(Randy Miramontez/ Shutterstock)

Bill Cosby wasn’t always all about pudding pops, inscrutable knitwear and “Kids Say the Darndest Things.” Like just about every other comedian who did good time on the stand-up circuit, Cosby tested out some material in his early career that wouldn’t quite be suitable for “The Cosby Show” studio audience, or for all you kids at home.

That’s all part of the business. But another alleged routine that’s recently landed Cosby in a heap of trouble, at the very least in terms of his family-friendly (or anyone-friendly, for that matter) image, is what 14 women accuse him of doing over the course of several decades: sexual assault. In some cases, such as Barbara Bowman’s and Joan Tarshis‘, Cosby allegedly added drugs to their drinks and then raped them when they were chemically incapacitated.

Also read: The Internet Won’t Let Bill Cosby Ignore Rape Allegations

Some of their stories have been public since at least the Cliff Huxtable era, and for her part, Bowman was baffled as to why it took African-American comic Hannibal Buress, who is a man, riffing on the controversial sides of Cosby’s reputation in a stand-up set in Philadelphia last month to bring the assault allegations to some tipping point at which they might be taken more seriously.

Given this backdrop, this particular number from Cosby’s 1969 comedy album “It’s True! It’s True!” about how just about every straight man from age 13 until marriage, as Cosby delimits it, hankers to find the magic aphrodisiac “Spanish Fly” to drop into women’s drinks, might be material best left behind with those perplexing sweaters. Comedy has always been about pushing the limits of politeness and goofing on social norms, so joking about slipping an unwitting woman — or, say, five girls at a party, as Cosby cracks on the track, “If I had a whole jug of Spanish Fly, I’d light that corner up over there!” — a mickey does not constitute a confession.

However, it does reinforce certain “boys will be boys” beliefs, as The Village Voice’s Alan Scherstuhl pointed out Monday. It also contributes to the troubled and troubling body of ideas and behaviors that make up “rape culture” — a term that often provokes textbook examples of the phenomena it seeks to describe simply by virtue of its invocation.

For his part, the 77-year-old entertainer has remained silent since Buress’ takedown stirred up the rape claims, although Cosby’s lawyer has commented briefly.

Here’s Cosby’s “Spanish Fly” bit — yet another example of how history plays out differently on the Internet:

–Posted by Kasia Anderson

Your support matters…

Independent journalism is under threat and overshadowed by heavily funded mainstream media.

You can help level the playing field. Become a member.

Your tax-deductible contribution keeps us digging beneath the headlines to give you thought-provoking, investigative reporting and analysis that unearths what's really happening- without compromise.

Give today to support our courageous, independent journalists.