Trivia: The Cosby Show

  • Contractual Purity: Lisa Bonet after her controversial appearance in the movie Angel Heart, in which she appeared nude and had a squicky sex scene.
  • The Danza: One episode near the end of season 1 has Tony Orlando guest starring as Tony Castillo. The episode, in fact, was a Poorly Disguised Pilot.
  • Dawson Casting: With Sondra, who was 20 during the first season. Sabrina LeBeauf, who played her, almost didn't get the role because she was 26, only 10 years younger than Phylicia Rashad.
    • Averted by most of the other kids. When the show started, Lisa Bonet (Denise) was 17, Malcolm-Jamal Warner (Theo) was 14, Tempestt Bledsoe (Vanessa) was 11, Keshia Knight Pulliam (Rudy) was 5 and later addition Raven-Symoné (Olivia) was 3; everyone's actual age was also their age on the show. Erika Alexander (Pam), on the other hand, was 21; Pam was supposed to be 16.
      • Completely inverted in the case of Clair. Phyllicia Rashad (nee Ayers-Allen) was 36 during the first season while Bill Cosby was 47. Cliff and Clair were supposedly only about four years apart at most.
      • Also inverted with Russell Huxtable. Earle Hyman, who played him, was only ten years Bill Cosby's senior despite playing his father. He was nine years younger than Clarice Taylor, who played his wife Anna. Some dialogue implied him to be at least the same age as she if not older.
  • Directed by Cast Member: Malcolm-Jamal Warner (Theo) directed five episodes.
  • Hey, It's That Guy!: Adam Sandler as one of Theo's high school buddies, Angela Bassett and Iman as patients of Cliff, Naomi Campbell as the girlfriend of one of Theo's friends, etc.
    • A pre-Star Trek: The Next Generation, Gates McFadden guest starred in an episode. More specifically, she's one of the party guests in the 3rd season episode that celebrates Cliff's 50th birthday.
    • Robert Culp, who appeared on another series with Bill Cosby, showed up in one episode.
    • Cliff's best friend in the neighborhood is Vizzini.
    • One of Rudy's friends in the episode 'Slumber Party' is Alicia Keys, and 'Cockroach' is Cole from Martin.
    • Jill Taylor is having her 8th child in a latter season 3 episode.
    • Tony DiNozzo is one of Theo's roommates in season 6.
    • Then, of course, there's a very young Raven Baxter as Olivia.
    • In addition to co-creating The Cosby Show, Ed. Weinberger also served as creator and executive producer of Amen, co-creator of The Bill Cosby Show, and co-creator and co-exeuctive producer of Taxi.
    • Carmen Finestra wrote 56 episodes. Finestra is best known as co-creator and co-executive producer of Home Improvement.
    • Matt Williams wrote 17 episodes. Williams is best known as creator and executive producer of Roseanne and also served as co-creator and co-executive producer of Home Improvement.
    • Matt Robinson wrote ten episodes. Robinson is best known for playing Gordon on Sesame Street from 1969 to 1972.
    • Bernie Kukoff wrote eight episodes. Kukoff is best known for co-creating Diff'rent Strokes.
    • Ehrich Van Lowe also wrote eight episodes. Van Lowe is best known as creator and executive producer of Homeboys In Outer Space.
    • Earl Pomerantz wrote three episodes. Pomerantz is best known as developer and executive producer of Major Dad.
    • Winifred Hervey wrote an episode. Hervey is best known as creator and executive producer of The Steve Harvey Show.
    • Bill Prady co-wrote an episode. Prady is best known for co-creating The Big Bang Theory.
  • Hey, It's That Voice!: Cliff's father was the voice of Panthro.
  • Keep Circulating the Tapes: In November 2014, several television networks — most notably, TVLand — announced that effective immediately, they would stop airing reruns of the series due to growing allegations that Cosby sexually assaulted several women. TVLand even deleted references to the situation comedy from the cable channel's website, a rare step as even references to past rerun packages can be accessed, at least indirectly. Centric (a spin-off of BET) continued to air the show even after sister network TVLand dropped it and even as the number of accusers grew past 30... that is, until July 2015, when a 2005 deposition in a sexual assault claim against Cosby was released in which he admitted to giving Quaaludes to women whom he wanted to have sex with, resulting in Centric pulling the show amid the damning (though not likely to result in a felony conviction, due to the lapse in the statue of limitations in the claims) evidence.note  Though Cosby hasn't been criminally or civilly charged nor is it likely he will address the claims thoroughly and honestly, the series will certainly not air in the foreseeable future, if ever again, at least on the major cable networks.
  • Old Shame: Not the show itself, but at least three of the actors did say they wonder how they ever could have liked the fashions of The '80s that are all over the place in it.
    • Tempestt Bledsoe really spoke up about this in the Lookback Special given the fact that the actors didn't have a lot of say in their wardrobe and Vanessa's hairstyles in the first half of season 5 look utterly ridiculous today.
  • Promotion to Opening Titles: Despite not really appearing more than when they were guest stars, Sabrina LeBeauf (Sondra), Geoffrey Owens (Elvin) and Joseph C. Phillips (Martin) all found their way into the opening titles. Also happened with Raven-Symone (Olivia) and Erika Alexander (Pam), but in their cases it was very shortly after their introductions, and they both started appearing almost more often than established characters.
  • Real-Life Relative: Phylicia Rashad's sister Debbie Allen as a sadistic aerobics instructor.
    • Also, Phylicia's then-husband Ahmad Rashad could be heard on several episodes announcing sporting eventsnote 
  • Throw It In: Bill often kept the camera rolling when his many child co-stars would make mistakes because he felt it was funnier that way. In general, there was a lot of ad-libbing that made it into the final cut of each episode. Examples include:
    • Rudy's friend Peter was never supposed to be silent. The child actor froze once he was on camera and Bill took the opportunity to turn the character into the Silent Bob.
    • Then there was the episode where he was taking care of Sondra and Elvin's twins. They would continually look up at the obvious stage lights. Bill played off on it as if the babies kept staring into space. One of the babies spit-up in the very same episode but Bill cleaned the baby up and kept going.
    • One episode was to just show Cliff making a meal, and Cosby turned it into an extended bit lampooning Julia Child.
    • Early seasons had Rudy forgetting her lines, so Bill Cosby just spoke them for her and kept going.
    • One actor continually rendered "Doctor Huxtable" as "Doxtor Husstable". It simply became a trait of his character.
      • "And tell him my name is Hux-table."
  • What Could Have Been: Theo was actually supposed to be the main character of the show. The show, past the pilot, ended up being reworked into being about the entire Cosby family. By the end of the series though, Theo still arguably got the most development of the five kids, and the series Bookends with his graduation from college.
    • Whitney Houston auditioned for the role of Sondra.
    • Originally, the character of Rudy Huxtable was intended to be a boy, rather than a girl. However, the casting directors could not find a suitable boy to play the part, so auditions were extended to girls as well.
    • Initially, the show was originally pitched to ABC, since executive producers Marcy Carsey and Tom Werner had previously worked there as programmers. ABC, however, turned the show down for three reasons: they felt that a wealthy African-American sitcom to be unrealistic, not many sitcoms at the time featured stand up comedians in the lead role, and finally, the sitcom in general was considered a dying genre at the time. NBC, on the other hand, picked the show up right off the bat and scored a major windfall in the process.
    • Cosby initially suggested the family be working-class, with the father a limo driver and the mother an electrician.


The show is notable for averting: