Bill Cosby to Retire as Playboy Jazz Festival MC

After 30 years of hosting the Hollywood Bowl event, the comedian is as synonymous with the musical celebration as Hugh Hefner himself.

Comedian and jazz lover Bill Cosby will host the Playboy Jazz Festival for the last time this year. Scheduled for the weekend of June 16 and 17 at Los Angeles' famed Hollywood Bowl, it will mark his 31st turn at the microphone.

A statement released today announcing Cosby's retirement as master of ceremonies describes the stand-up veteran as "almost as closely associated with the festival as founder Hugh Hefner." Indeed, since its first bow in 1979, Cosby has entertained an estimated 750,000 people to well more than 500 hours of jazz.

REVIEW: 33rd Annual Playboy Jazz Festival

In 1995, Cosby debuted his own group, The Cos of Good Music, featuring a handpicked lineup of musicians that would change from year-to-year. Cosby often played conductor and sometimes drummer.

Hefner called Cosby's contributions to the event "immeasurable.”

The bill for this year -- the festival's 34th -- features Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings, Sheila E., Ozomatli, Keb' Mo', Robin Thicke and, at 4 p.m. on Saturday, Cos of Good Music. 

Twitter: @THRMusic