Cos & Me

Sometime this month, an episode of Bill Cosby’s new quiz show, “You Bet Your Life,” (weekdays on Channel 4 at 6:30 p.m.) will feature three contestants from Dallas, one of whom is me. I was probably chosen because for more than a year I’ve been one of Jay Leno’s joke writers and I’m writing a book. Jay Leno’s Leftovers, with material not sold. Needless to say, I was eager to trade quips with the Cos.

On camera before the quiz began, Cosby engaged my assigned partner, Jo Ann Falletta, a conductor of symphony orchestras, in robust conversation, ending with “As a kid I loved pulling a sled and I was the best.. .over hills and all kinds of obstacles…” I butted in: “Yeah, and without snow yet.” That got a big grin-and Cosby’s attention!-so off we went. I told him my catfish farming story: “I got a good buy on 100,000 babies from Florida without knowing their parents were the walking kind from South America. One day the ungrateful beasts climbed out and walked off.. .last seen heading south on the interstate-but now I’m raising emus, an ostrich-like flightless bird.. .at least I hope they’re flightless.”

Then it was show time, The answer to the first of our three questions was “Jane Pittman,” Ernest Gaines’ fictional slave/civil rights leader. I stammered, “Jane Stillman, ah, Hillman, Tillman, Ah-,” everything but “Pittman.” That cost us $550.I told Cosby I had gotten it half right, so how ’bout half the money? The director gave me a thumbs down, and I said that should be only half a thumb. The next two we got right, ending up with $400 each. That’s greatJ3uuviinheycut out all my jokes?

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