If I write a piece and it has to do with my walking from the living room to the kitchen and some funny things happen, the same funny things will happen every time. Those are my chords. On the way, I may do some different things, but I’m not forgetting where the chords are and I always hit them. I may change things, but the song is the same. The improvisation is always within that, and the timing is always different. You can’t sit there and watch Bill Cosby — I don’t care how many times you’ve seen the piece, unless it’s “Noah” or “The Dentist” — and beat me to the punch line. Because I’m not going there yet. It may take me two minutes, three minutes or 15 minutes in that piece to get to the kitchen. But the song is the same.

Bill Cosby, answering How did jazz influence your style as a comedian?

People usually call it pretentious to compare a non-musical process to music. Especially so with jazz. (“It’s the notes you don’t play” is an overused, hacky punchline.) But man, I compare my process to music all the time. Editing, especially, has to be musical in order to be great. So it gives me chills to hear the Cos say something like this.

Dad is great. He give us the chocolate cake.

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