Young children auditioning
Consumers stand in line for a chance to win
Sentinel sits down with Cosby for a one-on-one conversation.
By Brandon I. BrooksÂ Sentinel Entertainment Editor
Legendary comedian and spokesman Bill Cosby is back in the news after partnering with his old dessert pals, Kraft Foods for a special campaign to help promote the Jell-O brand to a new generation of consumers.
After a 10-year hiatus, Cosby who is most known for his role as America's favorite dad on the heavily syndicated Cosby sitcom, will once again join forces with the famous pudding and gelatin brand, for the Hello JELL-O "Give it a Giggle" Tour.
This time around things will be different as Cosby will focus his attention behind the camera as executive producer of the brand's new multimillion-dollar marketing campaign, which features an updated Jell-O logo with a smiling face.
In addition to the brand's ads, Jell-O will also sponsor the comedian's new weekly web series, "OBKB", which will consist of 10-minute episodes on Cosby's own Ustream channel.Â On the show, Cosby interviews children in the style of the classic show "Kids Say the Darndest Things."
The Jell-O tour plans to crisscross the country in 22 cities this summer in search of the best giggles in America.
Last week, the tour made its first stop in Hollywood located in front of the famous Hollywood and Highland Center. Consumers of all ages auditioned in a state of the art mobile recording studio that was parked in front of the Kodak theatre.
If you are still interested in auditioning, consumers can also audition online by submitting their giggle at hellojelloaudition.com. Public voting this fall will pare down giggles and the winning giggler will record their giggle with Mr. Cosby. Visit facebook.com/JELL-O for tour details.
During the Hollywood and Highland auditions, Cosby addressed the general public and also sat down for press interviews as the Sentinel was privileged to catch up with the legendary Icon in his trailer for a one-on-one conversation.
Sentinel: You are participation with Jell-O on a national campaign, can you tell me a little bit about what's going on today Mr. Cosby?
Bill Cosby (BC): When I grew up with my mother and sometimes my father, we were lower economic people. Certain things came into the home pertaining to food.Â Mom always cooked.Â The desert about 90% of the time was some form of Jell-O.Â Sentinel: That must have been a pleasant memory?
BC: Well I mean that was the dessert, it wasnÃt a pleasant memory (laughs).Â Its dessert and my mother had these dishes; I don't know maybe they cost two cents apiece out a glass.Â Then you buy a can, Dell Monte mixed fruit cocktail.Â Sentinel: I am still hooked to those (fruit cocktails).
BC: I would switch and give my brother Russell the pieces of pear (laughs), because I didn't like the pear.Â But they stayed in the refrigerator many times you know.Â And then the puddings, these things were quite easy to make and not expensive.Â In those days, I don't think people knew anything about protein and balance or else they would have been eating more Jell-O.Â But to think about as a kid coming up lower economic, and then getting into show business, and then finding out that very thing that was so important that I loved to eat would now come to me and say, "we would like you to go on TV and we will pay you to say (Jell-O)".Â And then sit with kids. Hey man this is life!Â This is like catching the big fish.Â Sentinel: I love your conversation snippets with children over the years, what is one of the more interesting things that stands out that a child has said to you?
BC: I think that what's interesting and this is for your readers, many people have an idea that their child is the best looking kid in the world and should be in commercials.Â And so the people take pictures and they send them to agencies and casting agents that happen to be looking for kids.Â And the mistake that people make, and I think the paradigm for the way it should happen and the way you should talk to your children and the way you should bring them along would be, number one, make sure that your child knows that he or she is going to work.Â Raven Symone knew that and she started at age 4. It's important that your child know and understand that they may say, "let's do this again, let's do this again, let's do this again", maybe twenty times.Â That's a part of your job.Â And I do believe that children can understand this...Â But a commercial is tougher because it is the same thing, over and over.Â Your child is then prepared to do it that way because so many people will come over.Â The producer comes over and says, "can you say it this way". Â Then the director says, "I want you to say it that way".Â Then the product people come over and say, "can you say it that way" and then grown people don't realize that they keep making promises, "okay this is the last one".Â Sentinel: What advice would you give to people trying to break into the business?
BC: It doesn't make any difference.Â There are some people who don't need to study, if you are talking about acting.Â But I would suggest for everyone, if you feel you want to be in the business of Entertainment, than you can't do it from Topeka, Kansas.Â You can't do it from Philadelphia.Â You get up and you have to head to New York, Chicago or Hollywood, I think.Â Oddly, the passing of Lena Horne prior to and maybe at the same time was Josephine Baker.Â And when I look at the two, Lena Horne was totally messed over.Â I think both at the same time.Â Josephine Baker left the United States, went to France and made about three movies.Â And it says a lot of how the United States messed over a black woman. I'm just talking about how you bring a woman out, and then you put make-up on her and do her hair, and give her clothes on and you take pictures of her, and clearly she is the most beautiful woman in Hollywood, and you give her no movie that challenges the Academy Award people because the south doesn't want it.Â You take someone so beautiful and make her ugly.Â Josephine Baker went to France and made about three movies starring her with major French actors.Â So there you can see the difference.Â Â Sentinel: How do you feel about the current state of African American actors and actresses in Hollywood today? Has the media perception changed?
BC: When you say media, you include television. When you say media you include newspaper, radio and entertainment. So we are in the clubs.Â We got a lot of singers.Â We have a lot of comedians; we have a lot of musicians.Â So that part of it is pretty well taken care of, but it's almost the same, isn't it? I think what we need to do is like [Tyler] Perry. You need to get up, get your own script, get your own camera and start shooting.Â Even if it cost 25 cents, shoot it.Â Listen man, where most lower economic people live, there are places that if some people would just get together as filmmakers, rent theatres, get together and go to each other, the musicians and say I want you to score this, find the music and collaborate because thatÃs the way the business is done.Â And you know if you can have Lil Wayne and Lil Sheba on a network with videos, than you know you should be able to be some place with films.Â Â Sentinel: Focusing back on the current campaign, are you going to be participating with the tour across the country on all stops?
BC: No, this is it and then I am going to wait for the last twenty that they have picked and chosen.Â Â Sentinel: Are you going to have any hands in picking the winner?
BC: The last one, just the last one. I am picking the winner.Â Now let me give you a warning, I have already chosen.Â I have got a first place kid. They have to beat this kid.Â This kid, I met in New Orleans.Â He's part of our "OBKB" show.Â He was one of the school children who came up and I talked to them.Â Let me tell you something, I am 72 years old.Â My brother James Roosevelt Cosby died at age six.Â I was seven.Â This little boy when I saw him come up and sit down, I thought, this is James.Â Now wait a minute.Â I had never seen my brother James laugh.Â When I was playing with these kids and everybody's laughing, he sat in that chair and was slapping his hands down on the arms of his chair.Â Just the laugh and the way, I kept thinking, that is my brother James.Â And the laughter was so wonderful.Â So these people have a way to go.Â I mean it was a giggle.Â He was giggling!