House of Cosbys
|House of Cosbys|
|Created by||Justin Roiland|
|Voices of||Jeff Davis
|Theme music composer||Nick Haas, Matias Drago, Amy Metcalf, Justin Roiland|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||1|
|No. of episodes||4|
|Original channel||Channel 101|
|Picture format||480i/576i (4:3 SDTV)|
|Original release||January 30, 2005 – June 26, 2005|
|Related shows||Rick and Morty
House of Cosbys is an American animated sitcom created by Justin Roiland for the film festival Channel 101. The series centers on Mitchell Reynolds (Jeff Davis), who builds a cloning machine to make duplicates of his favorite comedian, Bill Cosby. The show stars Davis, Roiland, and a rotating cast of performers, many of whom were participants at Channel 101. The series premiered January 30, 2005, and was the number one-rated program on the site for three months. Four episodes of the series were created, which debuted at Channel 101 screenings and were posted online thereafter. The series concluded on June 26, 2005 with an "unofficial" fifth installment.
The series garnered media attention when lawyers for Cosby sent Roiland and site administrator Dan Harmon a cease and desist letter in June 2005, which resulted in the series' ending. It is the best-known series to arise from Channel 101.
The series revolves around Mitchell Reynolds (Davis), a fan of comedian Bill Cosby who, using one of Cosby's hairs, spends a decade crafting a cloning machine to create his dream: a "house of Cosbys". Each duplicate contains random and mild attributes, such as curiosity and dancing. He then begins cloning several more Cosbys to help him around the house, much like in the plot of the 1996 film Multiplicity. However, the quality of the clones seems to deteriorate as the process is repeated, and he decides to stop using the machine; but when one of the clones subversively activates it, he discovers that every tenth Cosby he clones has super powers. At the suggestion of Data Analysis Cosby (the first super-powered Cosby) they decide to continue cloning Cosbys so that their super powers can be used to help the world.
The following is a list of the Cosby clones.
|Number||Name||Voiced by||Powers/Notable Traits|
|1||Entertainment Cosby||Rob Schrab||Was the first Cosby clone. Closest to the real Bill Cosby in personality and physical attributes.|
|2||House Keeping Cosby||Steve Agee||An excellent duster.|
|3||Moral Support Cosby||Rob Schrab||Treats Mitchell as his son.|
|4||Tattle Tale Cosby||Scott Chernoff||Tattles on others.|
|5||Dancing Cosby||Bennet Webber||Dances all the time.|
|6||Bath Tub Cosby||Scott Chernoff||This Cosby never leaves the bath tub.|
|7||Useless Cosby||Chester Tam||Does nothing but stand around, though he eventually speaks to Bath Tub Cosby.|
|8||Curiosity Cosby||Justin Roiland||This extremely curious clone likes to explore and find things, which causes trouble on multiple occasions.|
|9||Butt Naked Cosby||Abed Gheith||He plays with fire.|
|10||Data Analysis Cosby||Justin Roiland||Super-intelligence and data analysis.|
|20||Carpentry Cosby||none||The ability to create amazing feats of carpentry, as he built the additional barracks and probably most of the buildings in the training facility.|
|30||Weapons Cosby||none||His super power would appear to be the production and use of weapons, particularly guns.|
|40||Country Music Cosby||none||His super power is being a good country music player.|
|47||Mood Swing Cosby||Tim Heidecker||This Cosby has extreme emotional highs and lows. Presumed dead, as he accidentally hangs himself after being convinced not to commit suicide.|
|50||BC-D2||Abed Gheith||A parody of R2-D2, he is a small, apparently cyborg Cosby who follows Data Analysis Cosby around and communicates by a series of "blips" and "bloo"s.|
|60||Cosbyette||Stephanie Bilberry||Her most obvious super power is the fact that she is female (with a well proportioned body) but she has also exhibited psychic powers (sensing trouble in the compound).|
|61||Preacher Cosby||Justin Roiland||Provides spiritual comfort, for example talking one out of suicide.|
|70||Toothpaste Cosby||Akiva Schaffer||One of the members of Cosby Team Triosby, he has the power to turn into Toothpaste and seep through small gaps, or make things trip.|
|80||Frequency Cosby||Jorma Taccone||One of the members of Cosby Team Triosby, he can absorb TV and Radio waves and turn them into harmful electric blasts.|
|85||April Fool's Cosby||Bennett Webber||The desire to play April Fools jokes.|
|90||Humming Bird Cosby||Andy Samberg||One of the members of Cosby Team Triosby, he can fly and hover like a humming bird, and also create small explosives in his stomach which he can then defecate on land-based targets.|
|100||Evil Cosby||Abed Gheith||His super powers are unknown, although being "evil" would appear to be one of them.|
Justin Roiland first began working in television in the early 2000s, mainly producing reality television programs. He and his close friends, Sevan Najarian and Abed Gheith, were more interested in creating comedic short films, and would work on them at his apartment in spare time. In 2003, they began submitting their projects to Channel 101, a non-profit monthly short film festival in Los Angeles, in which participants submit a short film in the format of a pilot under five minutes in length. After submitting several films, he began working on House of Cosbys, which originated between he and Gheith doing poor impressions of Bill Cosby. While the original idea was similar in setup to the sitcom The Brady Bunch—consisting of multiple Cosbys together in a home—it eventually evolved into its final form with more development. Roiland deemed the concept "Multiplicity meets The Smurfs meets the original concept."
He wrote the first episode in an unusually short time, and began working on it alongside Najarian. Roiland would design and draw characters and scan them into a computer, where they could be further manipulated in Adobe Photoshop. From there, Najarian would digitally animate the drawings using Adobe After Effects. As the series progressed, he enlisted friends Myke Chilian and Steven Chunn to help with character design and background art, respectively. Roiland later likened it to "our own little animation studio." The first episode debuted at a screening on January 30, 2005, and received a wildly supportive reaction from the audience. Two more episodes were created over the following two months, where it remained the most popular show at each screening. By the fourth episode, Roiland fell ill with bronchitis, which resulted in what they felt was a subpar installment. Following this, a "perfect storm" of things helped lead to the ending of the series: Roiland had a close friend die in a car accident, which was "traumatizing" for him, he and his small team grew exhausted with making the series, and he and Channel 101's site administrator Dan Harmon received a cease and desist letter from Bill Cosby's attorney in June 2005:
we are lawyers for Mr. William H Cosby, Jr. We have just learned that you offer a deeply offensive animated film that you created, entitled House of Cosbys. [...] As you are certainly aware, none of you are licensed or in any way authorized to use Mr. Cosby's voice, name, or likeness. [...] Therefore, we demand that you immediately cease and desist from any use of our client's name, voice, and likeness, including the development and distribution of the House of Cosbys series.
Very truly yours, John P. Schmitt
Although he scripted a fifth installment of the series, a mockumentary about receiving the letter, he decided to end the series. Roiland attributed much of his reluctance to continue not on the prospect of potential legal action, but the passing of his friend. He gave the script to friends Chester Tam, and Chris Romano and Eric Falconer, who produced an "unofficial" fifth episode of House of Cosbys.
Despite no longer making the series, Cosby's lawyers insisted that the online distributors of the episodes—Channel101.com and Roiland's own site, ComicSacrifice.com—take them down. Harmon initially pulled the episodes from the site, but re-uploaded them shortly thereafter upon realizing their requests were unreasonable. He was forced to take them down when Cosby's lawyers went to the company that maintained the server for the site, CI Host. Harmon noted that the shorts were widely available on other video sites in a post on his site, commenting, "The actions of Cosby's legal team are somewhat laughable, somewhat sad and ultimately symbolic of a quantum shift in the business of entertainment." Blogger Andy Baio made the series available via his website, waxy.org, beginning in November 2005, though he was also sent a letter from Cosby's attorney the following March. "I'm sure he despised it, which is sort of sad because we're all fans," said Roiland at the time.
The series received media attention upon the cease and desist letter, which resulted in Roiland—then "an unemployed 23-year-old"—gaining a talent agent and being signed to the United Talent Agency.
Season 1 (2005)
|Title||Written by||Directed by||Original air date|
|1||1||"Episode 1"||Justin Roiland||Justin Roiland and Sevan Najarian||January 30, 2005|
|Mitchell creates a House of Cosbys.|
|2||2||"Episode 2"||Justin Roiland||Justin Roiland and Sevan Najarian||February 28, 2005|
|The next generation of super Cosbys complete training at the Cosby compound.|
|3||3||"Episode 3"||Justin Roiland||Justin Roiland and Sevan Najarian||March 28, 2005|
|The Cosby compound falls under attack by aliens.|
|4||4||"Episode 4"||Justin Roiland||Justin Roiland and Sevan Najarian||April 24, 2005|
|Cosby 10 and Mitchell watch alien television.|
"Unofficial" additional episodes
Before ending the series, Roiland enlisted friends Chester Tam, Chris Romano, and Eric Falconer to create an "unofficial" fifth episode of the series.
|Title||Written by||Directed by||Original air date|
|5||5||"Episode 5"||Justin Roiland||Chester Tam, Chris Romano, and Eric Falconer||June 26, 2005|
|Bill Cosby's lawyer performs fellatio on Bill Cosby.|
- Stuart McGurk (July 6, 2006). "The kings of dot-comedy". The Guardian. Retrieved July 29, 2015.
- Joel Murphy (February 25, 2014). "One on One with Rick and Morty’s Justin Roiland". HoboTrashcan. Retrieved July 29, 2015.
- Erik Adams (June 22, 2015). "The path to Rick And Morty leads through House Of Cosbys". The A.V. Club (The Onion). Retrieved July 29, 2015.
- Daniel Rubin (March 7, 2006). "Coz For Action". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved July 29, 2015.
- Joanna L. Ossinger (February 15, 2006). "Spoof Web sites are booming, but lawyers aren't laughing". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved July 29, 2015.
- Dan Harmon (June 13, 2006). "My Statement to the Wall Street Journal Re: House of Cosbys". Channel101.com. Retrieved July 29, 2015.
- Lia Miller (March 6, 2006). "Cosby's Lawyers See No Flattery in an Imitation". The New York Times. Retrieved July 29, 2015.
- Episode list at Channel 101.
- Waxy.org's refusal to take down House of Cosbys, claiming fair use, despite a Cease and Desist Letter.