Before They Were Stars: Bill Cosby Performs Stand-Up Comedy on “The Tonight Show” in the 1960s

To celebrate Bill Cosby’s birthday today, here is what may be his very first official television appearance. In the early 1960s, Cosby was slowly building up his reputation as a stand-up comedian and garnering a lot of gigs throughout the United States, but he received his biggest break when he was invited to perform on The Tonight Show. This footage is so old that Johnny Carson isn’t even around yet; the show is being hosted by Jack Paar and it’s funny to hear him introduce Cosby as a “promising” comedian.

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