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What I Did on the Night I Was Supposed to See Bill Cosby's Show

01/08/2015 12:22 EST | Updated 03/10/2015 05:59 EDT
ASSOCIATED PRESS
In this photo taken Nov. 6, 2014, entertainer Bill Cosby pauses during a news conference about the upcoming exhibit, Conversations: African and African-American Artworks in Dialogue, at the Smithsonian's National Museum of African Art in Washington. The Smithsonian Institution is mounting a major showcase of African-American art and African art together in a new exhibit featuring the extensive art collection of Bill and Camille Cosby. More than 60 rarely seen African-American artworks from the Cosby collection will join 100 pieces of African art at the National Museum of African Art. The exhibit “Conversations: African and African American Artworks in Dialogue,” opens Sunday and will be on view through early 2016. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

I love a live performance. I enjoy a wide range of musical concerts, theatre productions and a good night of laughs at a stand-up comedy show. Having lived in Kitchener-Waterloo all my life, many of the performances that I have enjoyed have taken place at Centre in the Square in Kitchener, Ontario. The Centre is a lively spot offering performances ranging from the KW Symphony to a recent concert by Alice Cooper. That's what is great about the Centre in the Square -- they offer something for everyone.

My husband and I have had season tickets to the comedy series at the Centre in the Square for a few years now. It makes for a nice easy date night and once the tickets are bought there's no cancelling date night. The Cosby show wasn't part of that series but it sounded like it would make a fun night out for us -- who doesn't love Bill Cosby? So we bought a pair of tickets back in August. Money well spent on a good night out with my hubby.

Well, in November I started hearing some rumblings that Bill Cosby might just not be the guy we grew up loving and watching on TV. Over the holidays I hibernated at home a few days and spent some time on Facebook and Twitter. Those rumblings I had heard back in November had now become a roar. There has been a huge amount of chatter online about Cosby and also whether the show should be cancelled or not. There were strong voices saying he's guilty and just as many saying that it couldn't be true. But there was another side argument going on about the people who were going to attend the show.

I spent some time thinking about why I bought the tickets to begin with. I remember looking at the lineup of entertainment offered with my husband and thought, "Bill Cosby -- that will be fun." In hindsight, I didn't actually know anything about Bill Cosby. I honestly don't even know what to expect from one of his live performances. My only impressions of him are of the Cosby Show and pudding commercials. I don't think I'm alone in confusing his television character and image with who he really is -- a performer.

The way I see it, I've bought my ticket, so I've already supported Bill Cosby whether I go or not. Ultimately, I feel like it's not for me to judge whether he harmed these women or not. But when I head out for my date night I'm looking to share a few laughs with my husband and relax and enjoy a show. I don't feel I can sit and watch Bill Cosby on stage and not think about what those 29 women have said. That's not the fun night out I am looking for. I saw that there was an alternate event being held the same night as a fundraiser in support of sexual assault survivors. It felt like an event that I could attend, have a good time and feel good about. I approached my husband to find out his thoughts on the night and he had already come to the same conclusion as me.

I contacted Centre in the Square through Twitter to inquire whether I could return/exchange my tickets. I expected the answer would be "no refunds," but I also wanted the Centre in the Square to know that I no longer had the desire to come see Bill Cosby perform. My seat wouldn't be empty because something came up; my seat would be empty by choice.

The Centre is legally obligated to allow the show to go on and I do understand and respect their position. I have no intention of refusing to never attend another show there, as others online have suggested. Although, it might make me leery about buying a ticket so far in advance again, I hope to get back to the Centre in the Square for another date night soon.

In the meantime I'll pass on Cosby.

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