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Bill Cosby explains Fat Albert's 'Hey, Hey, Hey'

Popular cartoon catchphrase inspired by legendary Motown group

By Mekeisha Madden Toby Jun 14, 2013 2:33PM

'Fat Alert' '/' CBS


Saturday mornings from 1972-85 were more fun because of a rotund, good-natured guy named Fat Albert and his ragtag gang of pals.


In case you weren't around to appreciate it, the cartoon was called "Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids" and it was based on the childhood friends of comedic mastermind Bill Cosby, who created and hosted the show. In time for Shout! Factory's June 25 box set release, Cosby, 75, did a special feature interview where he breaks down Fat Albert as the program's central figure. Fat Albert eventually became a hero for countless child viewers, including Cosby's late son, Ennis, he said.


Bing: More on 'Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids' | Bill Cosby


Cosby, who provided the voice for Fat Albert, said he wanted the character to exhibit a range of emotional inflections not heard on most animated offerings of that era. He also wanted the red-sweater wearing star to have a catchphrase viewers would identify with and enjoy. And "Hey, Hey, Hey" was born.


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"'Hey, Hey, Hey' is a signal," Cosby said. "It's a charge that he's coming. And that came from his love for The Temptations. (In) some of their songs, the background singers (would sing) 'hey, hey, hey,' that kind of thing. And so whenever Fat Albert would say that, it would come from his group, The Temps. I don't know if Fat Albert wanted to be a background singer or be one of The Temps." 


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Cosby also said he wanted to challenge the way overweight people were perceived. "In my time, fat people were stereotyped as clumsy, to laugh at, not particularly intelligent and (having) low self-esteem," Cosby said. "I wanted to change that and make Fat Albert the large fellow that everybody started liking because he was the biggest guy in the football game ... to take a person like that and make him an intelligent, compassionate and wise leader."


"Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids: The Complete Series" ($119.99, Shout! Factory) hits store shelves Tuesday, June 25.     

Jun 16, 2013 8:39AM
'The Little Green Book', of Islamic ritual and practice...Every kuffar should read it for 'insights'...
Jun 16, 2013 8:27AM
There are no 'misunderstood muslims'...
Jun 15, 2013 2:15PM
First I remember Fat Albert was in a go kart race with Cos and some of the other kids.  Cosby described the race with his own vocal sound effects - and here comes Fat Albert.  Hey, hey hey! followed by a couple of bars of the William Tell Overture.   I wouldn't attempt to describe it further - it's one of those things you have to hear for yourself.  Bill Cosby, master of comedy.
Jun 15, 2013 1:57PM
I have akways thought Mr. Cosby was a great person until I read he said " We should all be Muslims"--I lost all respect for him
Jun 15, 2013 1:54PM
Loved the man on vinyl. The story about the Frankenstein monster statue prank with Fat Albert, and yeah Noah. "How long can you drink water? Ha Ha Ha Ha..."
Jun 15, 2013 1:29PM

the Coz featured Fat Albert in one of his stand-up routines in the mid 60's. Fat Albert can be found on one of the several alblums produced during that time. To quote Bill Cosby: "Fat Albert weighed two thousand pounds and he loved to hear us call his name."


Jun 15, 2013 1:24PM

I think this is a nice explanation from the man who, for me and many others, is an all time Master of Comedy, but I recall that Fat Albert and his "Hey, Hey, Hey..." dates back to at least the late sixties, when on a vinyl album I wore out, (Dr.) Bill Cosby told the story of playing "Buck-Buck", and how when his team of skinny small kids played the "big kids", Fat Albert was their secret weapon:


"Come on out ... Fat Albert"

"Hey, hey, hey!  I Looooove to Play Buck-Buck!"

(sounds of heavy footsteps, parents taking their children out of the street)

"Hey, hey, hey..."


Fun album.  Think it may have also included bits about "the Chicken Heart that Ate New York City", and "little tiny hairs growing out all over my face ... I always use a razor, on my face, to shave with"


Great show!!  My favorite scene involved one of their friends, who had violated his punishment.  His sister showed up, and said, "Hey, you ain't s'posed to be outside!  You is s'posed to be grounded!  If Pop finds out, you in biiiig trouble!"  He answered, "Well, Pop ain't here!"  But actually, he was!  A huge, black hulk was right there, and gave him The Look.  The kid had the fear of God in him! 


The only downside was that Filmation Studios "animated" this show...and quite poorly.  It was mostly a bunch of talking heads sliding in and out of the picture, and a lot of long-range "silhouette" shots.  (They would do the same cheesy production for the "Star Trek cartoon in 1973.)  Thankfully, TV animation has improved a lot since then. 

Jun 15, 2013 12:58PM
Jun 15, 2013 12:58PM
Mr Cosby is a legend and very intelligent.  People may disagree with his philosophy but you have to respect his right to it.  I loved his shows and his recordings.  I am proud of him for taking a stand for what he believes.  It helps I agree with most of what he says.  No person is perfect and no one will agree with everything someone says.  Still, he has made a tremendous contribution to our lives and should be appreciated such.
Jun 15, 2013 12:51PM
I use to love Cosby, heard one of his records when I was about 10 years old and man he was something else...Then I found out what a racist he is at the end of the Cosby show run,  more recently his remarks about Muslims, And that was the end of it for me... 
Jun 15, 2013 12:40PM
Cosby needs to grow old peaceful and quiet...he brings nothing to the table!
Jun 15, 2013 12:38PM
This is important s-it. Glad the msm is keping abreast of it.
Jun 15, 2013 12:22PM
he used that same"catch-phrase" on his stand-up comedy albums 10 yrs before the cartoon came the same context though, telling stories about growing up
Jun 15, 2013 12:18PM
"...make him an intelligent, compassionate, and wise leader."  You did!  Funny also
Jun 15, 2013 12:12PM
That was one of favorite shows growing up( next to theJackson 5, schoolhouse Rock). I also rermember that show having a positive message at the end of each show, 
Jun 15, 2013 12:02PM
I had the privilege of meeting Mr. Cosby when the Cosby Show was in production.  He had taken an interest in my brother who worked for the show. My brother married another staff member and has done well.  Mr. Cosby is quite a gentleman in person.  Fat Albert did not come on until I was grown  I didn't miss an episode, neither did my children.  I think the funniest thing Bill Cosby did was his version of the Noah story.  It still makes me laugh!  I do not know what Mr. Cosby said about emulating Muslims, but I believe that some parents do not demand the respect that our parents demanded from us. I think this trend is detrimental to society. You do not need Islam to produce children that respect elders and proper authority.  Prior generations have fought and won representation so that we can redress grievances when government is unjust.  Let us demand proper representation and teach our children the same, but always to be respectful.  I wish Mr. Cosby and his family long and healthy lives!
Jun 15, 2013 11:58AM

I grew up watching Fat Albert and the Cosby kid's. There was always a life lesson in there. Say what you want, but todays cartoons lack that and border on the silly to just ridicules. Bill Cosby out did himself in that cartoon.


Jun 15, 2013 11:46AM

I loved "Fat Albert" for the same reason I loved "What's Happening" and "Good Times." It is not that they were black or white or purple, it was that they were poor and I could associate with that more than anything else.

Thank you so much Mr. Cosby

Jun 15, 2013 11:45AM

hey hey hey what you got to say .....cos is cool then and now ...he tells it like it is

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