As the comedian's star continued to ascend, Bill Cosby's third long-player, 1965's Why Is There Air?, became his first to crack the Top 20. Family-friendly humor -- along with increased exposure on the mid-'60s TV talk and variety show circuit -- gave Cosby an edge that many of his contemporaries weren't privy to. Captured live at the Flamingo Hotel in Las Vegas, this 40-minute outing is packed with more classic ripping yarns that draw upon Cosby as a child and young adult. The stories become all the more riveting and relatable in great part due to his off-the-cuff and conversational delivery, which ultimately draws the listener in. For practically anyone growing up stateside in the '50s, '60s, or early '70s, Cosby's reminiscences of "Kindergarten" will assuredly conjure memories of being fed a "snack" of an "old, dried-up, brown, nasty-tastin', gag-ya, stick-in-the-throat graham cracker" with milk "that has been sitting on the radiator for about 80 years" to wash it down. Indeed, as Cosby concludes, "there's nothin' in the world better for a bunch of five-year-old kids than good ol' lukewarm, curdling milk." The artist also defines "idiot mittens" and provides insights regarding children who suffer from their first bouts of separation anxiety. "Personal Hygiene" and "Shop" give his audience a peek into Cosby's junior high school antics, including the comedian's experiences of the eternal vagaries, not to mention the awkward nature, of gym class and the relatable despondency of "...anything I every tried to make always turned out to be an ashtray." Cosby addresses his current state of affairs on "Baby" -- which finds our hero discussing the joys and paranoia of expectant fatherhood -- and one of his all-time classic routines, describing his observations when "Driving in San Francisco." Continuing with tales of his pre-showbiz days , both "$75 Car" and "Hofstra" deal with college life. The former includes the great philosophical debate of "Why is there air?" -- the answer of course being, to inflate volleyballs and basketballs.
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AllMusic Review by Lindsay Planer