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November 12, 2004

A Comedy Legend Wows ULM

A mad dash is the only way to describe it. When the doors to Fant-Ewing Coliseum at the University of Louisiana at Monroe opened, people were running to grab the best seats possible. Fans were throwing jackets and purses to save seats. Some people even had entire rows saved for their families.

So what caused this chaos? A rare chance to see a performance by comedy legend Bill Cosby had northeast Louisiana in an uproar.

On Tuesday, Nov. 9, Fant-Ewing Coliseum was packed. Over 5,000 fans of all ages came to ULM to be entertained by Cosby.

ULM had not hosted an event this big in years. The chance to invite Cosby to the university came only recently when students voted in an increase in their activity fee last spring. The increase now allows the Campus Activities Board (CAB) at ULM to bring to the stage better known acts.

The student organization, CAB, puts on a big show each fall and spring. They usually bring in a music act, but with Cosby, the group had a chance to appeal to a larger audience.

"We really wanted not only the university community to enjoy the fall show, we wanted to include the entire community and I think we accomplished that with Bill Cosby," Duke Johnson, Director of Student Life and Leadership at ULM, said.

He continued, "This was a once in a lifetime show. Dr. Cosby, in my lifetime, will probably not come back to ULM. It's also a once in a lifetime opportunity for our students to come at $15 a ticket."

Several ULM student athletes had the chance to meet Cosby before the show, at the comedian's request, along with President James Cofer and Athletic Director Bobby Staub.

"He had a good time with them," said President Cofer, "He was laid back, but on!"

Several area designers worked behind the scenes to transform the women's locker room in the coliseum into a private dressing room for Cosby. Backstage guests reported that Cosby was impressed by their work.

When show time came, Cosby casually walked on stage at 7 p.m. wearing ULM football sweats, and the crowd went wild. He received a standing ovation.

Cosby's routine included hilarious bits about Adam and Eve, old men and dentists. He had fans laughing from the moment he appeared to the moment he left. He presented the crowd with the good, clean humor he's famous for.

Cosby even had the audience interacting with him. Fans were heard yelling catch phrases throughout the show.

The Cosby performance was co-sponsored by the James E. Cofer, Sr. Lyceum Series, a program in which ULM will bring more speakers of national prominence to Monroe.

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