Bill Cosby returned to the stage for the first time since a judge declared a mistrial in his rape case in June.
The disgraced TV star announced Monday, shortly after giving the eulogy at the funeral for Faison Firehouse co-founder Tad Schnugg, that he had scheduled a special performance in Philadelphia in honor of jazz musician Tony Williams.
Dressed in a gray sweatshirt and jeans, Cosby also played drums with the Tony Williams Jazz Quartet at the Lorosa Jazz Club.
“I used to be a comedian,” he told the 11-year-old son of the bass player during the set.
Cosby also joked about his childhood and his blindness.
“Let me tell you something about people talking to blind people, you sighted people,” he said. “If you see a blind person walking into a pole or something, if you speak perfect English, there’s a word called ‘Stop!’ Not ‘Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa!'”
Unlike Cosby’s last tour, which was flooded with protests, only one woman stood out Monday against him, playing Helen Reddy’s “I Am Woman” on repeat and holding a sign that read, “Perseverance to all survivors.”
Jury selection for Cosby’s retrial begins March 29, a judge announced Monday.
Last year, Cosby stood trial for the alleged 2004 assault of Andrea Constand, who worked at Temple University at the time.
Constand claims Cosby raped her. He claims the sexual encounter was consensual.
District Attorney Kevin Steele recently requested that 19 additional women be allowed to testify at the retrial, which is scheduled to begin in April, in order to prove a history of abuse.
The “Cosby Show” star has been accused of drugging and assaulting more than 50 women.
Earlier Monday, Cosby made a public appearance at Schnugg’s funeral, where he wasn’t expecting any laughs.
Schnugg, 74, started the theater company with his life partner, Tony-winning choreographer George Faison.
Women who have accused Bill Cosby of sexual assault
Cosby appeared sightless at the First Corinthian Church service in Harlem, according to one spectator. One source says that Cosby’s bodyguard is as much a seeing eye-dog for Cosby as he is a guard dog these days.
The funeral reunited Cosby with his former “The Cosby Show” colleague Phylicia Rashad.
Cosby, accompanied by a bodyguard, delivered a eulogy in which he said it was an “honor” to have known Schnugg, whom he affectionately referred to as “T. Cosby.” Oprah Winfrey and Rev. Al Sharpton also delivered a farewell message for Schnugg to an audience that included actresses Cicely Tyson and Leslie Uggams. Camille Cosby, Bill’s wife, was not in attendance.
Stephanie Mills performed a rousing rendition of “Home.”
Some friends of the deceased were told as early as Friday that Cosby might attend the service, but were asked to keep that information under wraps to keep protestors away. Some attendees appeared at a post funeral gathering at the Fire House before heading to the Sugar Bar on W. 72nd St.
With News Wire Services