Earlier this week some sleuthing from the folks at Crushable unearthed a clip from Season 3 of 30 Rock that appeared to take a dig at Bill Cosby over the rape allegations that are now piling up against him. Some of the coverage of the clip was couched as “Did they know?” or “Was it on purpose?,” which seemed a little odd because Tina Fey and the staff of 30 Rock are entirely too bright and well-informed for anyone to think they just, like, accidentally stumbled into a hot button issue like that.
Which brings us conveniently to this: Decider dug up an episode of Saturday Night Live from 2005 that features Tina Fey and Amy Poehler making Cosby jokes on Weekend Update after an accuser came forward on the Today show. Here’s Decider’s blockquote of the meat of the bit:
Tina Fey: [doing a Bill Cosby impression] No, Kenan is not coming out because of the Fat Albert, and the money, and the sequels!
Amy Poehler: [also doing a Bill Cosby impression] Of course he can’t talk about the boobies, and the groping, and the pudding pops!
Tina Fey: Because it would upset Mr. Cosby, and his wife, Camiiillle!
[Kenan enters and stands behind Tina and Amy]
Kenan Thompson: Wow, thanks for that. Great job, you guys. I didn’t say any of that, because Kenan Thompson loves to work, Okay? Peace.
So, yeah. It’s safe to say people knew. That answers that question. But it raises another one: If two of the country’s most notable female comedians were discussing it 10 years ago on network television on one of the country’s most notable comedy shows, why did it take a shaky cell phone video of a 2014 standup show in Philly for it to really capture the public’s attention? I’m sure social media is a big part of it, but still, that’s strange.