AP interview: Cosby keeps it clean for humor prize

Brett Zongker | 10/25/2009, 7:24 p.m.

"Watching him do those things showed me the right way for a standup comedian to play himself on television - how you kind of transform your standup persona into a character persona," Seinfeld told the AP. "I think only comedians know and understand that this guy has reached like a virtuoso point of command over this form that most people, even the big star comedians, don't get anywhere near."

Beyond the comedy that he still performs on stage, Cosby has spoken bluntly about society over the years. He has spoken out about personal responsibility in the black community and talks often about education on his Web site, Facebook and Twitter feeds.

Of all things he'd wish for young people, better television is on the list. Cosby said he wishes kids had access to classic writers and their stories on TV, "so that our youth can find themselves being excited about things other than going straight for the genitalia."

The longtime TV dad also has some observations on politics, though he says he's not a "wheeler, dealer" when he visits Washington. Recently, the tea party protests against President Barack Obama have struck a chord.

"To see people marching down the street, talking about a tea party, they've got to be kidding ... and the name-calling, these people are hilarious," he said. "What's not funny is how seriously so many of them have come together to speak like this."

He was appalled by the refusal of some public schools last month to show students an Obama speech about education, and he agrees with some observers, such as former President Jimmy Carter, that some of the opposition is driven by racism.

"I just want this United States of America to be the United States of America, for which it's supposed to stand," Cosby said.

His family will join him for the award show in D.C. "I don't know if the Suburban's going to look like 'Grapes of Wrath' or what," he said.

Bill Cosby's Web site: http://www.billcosby.com/