don’t know what’s next.
24. Civilization had too many rules for me, so I did my best to rewrite them.
25. When you carry a gun, you mean to harm somebody, kill somebody.
26. I wasn’t always black… there was this freckle, and it got bigger and bigger.
27. When you become senile, you won’t know it.
28. The main goal of the future is to stop violence. The world is addicted to it.
29. I often try to tell kids to think about all the people who love you, don’t cry over the one person who doesn’t.
30. The essence of childhood, of course, is play, which my friends and I did endlessly on streets that we reluctantly shared with traffic.
31. When a person has a gun, sometimes their mind clicks that this thing will win arguments and straighten people out.
32. Human beings are the only creatures on earth that allow their children to come back home.
33. Dentists tell you not to pick your teeth with any sharp metal object. Then you sit in their chair… and the first thing they grab is an iron hook.
34. You can’t compete with Walmart. But you can have smaller businesses that are successful.
35. . I’m not the healthiest, but I am healthy. I’m healthy to the point where there are things that I have to eat that I don’t want to eat, but I eat it because I’m enjoying staying alive.
36. Like everyone else who makes the mistake of getting older, I begin each day with coffee and obituaries.
37. Through humor, you can soften some of the worst blows that life delivers. And once you find laughter, no matter how painful your situation might be, you can survive it.
38. If you have no faith, you’ve lost your battle.
39. Any man today who returns from work, sinks into a chair, and calls for his pipe is a man with an appetite for danger.
40. Nothing separates the generations more than music. By the time a child is eight or nine, he has developed a passion for his own music that is even stronger than his passions for procrastination and weird clothes.
41. In order to succeed, your desire for success should be greater than your fear of failure.