NEW YORK -- Even if Bill Cosby didn't have a hit TV show, he'd still have a fan club. Made up of other comedians, no less.
Take, for instance, Jerry Seinfeld and Larry Miller, who showed up at Cosby's dressing-room door in Las Vegas nearly a decade ago looking for advice from the veteran stand-up. Cosby didn't know the fledgling comics from a couple of Adams, but he took them to dinner nonetheless. The NBC star did the same for Paul Reiser a year later.
So it really comes as no surprise when Angela Scott beams that Bill Cosby gave her the time of day. Granted, they've known each other for a few years now, given that Scott works as the warm-up act for "The Cosby Show" tapings at the Kaufman Astoria Studios in New York, but bosses just don't have to be that nice.
"He watched my tape, and he gave me some wonderful advice," she says. "First off, he took the time to watch it with me and then spent about an hour and a half with me after that. I took notes, of course -- that I cherish.
"One of the best pieces of advice he gave me," the stand-up continues, "was not to sell myself short. And that's true, sometimes I do sell myself short. I get scared -- but I'm getting better at not getting scared.
"He knows so much about comedy," she concludes. "And I'm going to listen to what he says and do what he tells me to."
Not that what she has been doing up until now has been at all wrong. In fact, Scott, a divorced mother of two college-aged children, has a wonderful rapport with audiences, and works regularly at local clubs and in a weekly children's revue. And there are the occasional road gigs and college shows.
Still, she agrees, it's time to broaden her material base. Among other things, Cosby has advised her to address topics such as motherhood in more depth.
"There's a lot of funny stuff about family you can talk to people about onstage -- I mean, look at him," she says with a little laugh. "And there are elements of being a radical that I have to explore, that I have to flesh out. I'm beginning to be really honest about that stuff onstage."
And when Angela Scott says radical, she means radical. Take, for instance, this bit from her act:
"I met my husband in college," she tells an audience. "We were politically active -- a little militant."
"We were Black Panthers.
"They said have babies for the revolution," she continues. "I'm still miffed with the Panther party because nobody told me they weren't going to baby-sit."
"I watch people die when I say that," Scott says offstage. "They just don't believe me."
Cosby "encourages me to do that material here," she says backstage at "The Cosby Show." "I always figured when I do warm-up for this show, I'm the guest. The audience comes and they know this show, they know these characters, and I don't want to offend anyone. If they come to a club, that's different, they're my audience. But here, they're his. But he says go for it."