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During his first show since November, an embattled Bill Cosby received two very different reactions inside and outside the venue that hosted him. The AP reports that Canadian fans at Kitchener’s Centre in the Square gave the comedian a standing ovation, while protesters outside shamed Cosby and his patrons. The performance was the first of three planned for venues in Ontario, Canada, and the theater was reportedly two-thirds full.
According to the National Post, demonstrators tried to block the entrance to the show beforehand, to no avail. While onstage, Cosby talked about his marriage, childhood, and time in the U.S. military. His performance — at least inside the venue — went on without a hitch.
In below-freezing temperature outside, however, more than a dozen protesters carried signs that read, “rape is no joke”; some also yelled, “You support rape!” and “Shame on you!” at fans. Judd Apatow publicly lambasted Canadian venues and ticket-holders on Twitter for going through with the performances a little more than a week ago. Apatow’s ire — along with others’ — is rooted in the more than two dozen sex-assault allegations Cosby has accrued over the last few months.
Despite having a growing list of proponents and opponents ( including a growing defamation suit), Cosby has not been charged with anything criminal as a result of the accusations. His career and legacy have taken a toll, though, with numerous TV deals and Stateside appearances seeing the chopping block. The 77-year-old comedian is slated for similar performances at the Budweiser Gardens in London, Ontario, on Thursday, and at the Hamilton Place Theatre in Hamilton, Ontario, the next night. Cosby has vowed to finish the brief tour.