TODAY   |  November 22, 2013

Bill Cosby ‘always believed in listening to myself’

Al Roker sits down with the legendary comedian to talk about his career before performing standup together.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> now to find out more about your night with a guy i know you always admired.

>> i looked up to bill cosby since i was a young kid. ground breaking actor, comedian, best selling author, educator, and i spent time with mr. cosby recently and even got an opportunity to open up for him.

>> mr. roker is going to entertain you.

>> reporter: a tough position, opening up for a legend who has been entertaining us for more than 50 years. a natural story teller , he developed routines everyone in the family could listen to. like the dentist.

>> now, the dentist pulls out a needle.

>> every comedian has a routine about the dentist.

>> then they want to talk to you. do you ever do any fishing?

>> i just wanted to be different.

>> mush mouth is what took the dentist out of the world. mush mouth was the voice that i copied from a trumpet player by the name of johnny coles . he was the first man i ever heard. so i laughed, we all laughed.

>> were there nights when you just heard crickets?

>> i never was a cricket hear rer and i had this weird belief if they weren't laughing there was something i was doing wrong. i always believed in listening to myself and listening to the audience and fixing it.

>> hey, hey, hey, it's fat albert .

>> reporter: and there were lessons to be learned as well.

>> if you're not careful you may learn something before it's done.

>> reporter: i'm a sophomore in high school , fat albert was --

>> tell me your pain.

>> well it was a little traumatic going into school and everybody going hey, hey, hey.

>> and they picked on you.

>> well, you know, they had fun with me.

>> and that's what you saw. and that's what you felt. but that's not who fat albert is. he was the leader. he was the captain of the team and the gang and he was the brightest of them all.

>> albert, yeah, that's cool.

>> reporter: i was given a special assignment by dr. cosby who still performs stand up. he wanted me to open for him at treasure island in vegas, baby.

>> you're just going to go out there and you're going to forget about who is following you.

>> so forget about the fact that bill cosby is following me.

>> what you want is he's following you and can he do it? can bill cosby follow al, the torch?

>> i landed here this morning and i got in the car and on the car thermometer it said 119. but people said but it's a dry heat . it's a dry heat . well, so is an oven.

>> reporter: i enjoyed my time up on stage but i was just the warm up to the icon.

>> thank you so much, ladies and gentlemen . now comes the real comedy.

>> ladies and gentlemen , torch roker. thank you al.

>> thank you, sir.

>> good to see you.

>> one of my all time favorite moments.

>> way to go.

>> thank you, thank you.

>> look sod comfortable up there.

>> i only had to do a couple of minutes but mr. cosby still going strong . first comedy special in 30 years far from finished airs on comedy central tomorrow night. if you'd like to catch my entire stand up act you can go to

>> when he walked up you said not done yet bill.

>> sorry.

>> a few more jokes here.

>> good stuff, al.

>> up next, science just uncovered the ideal way to cook the ultimate grilled cheese sandwich. we'll talk about that. but first, this is "today" on nbc.

>>> we have an interesting new look at the ultimate comfort