Thursday, February 11, 2016


Photo By Shahram Farshadfar
Ten Questions For Uber-Artist Brother Andy

Illustrious luminary, Brother Andy, answers ten questions most frequently posed to him. The provocative film-maker, fine artist, photographer, interior designer, outrageous fashionista and leading figure in the Intriguism Art Movement is sure to shock and surprise.  As always, expect the unexpected…

1.      Why are you referred to as “Brother”?

A.    A few years ago, several artists gathered at a home for an informal salon.  A woman said to me, “Isn’t it a shame so many artists feel competitive toward one another, when we really should be sharing our experiences as a group, which would make the individuals of the union stronger?” I immediately remembered Marcel Duchamp referring to “the religion of art” and the “group-think” he fought against. I replied to the woman in a snarky manner, “Artists – Intriguists in particular -- could call each other ‘brother’ and ‘sister’ as a reminder to stay humble and to tag who is ‘in the know’.” The off-handed suggestion was a way for artists to be separatists and elitists at once – a concept the art world loves.  From that moment on, the nickname “Brother” stuck, especially to someone (me) who doesn’t have tattoos, no piercings, doesn’t smoke, doesn’t drink alcohol, doesn’t take drugs, or even eats red meat, although I do continually swear like a sex-obsessed sailor on shore leave.

Shortly thereafter, Lady Gaga came on to the world scene, billing herself as a performance artist, which gave credibility in my choice of a “brand” name. I also loved the nickname because of reverence for the legendary performance artist Brother Theodore, who deserves homage for his ground-breaking contributions.  The name made sense in context of other performed fictional characters like Dame Edna, played by Barry Humphries, who is no lady and who isn’t sanctified for the title, but who is an internationally multi-media “star” on the character’s own terms, as is Pee Wee Herman or Elvira. Comedian Roseann’s “Domestic Goddess” routine was of the same genre, as was “Father Guido Sarducci”. Whoopi Goldberg’s real name is Karen Johnson. Creating personas is primarily social commentary and social satire -- a joke -- and either you get it or you don’t.  Characters are a specific high concept art form.  Labeling helps streamline memorable packaging which, in turn, helps get the message across.

There are those who are now taking the notion further by referring to me as “Your Grace”.

2.      Aren’t you afraid of repercussions from “devout followers of religious faith” who may be offended by the controversial religious intonations of your personae and the provocative themes of your art?

A:  I can’t second-guess who will be offended by what. That’s not my job. If I weren’t offending someone, a majority of time, I’d be more afraid I wasn’t saying anything of value. There’s an old adage: if you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.  As an artist, I deal in fear, doubt, guilt and shame – within myself and in others.   There would be something amiss if the reaction wasn’t repulsion to parts of my work because a percentage of it is -- by definition and by intent -- revolting, particularly to anyone with any kind of normal sensitivity, even within myself. In that vein, nervous laughter or an insult or anger is a valid reaction, as are awe or fascination or intrigue in other situations.  Francis Bacon made really beautiful ugly art. Picasso and Mapplethorpe and Arbus and Allen Ginsberg -- all made gorgeous pornography. Both Michelangelo and Da Vinci were considered heretics within their time. Today’s “smut” is tomorrow’s “genius”.  I can’t pay any more attention to “hate” than to the disproportionate about of “love” bestowed every day, every hour.

When you push buttons, you’ll get responses.  The result is controversy, a discussion, risk-taking, living with the consequences of an honest life, but hopefully in a dignified manner.  Every great artist in history, with any insight whatsoever, was considered anti-social, their work viewed as pornographic or deranged, at one point or another, and the greatness comes from rising above the fray, keeping an eye toward the commonality in human experiences.  Apathy is the kiss of death to an artist and their work.   I work too hard at revelation to be dismissed or ignored as a fringe lunatic or a flashy wanna-be.  I would hope to be just as sacrilegious, strange, and dirty as the best of them, not simply contrary for the sake of being contrary.

I believe many contemporary artists – like Baldasari and Banksy -- are con-artists, perhaps clever at best but not intellectual whatsoever. Their work seems to say, “You’re an idiot and I’m going to take advantage of your lacking knowledge of art…” When I do comedy, I don’t work “blue” as much as I could because crude vulgarity doesn’t spark the imagination and it is empty anger to no real end.  The effect wears thin quickly.  Yet confrontation is a necessary tool of the trade, especially to authority like politics and religion.  Remember: ideas don’t kill people – ignorance kills people. Knowing how far to go is always a matter of going too far.  You know when you’ve pissed off the right people when you find yourself in jail. George Carlin knew. Lenny Bruce knew.

We also live in a time when any publicity is considered good publicity, principally if negative in theme on “social media”.  Howard Stern has made a lucrative career of being hated, yet, he dares to do what many in media do not do – chew on a kind of personal truth, which is a respectful endeavor, no matter how difficult to digest.  What he does is “anti-art performance art” – an “unpopular populist”, so to speak, the opposite of Oprah and Ellen, who are commercial artists telling people what they want to hear, what they already know.  There’s a place for both approaches, opposite ends of a spectrum.

Media regurgitates cultural mythology in an endless loop.  Freedom of speech, expressions outside the boundaries of “good taste”, is essential for evolution, yet “bad taste” is not always easy to swallow.  Accepting diversity, which is necessary for adaptation, counters the core of natural selection which eliminates what doesn’t work, meaning: the field of conceptualists is self-regulating by timing and pragmatic application.  There should be no shame in being disliked, although most people intrinsically fear being shunned. I’ve experienced standing ovations and being booed off stage by a thousand people.  The struggle for acceptance and understanding of the positive and negative reactions to being cast as an uncensored celebrity is easier for me than for those who are the closest to me. It’s my job and not theirs’. Who wouldn’t be concerned for their well-being?

Like Stern, I wear the badges of “outsider” and “provocateur” with pride. The pervasive irony of my personae is being iconoclastic while simultaneously playing the role of an icon, reminiscent of the late David Bowie.

The question is laced with an unspoken truth about religion: it’s irrational.  “Faith” is antiquated and the sooner we move on to ration and reason, the sooner we can deliver food, water and shelter to everyone on the planet, move on to meaningful education, and stop hanging responsibility of our destiny on an invisible fairy-tale being. Hoping, wishing, dreaming and praying doesn’t make things happen.  Action does.  The saying, “religion is Pablum for the masses”, pretty much sums it up.  People stupid enough to believe bull crap “spirituality” mumbo-jumbo aren’t clever enough to stop me and killing me will not stop the message.  The obvious example of how killing to stop ideas doesn’t work is the story of Jesus Himself, not to mention Martin Luther King or even imprisoning the Marquis De Sade.  

The time to turn “political correctness” around on oppressors is long over-due, since most cultural mythology is “tradition” which hinders growth as well.  End empowering ignorance by turning a blind eye, take responsibility, and no longer tolerate the intolerant, those who insist religious belief has value, when, in fact, religion is bad for the economy (cease tax exemptions), segregates communities, stands in the way of much-needed intellectual progress, and is opposite in behavior everything it pretends to be in principle (i.e. hypocritical, judgmental, exclusionary, bigoted and vindictive, to name just a few). There is a difference between amoral and immoral and organized religion (as is politics) is dangerous by design by confusing the two. Nothing good has ever come from doing anything in the name of the Lord. 

The current Pope has the right idea.  Put religion back into “The People Business” or, better yet, get out of the business altogether. Just to be clear: yes, I am anti-religious and my agenda is to promote the alternative to religion, which is common sense. If logic is offensive, then color me obnoxious.

3.      Why do you wear skirts and odd outfits?

A: It’s a graphic statement, a visual warning sign to others that I am most assuredly not “traditional”.  I don’t waste time with people who don’t “get me”, trying to communicate when the discussion is over before it begins. The skirts service to instantly weed out those who are profound haters. The affront from those who “protest too much” has more to do with them than it does with me, as a person or as an artist.  My “act” is not for everyone and I’m okay with that. You don’t like me?  Fine.  Ignore me. Assume whatever you’d like about me and it’s probably at least partially true.  I’ll own it.  As far as I know, a skirt has never hurt anyone. Get a sense of humor, already.  Guess what?  Any minute I might choose to wear nothing at all. Deal with it. I’m an educator but, ultimately, I’m an entertainer and dress the part.

As an educator, I push through cultural resistance to reconfirm what wise Martin Luther King suggested: judging people on their character -- not race, gender, age, sexual orientation, financial accomplishments or lack thereof. My identity isn’t contingent on one hair style or one hair color, fashion trends, as sundry success or failure models. I am myself – rich or poor, clothed or naked, popular or not, and, contrary to the opinion of some, I’m perfectly happy not having expectations of being happy.  Righteous indignation works best for me, not passive contentment with life as an “as is” proposition.

I am offended as a feminist when someone suggests that a man being “woman-like” or womanly or effeminate is somehow a detriment or anti-man or anti-Creationism or “gay-ish”. Clothing does not make the man, at least, not in this case, yet, pants on a woman certainly brought women into the fold.  We should rejoice in diversity and full-spectrum expression of self as part of human evolution, casting off the tyranny of prejudice.  An article of clothing – or lack of clothing – shouldn’t represent anything other than minor, minimal face value.

The on-going, absurd, repressive, Victorian fear of “debauchery” leading to another fall of the Roman Empire is groundless, not to mention historically inaccurate.  Machismo, sexism, and misogyny aren’t fun and, furthermore, they are impractical attitudes in a global economy wherein codifying diversity is a coveted asset.  Sticking to rigid gender roles is simply too boring to be taken seriously. Life is too short.

If only a man putting on a dress could have the power to change the course of human events…

4.      Why is there so much nudity and sexuality in your work?

A: I resent the intonation of the question, as if there is something WRONG with being sexual or naked.  The question should be: why is what I do, say, feel, want, or need so damned important to others for others to care – whether sexual or naked?

From what I know of life, the conclusion I’ve made: you can’t express yourself until you have self-actualized your own body, meaning stripping away the social confines of clothing which imply restrictive gender roles and ludicrous social status and understand humans are sexual beings.  The hippies knew this.  Nudists prove it.  Look no further than women who are made to wear burkas in Third World countries.  Forced clothing subjugates the person, objectifies them. School uniforms negate what school is for – to teach how to think as an individual.  “Clothing optional” is about choice and choice is the very essence of freedom.

I’ll go further: until women question why they wear the makeup they do, in that fashion, they will not make the same money as men or be treated with the respect they should inherently have.  Why would anyone want glossy blood-red lips – especially in a work place where being “pretty” isn’t in the job description?  Simply put: you can’t exemplify self-loathing under the guise of “beauty” (i.e. “breeding material”) and expect to be seen as “who you really are” as an equal to someone else who doesn’t have to spend one second of thought on their appearance. Cast aside double-messages and perhaps your message will be heard clearly. Throw away high-heeled shoes and put your feet on the ground where they belong.

We are sexual beings, each and every person, designed to reproduce.  Sexuality is the core to the “human condition” and all cultures (sexual politics) and all philosophy (morality) and all dynamics in all relationships and in all the traditional labels of self which start in the womb with gender assignment.  The culture is moving away from sexuality and reproduction being one and the same because technology has separated them, which leads to a paradigm shift in philosophical purpose/meaning.  The Farming Age and Industrial Age needed workers – quantity for life.  The Information Age requires less people – quality of life.

Even The Bible retreads the tired “Boy Meets Girl” scenario.  Nothing is new.  The current variation is: “Boy Meets Girl Who Was Born A Boy But Always Knew He/She Was Really A Girl Inside”.  That’s progress for ya.

I’ve been a nudist since birth.  It’s what I know, as comfortable with nudity and sexuality in my work as Woody Allen is with representations of New York City in his work.  I like sex and I like to watch people having sex.  Sue me.

5.      You are known to be highly-opinionated.  Is that a fair description?

A: “Opinionated” is just the beginning.  “Opinionated” connotes you are closed off to opposing ideas, that you are dogmatic, obstinate, suffer from a hindering negative personality trait.  The word imbues a not-so-hidden distaste for others, as though being judgmental and opinionated are synonymous. The assumption is that being opinionated means you tell others how to live outside your authority (yet, you best teach by example). As an artist of forty-plus years, I will espouse as much authority as one is willing to give me to influence thinking, but, again, to share and inspire is a long way from being a megalomaniac monster.

However, to be a writer, director, actor or artist, one has to start with a committed idea which the artist deduces will achieve envisioned goals, which is then invested with time, money, materials, effort and so forth.  If you don’t value your ideas, how can you motivate others into action (and develop trust), specifically when you are alone in your vision unless through the enforcement of sheer will? Good ideas are a statistical phenomenon.  Sometimes an idea has to be implemented before discovering it is “bad”.  Failure, as Edison said, is as valuable as success in many instances, because you’re developing a criteria. Far better to try and fail, than to keep cycling through what you know and getting the same poor results.

Film is a collaborative effort which requires a division of tasks. Ultimately, someone has to make the decisions, take the bottom-line responsibility, and I am extremely comfortable taking on that role. My opinions are the key to planning and execution.  Self-doubt is the enemy.  Being labeled “opinionated” is the criticism of those who do not comprehend the thousands of problem-solving edicts which go into making art.  Artists do not turn on opinions in the studio and leave them turned off at the entrance before venturing into the world, any more than non-artists would go into a studio and suddenly become open-minded to processes beyond their normal sphere of knowledge.

My world-view comes from decades of self-reflection and study, a life-time of trial-and-error experience. You can’t have it both ways – keeping it to yourself and giving it away to the world. Yet, all of this doesn’t damper the expectation of angry villagers with torches storming through the door at any minute.

6.      You’ve done a wide range of projects – interior design, photography, writing, make-up, acting – to name a few.  What are you most proud of?

A: “Jesus Chimp” combines both concepts of evolution and Creationism in a historically new digital media format -- a pretty significant accomplish for a simple image.  The intense music video “The Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle” gives an insight into what someone with Asperberger’s Syndrome might experience -- how people with cognitive conditions might see the world. “The Invisibles” conceptual art outlines everything that is both good and bad about the nature of “art” – in quotes -- as we presently understand it.   “The Social” short film exemplifies the Intriguism retro-futurism methodology pretty well. Knowing lives have been effected in a positive way by the Intriguism projects, from the work as a whole and from the process of creating the work is an accomplishment of merit. Sometimes asking the right question is more enlightening than assuming/accepting which answer is correct. I’m proud to be a unique critical-thinker, despite the culture I live in, the education system I was subjected to and the up-bring I’ve experienced. I’m most proud of the love given to me from someone who sees me as worthy of that love.

7.      What’s your process as an auteur film-maker?

A: My films are experiments.  Each project has a goal – whether lighting, dialogue, toying with narrative or concentrating on acting techniques.  Most are satires, overtly or subtly.  The films tend to be a diary of where I was at as a person and as an artist at the time.  Frankly, I’ve been making films for so long, the process has become a lifestyle, second-nature, and, despite the massive amounts of man-hours, not as much thought goes into it as one might imagine.

Like all artists, I am constantly on the prowl for materials to use, whether it’s a snippet of dialogue from a conversation, the way light plays off leaves on a tree on a windy day, or acquiring equipment which will affect the outcome of the film overall such as when to implement a dolly.  My films are an amalgamation of every damned movie I’ve ever seen and I’ve literally seen thousands of them.  Bad artists steal and fake invention.  Great artists are blatant about their thefts and will give credit to those they have robbed by calling it a “homage” so they don’t get sued.

The bottom line is I play dress-up.  Anything to that end is what I will do.  The films are just an expensive, complicated, lame excuse.

8.      You have so many facets to your character.  How would you describe yourself?

A: A paradox… A high-energy visionary conceptualist… An extroverted introvert…  I can put on a show in front of thousands or talk one-on-one, but put me in front of seven people at a party and I’ve got nothing to contribute.  Small talk is a talent I just don’t have, along with math and window cleaning. 

Most people see their identity through what they do, what they have, their friends and family, their appearance.  Most people have a self-image which reflects how they feel about themselves, like a fixed place on a map.  I don’t have that. My free-form identity isn’t predicated on gender, race, age, appearance. I am more of a psychic vibration that fills spaces, rather than a set of predictable personality traits or physical attributes.

Imagine having a life in which every time you showed up the reaction from others was, “Oh, I didn’t recognize you…” Imagine starring in a movie, being in ninety percent of the scenes, and even your own mother can’t pick you out of the film. Imagine having a photographic mind in which you were the camera, looking out at the world, and not being part of the subject of the image, always once removed.

It took me until I was twenty-five years old to realize the difference between having a sense of humor and sense of humus. I kept looking for collective moisture when I should have been memorizing jokes.

9.      What is the biggest misconception others have about you?

Similar to the common myths of most artists – that I’m some kind of “mad genius”, crazy and moody… That I intentionally seek negative attention and feed off of it… That without a striking financial gain (i.e. rich and famous), my work is not valuable. 

Artists are often thought of as “childish”, when, in fact, they are more likely to be “child-like”. Maturity is over-rated.  …That all this pretty isn’t necessarily natural.  That I’m a flagrant, flamboyant cross-dresser.  Okay, that one might be true.  That I’m a hypocrite and a bigot and self-centered and a chronic liar and… This is why I have a therapist on speed-dial.

10.  What is your ultimate goal?

To complete the multi-million dollar multi-media Brother Andy’s Goldshield Castle resident/commercial project in San Diego, California, which will be a historically accurate depiction of life from 1350 to 1550. To build an extensive library of work with some artistic merit and financial value, which can be used as raw materials for future generations. To portray women, gays, blacks and artists in my work in a way that inspires acceptance and compassion. To teach critical thinking, problem-solving. To redefine how we see ourselves, starting with self-actualization (the awareness of the experience we are having) and address the fear, doubt, guilt and shame that enslaves us. The goal of every artist, just as with every human being, is purpose, meaning and relevance.

To make world history is possible and needed as a tool. Again, Mother Teresa, Gandhi, Jesus are celebrities, no different than Elvis or Madonna. Santa Clause is treated as though real because the culture needs role models to emulate, even if conceptualized, just as children play with dolls to act out role-playing. By using me as a social experiment, fundamentals can be discovered and worked out in a safe way, then applied to the real-world situations. The goal is to be more like my idol, Marcel Duchamp, who, in my estimation, was more influential on the human race than was Jesus Christ because he changed the way people thought, how people thought, without dictating the subject of what to think about – and he not only did this once, he did it multiple times in multiple ways.

Selfishly, I want to live in a world that is free and peaceful, to seek what there is, and to participate wholly without reservation. The objective is to release the anger of what man has done to himself (the past), forgive myself for the human frailties I have (the present), and pause to think before doing more of the same (the future). I am grateful for the opportunity to know others, to be part of their story, satisfied in having been known.

Another irony: I kind of need to be left alone, steeped in solitary down-time, in order to talk to the whole of the world, to the generations yet to be, and I need staffs of dedicated people to accomplish this.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

See And Hear Music The Intrigants

An Invitation To See And Hear The Intrigants

Entar Entertainment and uber-artist Brother Andy proudly announce the completion of a new, FREE video channel, located on, dedicated exclusively to the creative avant-garde musical Intriguism Art Movement project known as “The Intrigants”.  

Over eighty original, cutting-edge videos and over six hours of experimental music tracks (three full, complete albums) are the result of various talented producers, musicians, singers, and film-makers from around the United States and around the world.  

This unique project employs the Intriguism Art Movement’s Retro-Futuristic Method, which many famous artists have practiced without knowing and attaching the increasingly-popular label as of yet.  

Simply search youtube to find The Intrigants, follow, and enjoy!

Friday, January 8, 2016


Announcing The Winners of the "Why I Love Brother Andy" Writing Contest 2016

Thank you to all the highly-creative participants and to Mr. Corey Chambers who acted as the contest's judge. We received over a dozen outstanding entries, including internationally.  Unfortunately, many were disqualified for not following the instructions of the contest rules.  Each of the winners has generously donated the winnings back to the Intriguism cause.

$100 First Place: Larry Greenberg, Iowa
$50 Second Prize: Pete Marchesi, Los Angeles
$25 Third Prize: Debbie Sanders, Phoenix

The winning submissions will be posted here soon.

“Why I Love Artist Brother Andy” Writing Contest 2016

Everyone loves a lover on St. Valentine’s Day and what better way to celebrate than to share the special occasion with words of love for uber-artist Brother Andy (film-maker, fine artist and photographer)!

What The Contest Is: In two hundred words or less, write (in English) the various reasons what you love about artist Brother Andy.  Writers of any age may submit as many times as they would like from anywhere in the world! All materials submitted will become the property of Intriguism.

How Much The Entry Free Is:  FREE!

When To Submit: Submission must be received no later than Wednesday February 10, 2016 at midnight PST. Winners will be announced on Sunday February 14, 2016 at 10 am PST on artist Brother Andy’s web site and his blog.

Where To Submit:

Criteria: From the senseless to the sublime – nothing is off limits or censored! A Top Ten list? A sonnet? Creativity counts. The judge will be LA real estate mogul and art patron Corey Chambers.

What You Win: First Prize is $100 US.  Second Prize is $50 US.  Third Prize is $25 US. Winning submissions will appear on all Intriguism websites and blogs.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Intriguism Moving Pictures "Sonnet"

Intriguism Moving Pictures latest feature-length film, "Sonnet", has just been completed and stars Edward Benford IV, Reginal Van Pelt, Carol Hannan, Rebecca Rowley, Phylicia Mason, Miguel Arballo, Manuel Domenech, Richie Sande, Brian Lavender, Ivery Edwards, Rebecca Navarre, Claire Navarre and Brother Andy.
The 1920's era comedy film about poets is currently on youtube, but is unlisted to the public and is a low-quality version.  Any comments, suggestions, or questions are greatly appreciated.
Here is a direct link:

Friday, May 22, 2015

Thought Of The Day 1

Kim Kardashian has a "career" like mass murders have a "career" by gaining media coverage -- the wrong kind of attention for doing the wrong kind of thing.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Why Bill Cosby Isn't Funny (Op-Ed)


Let's take the recent scandal of well over thirty different, unrelated women who have accused Bill Cosby of inappropriate behaviors over the past four decades or so out of the equation for just a second and look at the performer known as Bill Cosby from the point of view of a professional working comedian, from the vantage of audience members who have supported him and his endeavors with our time and money, and from the aspect of him being labeled a "living show business legend" and modern-day "cultural icon". 

Separating the man from the myths from the allegations gets increasingly harder to do with each passing day, as we come to believe what we see -- good and bad -- repeated in the media without question or context, as the truth, until reality and fiction blend together as one. Perhaps the person who experiences fame and fortune and make-believe as a for-sale commodity eventually comes to not know the differences themselves, as, I believed, was the case of Michael Jackson.

Is Bill Cosby funny?  Was he ever funny? Was he set up to "fail" as an "ideal of perfection" no imperfect human being could fulfill? And, if so, did he set himself up?  Or was he -- and continues to be -- someone who needs serious mental-health help?  Are we enabling him in his illness by holding celebrities to a different standard than "regular people" and by rewarding "outrageous sickness" with celebrity the performers don't deserve?  Has the Cult of Celebrity reached its final saturation point and Mr. Cosby is a prime example of an obsolete, dying breed?  Is he a victim somehow?  Where do we go from here?

Let's look at his messages, values, lifestyle...

1.  Bill Cosby doesn't look "funny".

Bill Cosby used to be good-looking back-in-the-day -- actually, kind of sexy.  When he was starting out, he had a strong sense of fashion style, presented himself as clean-cut, the kind of non-radical Black young man everyone liked, even hard-nosed White people, even when things were bumpy between the races.  His presentation was impeccable.

His once-bankable impishness faded a couple of decades ago.  His poorly-aging body is bloated, sagging -- this is an ex-athlete?  He seems closer to helpless and homeless than to a healthy, active, inspirational senior statesman. He certainly isn't believable playing a doctor any longer.

His gray-coated eyes droop.  These are the same eyes that got a laugh just by rolling them up and pursing his lips to repress a contagious smile.  Those eyes are dead.  He doesn't smile at all anymore. His frowns are frozen, in a seemingly constipated way, agitated, bitter.  His fingernails are long.  His skin is marked by large dark dots and he is unshaven.  He simply looks unhappy and unwell and sad and perplexed and in need of a shower.  He looks as though there is no one around to take care of him to a reasonable standard, he is no longer capable of taking care of himself.

Comedian Joan Rivers also ruined her looks, with a startling amount of plastic surgery in her case, until it was nearly impossible to pay attention to what she was saying.  An elderly woman screaming obscenities through an immobile mask of too-taunt skin is off-putting, similar to when the whole world gasped in shock at an Oscars event at the once stunningly beautiful actress, Kim Novak, whose barely-recognizable face was voluntarily, intentionally, made into grotesque putty for vanity's sake. Pity replaced reverence.

Jerry Lewis had a life-threatening illness (through no fault of his own), took life-saving medication for it, but the steroids involved bloated his face to three times normal size to almost unrecognizable as well.  A pratfall by a twenty-one-year-old fit Jerry Lewis at a nightclub is way funnier than the same pratfall by a seventy-five-year-old near-death Jerry Lewis who looked like Mr. Potato-head (and not in a humorous way), happening shortly after being booted off as host of the Labor Day telethon.  You could neither laugh with him or at him in good conscious because there was nothing funny about his situation whatsoever. Watching a pompous man slip on a banana peel is funny. Watching someone handicapped falling down, struggling to get up, is not funny.

Bill Cosby no longer wears any trace of a "performance outfit" or makeup or has "staging" when performing.  There are plenty of reasons performers dress up in suits, ties, looking as presentable as possible, with good lighting and designed sets.  It's about self-respect and respect for the audience.  It's about putting on a "show", "eye-candy", being "professional".  Cosby gives no indication between being a world-class performer or being his "self", presented as a "nobody-in-particular" who happens to wander in off the streets and on to the stage -- the Common Man -- which is an act, of course, to hide his true ego.  Actress Joan Crawford, on the other hand, said, "If you want to see the Girl Next Door, go next door..."  Perhaps Cosby's attitude toward production values is: "I'm so great I don't have to do anything...I AM the show..."? Funny?  No.

Cosby's signature "sweater" has been replaced with cheap Wal Mart sweat shirts with ironed-on lettering of "Hello Friends" on the front in a kind of child-like, pathetic plea. Wealthy, experienced, educated, DOCTOR Cosby -- actor, producer, writer, comedian, teacher, author -- has the disheveled look of someone with cognitive disabilities/dementia with a day-pass on a bus trip to the mall. Why?

You must empathize with a comedian to some extent in order to find the humor relatable because comedy is already an exaggerated abstraction, a surreal heightening of reality.  You can not find a comedian so horribly repulsive that you feel sick looking at them. That's the opposite of being open to what they have to say and having a good time. 

If the performer doesn't address whatever it is about them that is distracting within the first three seconds of bounding on to the stage, then it is up to the performer to win back the audience's wandering attention -- if they can.  Feeble long-time performers such as Don Rickles, Bob Newhart, and Billy Crystal are currently at that cross-roads, yet, they don't wear lettering across their chests which would add nothing to the comedic proceedings except confusion and distraction.  Where is Cosby's management? 

Bill Cosby must be hysterically funny instantly out of the starting gate and be brilliant each and every time he performs, for as long as he performs, if for no other reason, than to compensate for his current poor, humorless appearance. Genius could bridge the ragged physical hindrances enough to make the audience forget his appearance -- eventually and for a short while.  No reports indicate he is that funny.  What can he possibly say about how he looks?  What can he possibly say about the world without seeming a hypocrite or ironic in a not-so-great way?  Nothing funny there.

2.  Bill Cosby doesn't sound "funny".

In his hey-day, Cosby's jokes were typically punctuated by wonderfully-timed pregnant pauses, rubbery facial expressions and wild gesturing.  He created "Cosby-ism" tag lines that become part of the cultural idiom ("Hey, Hey, Hey...", "Riiiigghhhtttt....What's a cubic?").  His recorded comedy albums were standard fare for every American household, with repeatable, hip jokes that you never grew tired of hearing.  He was a star who had a "recognizable voice" and his material was pure gold.

On stage, he now sits slumped in a folding chair under a harsh "working light", with a microphone planted on his mouth, hiding most of his face, as he telegraphs one trivial "observational humor" pun after another without set-ups or punch-lines, rambling on smarmy non-stories without an arc or point.  He's doing what comedians call "noodling" -- a free-association way of comedy -- nothing written, without structure, and, in this instance, without much intonation or diction, as though too exhausted, too beat down, weighted, to stand and speak to the audience directly with any conviction or vigor.  There are still pauses in his act but they are full of self-consciousness, lingering too long, and the laughs result from audience's fidgety nervousness, rather than lighting wit or a particular insight into the human condition.

Cosby is low-balling to a fanatical die-hard audience who does most of the work for him themselves by expecting him to be funny, whether or not he actually is, who pay a lot of money to see the "Jello Pudding Guy/Dr. Huxtable" of yesteryear, no matter what, and who would laugh at just about anything anyway.  Something similar happens at Rolling Stones and Beach Boys concerts or when Cher shows up. These are the kind of "royalty" performers who could come out on stage, drop their pants, take a crap, and get a standing ovation. Does Cosby deserve that kind of reverence? If you were to look at his "reel of successes", would the materials seem timeless or hopelessly dated?

Just a couple of years ago, Cosby went on several talk shows and repeatedly tanked in a grand manner, while meandering about the studios, seeming lost, making baffling, nonsense statements as though he was either in the throes of a nervous breakdown, on heavy medication, steeped in senility, or all of the above.  A comedian who isn't funny is tragic.

Over the years, Cosby has inched ever nearer Norma Desmond territory, more so than any other comedian of late or in his peer group who were supposedly "great", only to become a quickly tiresome satire of his own faded career and self-importance.  The obvious subtext of his limp, wheezing appearances is: "I used to be big", an old circus elephant, destined to do their routine in a continuous loop, because they have never known any other life.

Any quote you find from Cosby within the last decade is typically curmudgeon in nature -- negative, critical, condescending, self-righteous -- and not the kind of joyful joke he was famous for at all.  Comedians work from a basic personal truth, from inward to outward, and if the performer doesn't have a grasp of what the truth is for himself -- loosing himself -- he no longer has a source in which to draw materials from.  He no longer has funny things to say.  When he speaks, Bill Cosby doesn't sound funny.

3.  Bill Cosby's view of the world isn't "funny".

Cosby, as a stand-up comedian, was never "edgy" like Richard Pryor or "smart" like George Carlin or "political" like Lenny Bruce or "ethnic" like Jackie Mason or "silly" like Steve Martin.  He wasn't pure vaudeville as say, George Burns.  He never had the acting chops of Eddie Murphy or the dramatic depth of Sydney Portier who, at times, could be very funny.  He never worked "blue" (maybe in Vegas?).  He was reliable but never in the show biz stratosphere like Ellen's "Hey, God...It's Me, Ellen" routine or when Roseanne exploded on "The Tonight Show" in full "Domestic Goddess" trashiness.  Cosby was, at best, an easily-digestible light meal -- charm was his greatest asset, like Will Smith.  

His cultural impact in the 1960's was based in large on the fact he was a "person of Color" who made good, got along without rocking the boat, someone White people of a certain mind could see themselves being friends with, in spite his race -- safe, affable. He was like having your riotous cousin cut up during a party but not someone you'd turn to for side-splitting, heavy-lifting comedy, like the joke-machine of Bruce Vilanch's extraordinary gifts.

And he was absolutely not alone in making that impact.  Everyone from Diana Ross to Nichelle Nichols to Diahann Carroll to Sammy Davis, Junior and hundreds of others in all kinds of fields were making strides in social acceptance of African-Americans.  You can not look to a single incident in Mr. Cosby's life and show cause-and-effect of his involvement in social changes, the way you can with so many others.

In the 1980's, Cosby's shtick was pure "family values" -- his stand-up personal observational humor based on what happens at home turned into an extreme right-wing Republican's dream as seen by a narrow-minded populist and propagated to the masses.  That was when people had families and they valued them -- or at least watched the TV version while their lives didn't reflect what was on the screen, as in every era before it.  That's when both parents worked and social repression lead to depression, suicide, high school shootings. Ray Romano did the same thing later with "Everyone Loves Ramon" but closer to how people actually are (but questions arose about responsibility when the boy on his show committed suicide).    I would point to "The Cosby Show" as to one of the many reasons why the words "families values" eventually became a joke itself.

"The Cosby Show's" naive, Black-version "Ozzie and Harriet" family was so squeaky-clean "white bread", so bizarrely un-hip while trying to be mega-hip, that it inspired Roseanne Barr to create a hugely successful counter-programming show with beer-drinking, poor, working people that you actually saw working.  This was at a time when MTV hit the airwaves with Madonna warbling "Like A Virgin".

In my estimation, Cosby's patriarchal character on the Cosby TV show was sick.  His "act", in character and out, was "I'm a highly-intelligent man put-upon by family and friends and everyone else -- who are morons, lesser quality people" and his job was to embarrass and humiliate them into submission and then justify his behavior with "child-like horse-play", making "faces", as if he was too "lovable", too "cute", to reprimand for his harshly judgmental, condescending rudeness. Who, exactly, did he think he was?  In real life I have known people like this, asses who are ignored and shunned, not patronized for even a second.  No one finds this kind of behavior "cute" in my hood.  Why would a grown man with a wife and children behave like this?  Dude, get over yourself.

See a pattern here?  That same pattern extends out from Cosby to the whole of America, as we will come to see...

Cosby was an Executive Producer, as well as star, of his show.  He had ultimate control of the show's content. His "wife" on the show was a lawyer who you never saw at work or clean the house.  Her manipulative, "cunning" character had two purposes -- to telegraph to the audience how "adoringly funny" Cosby was and to be his trite "mother" who "hens" with other silly women about husbands' "bad boy" stunts. This Oedipal-dripping dynamic is so entirely Freudian as to be a joke itself -- not a funny joke, though. Lauded as "feminist" at the time, the Mrs. Huxtable character is unfortunately not a fully-realized person, only a version of what men (including a psychologist hired as the show's consultant) think women are.

"Dr. Huxtable" was a gynecologist who delivered babies.  Uh, creepy... Cosby, once again, stridently wanted the audience to see him as "father-savior", including even being a "father" to other people's newborns by proxy. In other words, out of all the professions the character could have had wherein comedy set-ups abound -- college teacher, social worker, restaurant owner -- Cosby chose the one involving women's vaginas. Wouldn't it have been more believable, more sensible, to have him as a lawyer and his wife as a gynecologist?  This was Cosby's choice.

Older people were treated as though a source for humor on the show, to be made fun of on occasion, and then go home.  No older person on the show had a job, made any contribution, not even as baby-sitter to the kids.  Family -- with no real involvement.  Hmm.

"The Cosby Show" treated children as though stupid and was smug about it, making the children call him "sir".  I recall a scene in which the father had a talk to his son about money. The father gives the kid a handful of cash and then systematically takes the money back as a life-lesson for the bills the kid will have to pay when he is on his own.  I was a teenager at the time of viewing this exchange and recall thinking that if I were that kid, I'd leave home immediately, never to return, never to speak to the father again, since the father took great joy out of methodically making the son feel small and inferior. The proper way to have handled the situation would have been for the father to tell the son he is supportive of whatever decisions he makes, that everyone makes mistakes but it is how and what he learned that really mattered, how he treated himself and others, and, when the son was ready to learn about finances to come see him, keeping the lines of communication open.

There was no self-expression in the Huxtable household, for anyone -- only Dad's Superiority Complex. There was never any discussion about sexuality, never a person running around in their underwear as what happens every minute of every day in households across the world.  Where's the scene where the parents are having sex and the kid bursts into the room?  Where's the scene where a parent is in the bathroom and the kid bursts into the room?  Where's the scene where the kids have a slap fight?  Where was the TV in the living room on a show that was on TV?

There was more than plenty of talk about education, military duty, about money, money, money. You could set your watch by references to the parents having money and the children didn't, how much the children were costing the parents, on and on.  The guilt was laid on as thick as the consumerist value-system.

Gay people were as mysteriously absent from "The Cosby Show" as the lack of ethnicity was on "Friends" -- a perplexing mystery especially since both shows were set in present-day New York City.  None of the kids had gay friends?  A large number of gay people worked on the "Cosby" show behind the scenes, as gay people have to make up as much of show business as people who happened to be Jewish.  If there were anyone who could attest to the low representation of minorities in mass media, it surely would be Mr. Cosby who would want ample opportunity to have as many targets for humor as possible, right?  Uh, no.

"The Cosby Show" pandered to White people's white-washed perceptions of what Black people would be like if Black people were like White people, the opposite of "All In The Family" wherein White people acted like White people in trying to figure out how to respond to Black people who aren't like White people -- recognizing two separate but equal communities, two experiences, exploring through contrast and comparisons. Chris Rock has built a career on that premise.  "The Cosby Show" ended up representing no one except Bill Cosby's limited toleration of others -- including women, children, the aged -- the very people his "allegedly beloved act" is associated with. By never mentioning the words "African-American" or "Black" or even the "N-word" as people do in real life, the characters might as well have been green, for all it mattered. How does that help in understanding "differences" by never mentioning it?

The Cosby-produced kids' TV show, "Fat Albert" would never fly coming on to the air today because the whole basis of the show is about "fat shaming" the main character. Perhaps the cartoon show is more telling than one would suspect.  Is the "ribbing" between the characters actually "bullying" and that alienation, felt by Cosby growing up, the impetus of Cosby's inferiority that drives his need for authority?  Is he trying to be the "father" that he needs for himself who would protect, love, and accept him?

Cosby prefers being called "Doctor", even though he isn't any more or less a doctor than Dr. Phil or Dr. Laura, who also take on an authority about relationships they haven't any cause for either. Cosby has authored the books "Fatherhood," "Time Flies" and "Childhood".  What makes him an expert, the fact he has lots of children and was once a child himself?  He's not selling the books as "first person celebrity anecdotes".  He's prescribing advice as dictated by a for-real doctor.

Each of Cosby's children in real life were given names beginning with the letter "E" to represent "excellence".  (Excellence?  Please refer back to Items #1 and #2.) What kind of pressure does that have on a kid -- to not only live up to a famous parent, but to then having to live up to a strange standard of "excelling"? What's that about?

The murder of his son, Ennis, in 1997, on a Los Angeles freeway in a drug-related robbery/shooting incident in which his son was randomly chosen as a victim marked the end of the era in which Cosby took himself way too seriously, flaunting his doctorate degree as a banner of his imagined superior intelligence, and nose-dived into a complete lack of humor. His intensity was palpable but we will never know if it was fueled by grief, anger, frustration or any other emotion, because, once again, he never spoke about it, nor seemed to take what happened into his work as an artist.  (A familiar scenario -- similar to reactions by former "The Cosby Show" cast members when asked about the recent allegations against Cosby -- "I don't know....I never saw it...I wasn't involved...")

Cosby was front-and-center at the Playboy Jazz Festival for years, fancying himself a musician, though he plays no instrument, can not read or write music, nor sing.  He has been known to frequent the Playboy mansion and Playboy Clubs.  Why would he risk offending his core "family" audience by associating with -- becoming the very face of -- a multi-media empire based on misogyny, sexual freedom and leftist liberalism?  Playboy and Cosby seem at odds in their brands, unless you consider that Cosby has several distinct "lives" -- one on TV and in media which is "wholesome", one at home which is old-school turn-of-the-Century patriarchal, one that is secret and never discussed that is part of the Playboy lifestyle which is so prevalent as to be hard to deny. Ghosts of Michael Jackson loom...

Comedy, at its core, is about suffering, conflict.  Often, comedians become successful, wealthy and happy, and are disconnected from the source of their pain which inspired their comedy in the first place.  How can Cosby be relatable presently when he represents 80s consumerism, pseudo-Christian religious beliefs and tenuous moralities while simultaneously promoting the objectifying and sexualization of women, when he has alienated himself from the African-American community by offending them with aspersions of ignorance and his own intolerant narrow-mindedness? Is this someone you'd invite into your home and listen to?  Probably not.  But you might make fun of them behind their back.

4.  Bill Cosby's future isn't funny.

Cosby announced this week that he has "several ideas" to work on, even though he has been unceremoniously rejected by several producers of on-line original programming and the whole of the world knows this, making his cold-as-ice "brand" even less likely to buy in any format.

One way of of telling Cosby is no longer viable is that he isn't producing himself and translating what he does to the internet insomuch as anyone can tell.  He doesn't have a large internet following or twitter masses hanging on to his every word and the like.  He isn't mentoring anyone noteworthy either. He isn't working with anyone "hot", surrounding himself with ultra-talent who could revitalize his own talents for a new generation.

His low-wattage current career path is to use charities to hog whatever media attention he can muster, while forgoing traditional stand-up comedy circuits and road tours, and while continually soft-balling "truck-stop" colleges and community theaters.  No up-coming small part walk-on nods in a big budget films, no HBO specials or reality series, no one-man Broadway shows, no Las Vegas venues, no insightful film-fest documentaries, no national-level commercial, no up-coming album release, no book mega-deal, no "Cosby Show" reunion -- not even a succession of Indian casino gigs. By doing this, he is his own worst representation imaginable, undermining his "perceived value" and recognition factor, in a time when even non-celebrities are celebrities because they're not celebrities, making someone on "The D List" appear more sought after than this former "A Lister".

The bottom line is always the bottom line, and, Mr. Cosby can not guarantee an across-the-board return (or profit) on anyone's investment with projects to which he is attached, not even by milking what precious little there is to mine from the past in retro-style. If not for the money (which seems like he hasn't had any new big revenue sources since his TV show), what is the motivation to continue on?  That question looms around his head, replacing his halo with a cloud of doubt about what is next. 

The music recording industry is doing a three-sixty, evolving into internet media and cutting out layers of management.  TV is dying fast, replaced by the internet as well.  Stand-up comedians had better figure out a way to stay relevant, to not eat up massive amounts of materials as they had on TV and by now being on the internet, and to diversify their portfolio of talents for different media formats.  There is no reason to pay for a real-live Bill Cosby when digitally downloading him is free.  In fact, him being alive is a hindrance, as Elvis, Marilyn Monroe, and Michael Jackson were.  Bill Cosby's future isn't anything to laugh at because it isn't funny and it is less funny as time passes.

5. Comedians aren't funny anymore anyway.

In a January 2014 study, conducted in the British Journal of Psychiatry, scientists found that comedians tend to have high levels of psychotic personality traits. In the study, researchers analyzed 404 male and 119 female comedians from Australia, Britain, and the United States. The participants were asked to complete an online questionnaire designed to measure psychotic traits in healthy people. They found that comedians scored "significantly higher on four types of psychotic characteristics compared to a control group of people who had non-creative jobs." Gordon Claridge, a professor of experimental psychology at the University of Oxford and leader of the study claimed, "the creative elements needed to produce humor are strikingly similar to those characterizing the cognitive style of people with psychosis - both schizophrenia and bipolar disorder."

To find out "Lucy" was acting out from bipolar depression would be depressing in itself and would make her not funny at all.  What is at the core of Bill Cosby's need to seek attention -- healthy outlet or compulsive psychosis?

Perhaps Bill Cosby can not speak to allegations directed against him openly due to the insistence of legal council or court mandates.  But he does have a platform in which speak on many important issues of the day, any day he chooses.  He has the eyes of the world on him, and he has a tool -- humor -- as a way to convey messages.  Even when promoting "social causes" or when he has spoken out in the past about his perceptions of how others in the Black community should behave, for example, the subject matter is him, his wealth, his power, his image as the moral and benevolent "Father Figure", as if he were The Pope.  He over-shoots his authority and self-aggrandizes at every turn.  Being an entertainer -- even a beloved one, even a legendary, historic one -- isn't life-or-death.  You can't eat it, wear it, live in it, drive it or put it in a bank.  Entertainment's value is temporary at best and cheap.  Performers come...and they go.

Even if Bill Cosby is one-hundred-percent innocent of the ALL heinous allegations against him, Bill Cosby is not funny, has not been funny for a long while -- as a person or as a public personae, similar to Bill Clinton, only in his case, Bill Clinton has become a joke.  Perhaps those two men have a lot more in common than one would suspect on the surface.

Cosby has the worn-out aura of a guilty man who has pronounced his innocence for so long, he has become annoyed by the questions, the questions becoming his identity.  Mass murderers, child-molesters, drug addicts -- all justify their acts in order to live with themselves, as when someone who really is "crazy" tries to convince you they are "sane", while the rest of us secretly wonder how crazy we really are -- which is normal.

Whatever Cosby had has been eclipsed by negative connotations connected to his reputation -- as a man, a husband, a father, as an artist, as a businessman, as a representative of his people, as an American -- and not because of the allegations of women he has or hasn't crossed paths with.  He has done this to himself through his deeply personal, massive insecurities -- ego is his undoing, as simple of an answer as that might seem.

The Emperor has no clothes.  He should go home to deal with the triumphs and tragedies of a life-time, retire from public viewing, seek therapy, stop speaking to anyone outside the "inner circle" altogether.  His insistence at remaining high profile will force the whole of the world to judge him in the take-no-prisoners court of public opinion -- including my own harsh opinions -- and he will not win his cause of becoming triumphant at the end of the day, no matter the cost, of having the last laugh.

The "joke", if there is one now, now that we're finally aware, is on us and it isn't funny.