Actor Carl Payne’s Last Convo With Bill Cosby “Wasn’t A Good One,” And He Explained Why

Posted On : March 16, 2023
Carl Payne; Bill Cosby

Carl Payne -best known as “Cole” on Martin and as “Cockroach” on The Cosby Show– dropped a few interesting unknown facts about what went down behind the scenes between himself, Bill Cosby, and Malcolm Jamal Warner.

Carl Was Almost “Theo”?!!
In an interview with Comedy Hype, Carl revealed he was THIS close to jackin’ the “Theo” role from Malcolm Jamal Warner. During the final round of auditions, several known actors were in the building. He says Sheryl Lee Ralph auditioned for the “Claire Huxtable” role and Jaleel White (“Urkel” from Family Matters) almost became “Rudy” (which was originally scripted for a boy). Carl says that he, Malcolm, and a dude with a Jheri curl named, ‘Sugar,’ were the final three up for the role of the “Huxtable’s” son, “Theo.”

His Severe Pain After Losing “Theo” Role To Malcolm…

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Carl Payne: “I’ll never forget that day…when one of [Cosby’s] assistants came out to tell everybody who got the role. I was sitting next to Malcolm…and I just knew I had did a great job and they was gon’ say ‘You’ (he points to himself). And they looked at me and pointed at him. … It was like I got punched in the stomach by Floyd Mayweather…”

What Bill Cosby Did Next Caught Carl Payne By Surprise

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Cosby Explained To Carl Payne Why He Was Rejected…
As Carl Payne sat in the waiting area depressed, Cosby sent his assistant back in to take him to his office. Carl was surprised that Cosby wanted to explain why he’d rejected him for the “Theo” role:

“He [Cosby] was like, ‘Listen…you don’t always get a role because of your talent. … ‘I’m putting my family together [The Cosby TV family], so it’s a lot of different factors you know. You could be too dark skinned, you could be too light skinned, you could be [too] short, you could be [too] tall. … I just want you to know that it had nothing to do with your talent why you didn’t get this role. And I don’t want you to be swayed, or disappointed by that because you’re very talented. But I do want you to understand the business aspect of this.'”

Why Cosby’s Encouragement Didn’t Last Long…

“It made a difference that he took the time to tell me that. … So I took that and it lasted the plane ride,” Carl jokingly concluded. “Over the next year…I’m watching ‘The Cosby Show’ blow up and I’m sitting in the projects and I’m like *makes a frustrated facial expression.*”

After More Rejections He Finally Landed “Cockroach” Role…

“They kept having auditions for different roles, like ‘the boyfriend,’ or whatever…and I would go in each time. … For the last audition, I was just like, ‘Yo if they say ‘no’ again, I’m never coming in auditioning for this show again. … Don’t call me back, I can’t take it.’ And it just so happened to work out.”

NOW See What Payne Said About His Brutal Last Convo With Cosby

His Last Convo With Cosby “Wasn’t A Good One”

“It wasn’t a good one,” Carl reluctantly admitted. “Listen, I’mma just tell you like this…the man was many things, know what I’m sayin’? As most geniuses and comedians are, you know…they battle a lot of demons and things like that.

I never saw any of those things [sex assault allegations] that they’ve talked about. So let’s just clear that up right now. I also don’t think that you can take away this man’s legacy in terms of what he did in the Black community and just in general for a generation. You can’t take it away. Whether he’s guilty or not? That’s between him and God, I don’t know.

But he wasn’t necessarily a nice man at times. Wasn’t a nice man, know what I mean?

Nonetheless he turned it into a positive. “I learned a lot,” Carl said of his bitter conflict with Bill Cosby. “And the thing about me is…I take everything and always turn it into something positive.” Well said.