’30 Rock’ Teased Bill Cosby’s Assault Allegations in a 2009 Episode
The entertainment industry knew about Bill Cosby long before the general public did. Like the Harvey Weinstein scandal, it seems to have been something everybody knew about, but nobody talked about — until they did. And it turns out a 2009 TV episode of 30 Rock called him out directly.
The joke about Bill Cosby’s behavior showed up in season 3
According to Slate, in the episode The Bubble, NBC executive Jack Donaghy (played by Alec Baldwin) is desperate to lure back TGS’s top comedian, Tracy Jordan (Tracy Morgan). Since Tracy was a big fan of Bill Cosby during his childhood, Jack recruits someone from accounting to impersonate Bill Cosby in a phone call and get him to come back to the show.It goes horribly wrong when Tracy, falling for the gag, demands apologies for a past incident involving Cosby and a fictional relative. And with today’s perspective, the wince-worthy scene spirals into something that, while comically executed, feels a bit too realistic for comfort.
“I want you to come back to the TGS for the people who like the jokes and the things,” says the impersonator. Immediately enraged, Tracy fires back.
“Bill Cosby? You got a lot of nerve getting on the phone with me after what you did to my Aunt Paulette!” he shouts.
“I think you’re confusing me with someone else,” responds the impersonator.
“1971. Cincinnati. She was the cocktail waitress with the droopy eye!” exclaims Tracy.
“I’m the guy … With the pudding … ” continues the impersonator.
“You trying to tell me what to do, Dr. Heathcliff Huxtable with your light-ass kids?!” retorts Tracy who then turns his ire to Jack.
“Jack, why would you make me talk with this man?” he says.
TGS showrunner Liz (Tina Fey), an unfortunate bystander, listens incredulously before walking out of the room.
The clip is surfacing on Tik Tok
Tik Tok is getting in on the action as well, revisiting the scene as a clip that’s “probably aged too well.” User @kneal4396 (kath), wearing a facial mask, takes her viewers on a journey back in time, showing the clip directly from her MacBook. The video was posted to TikTok on July 14th, but the comments haven’t stopped — and there are hundreds of them.
“Guys this was PUBLIC KNOWLEDGE in the 2000s,” comments @mrnphin. “Aged perfectly,” wrote @dudleygooch.
“It’s sad that these industry secrets were instead made into jokes instead of anyone actually outting [sic] them as awful people,” read a comment by @asdaaaaa5.
“Tina Fey and Hannibal Burress were really trying to tell people for years,” commented @michelletexas812.
Cosby has since been released
Cosby served three years of a 10-year sentence. He was convicted in 2018 on three counts of sexual assault against Andrea Constand, but Cosby is known to have committed more crimes during his career in the entertainment industry.
In 2005, the Cosby Show star admitted to purchasing quaaludes and intending to give them to women. According to documents obtained by The New York Times in 2015, he did give them to at least one woman “and others” and had sex with at least one woman after giving her the drug.
With the ‘secret’ no longer a secret, many in the entertainment industry felt free to speak out after Cosby’s guilty verdict. Not all were reassured, however. Because Cosby has since been released, Kathy Griffin’s comments seem especially pointed.
“I can’t stop thinking about all the old farts in Hollywood that knew,” tweeted Griffin in 2018. “They knew the whole time. The networks, the producers, the studios. Time’s not up yet.”
How to get help: In the U.S., call the RAINN National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline at 1-800-656-4673 to connect with a trained staff member from a sexual assault service provider in your area.