Have a Coke and a Smile
linocut print, ink on paper
This piece is a metaphor.
A Coca Cola ad campaign in the early ’80s featured Bill Cosby talking about how all the other colas are still comparing themselves to Coke, but as everyone knows, Coke is the real thing, so “Have a Coke and a Smile.” So much to unpack there—if you’re not Coke, you’re not worthy, just give up and stop trying, accept that Coke is all that matters and smile like it’s all ok! A serious metaphor for life on a number of levels. And, all fronted by Bill Cosby—do I need to elaborate further on that point of absurdity?
Some years later, Eddie Murphy divulged in one of his comedy gigs that Cosby had called him once and told him his comedy was inappropriate. Murphy reacted by calling fellow comedian Richard Pryor for advice. Pryor’s response was, “Tell Bill I said have a Coke and a smile and shut the fuck up.”