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Sundance kicked off its fest with a mountain-chic opening night fundraiser whose slate of honorees included We Need to Talk About Cosby creator W. Kamau Bell.
The comic and filmmaker, who picked up the nonfiction Vanguard Award presented by Acura at the IMDbPro-presented event, offered his take on the news that disgraced comedian Bill Cosby is mounting plans for a stand-up tour.
“It’s clear to me that there are people around Bill Cosby who feel the need to keep his name in the press. He’s 85 years old. I don’t know a lot of 85-year-old comedians on tour, especially with his history. I know that my name is forever going to be tied to Bill Cosby because of this project, and I’m proud of the work put into it and I stand by it, but I won’t be buying tickets if he goes on tour.”
In accepting his award, Bell, feted by Cassandro filmmaker Roger Ross Williams, detailed his path from “weirdo” to stand-up comedy fan to stand-up comedian to executive producer and director of the award-winning We Need to Talk About Cosby. Bell said there were times during the production of the series that he had to ask himself the question, “Whose idea was this?” he recalled, making sure to shout out his mentors and collaborators who helped along the way.
“It was a way to remind myself that this was indeed my idea. I could only blame myself. It was comforting.” He also credited his only child cred and outsider status as being key to his career. “Our weirdness is our superpower.”
This story first appeared in the Jan. 27 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. Click here to subscribe.
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