Bill Cosby venues fall ‘like dominoes,’ including canceled show in NC
The list of canceled Bill Cosby shows has grown this month.
Four shows the comedian had scheduled for February have been canceled: February 8 in Boston, February 21 in Pittsburgh and February 22 in Charlotte, North Carolina.
No reasons were given for the Pittsburgh and Charlotte cancellations. Cosby said weather concerns led to the Boston cancellation, but the date has not been rescheduled.
A fourth show, scheduled for Thalia Mara Hall in Jackson, Mississippi, on Thursday, has been “postponed,” Shelia Byrd of the Jackson Mayor’s Office told CNN.
Gary Bongiovanni, editor-in-chief of Pollstar — the concert tour publication — says it’s been challenging to keep track.
“It seems like they’re falling like dominoes, one at a time,” he said. “The whole thing has gotten a lot shorter than it was.”
The concert cancellations are the latest complications for Cosby, who has been the subject of numerous sexual abuse allegations. The current tour, which began last fall, has felt reverberations from the allegations.
Twenty-four women have spoken with CNN, have asserted their allegations on camera or in published accounts, or have been the subject of responses from Cosby’s attorneys. CNN has not been able to independently confirm Cosby’s accusers’ allegations. While his attorneys denied the initial accusations, they haven’t responded to more recent allegations, including the two newest ones in February. No charges have been filed against Cosby.
Nevertheless, some venues have canceled Cosby’s shows, including halls in Houston; Las Vegas; Tucson, Arizona; Yakima, Washington; Tarrytown, New York; and Durant, Oklahoma. Reasons have been terse: The Las Vegas show was canceled “by mutual agreement,” a representative said at the time, and Tarrytown said it had canceled two shows in consultation with the shows’ promoter, according to a note from the venue.
“It’s a dance that the promoter does with the venue and with Cosby himself,” Bongiovanni said of the considerations that go into cancellation decisions. There might be contractual obligations, deposits and even — given the demonstrators who have shown up at some venues — concerns about public safety, he says.
For example, at Cosby’s London, Ontario, show, about 100 people came to protest the comedian. “Why would you want to pay to see a rapist?” demonstrator Milena LeDuc asked.
Cosby was also heckled at two Canadian shows.
However, though not selling out the halls, Cosby has received plenty of support as well. The London venue was about half-full, but the audience was said to be generally appreciative.
“I don’t believe he’s been charged with anything, and at least in this country, you’re innocent until proven guilty,” Bruce Maslen said, adding that the protesters and hecklers didn’t spoil a thing.
At his November show in Melbourne, Florida, Cosby received a standing ovation.
Bongiovanni observes that, despite the bad publicity, Cosby’s tour has been fairly successful. For the calendar year of 2014 — which includes several months before the accusations went viral — Pollstar’s numbers show that Cosby’s tour had $10.8 million in ticket sales over 101 shows. His ticket sales averaged about 2,200 per venue at about $57 each. In other words, not bad.
“His shows were selling OK. He’s making great money at that sale level,” Bongiovanni said.
Cosby’s website, billcosby.com, no longer lists tour stops, though a list can be found elsewhere on the Internet (including on Pollstar’s website). The next scheduled concert is February 27 at Lafayette, Louisiana’s, Heymann Performing Arts Center.