Bill Cosby made a questionable return to the stage Monday night, performing a short set to a crowd of about 50 people in Philadelphia, during which he scat-sang, played the drums, and avoided any mention of his forthcoming sexual assault retrial.
During a brief set at the LaRose Jazz Club, Cosby told stories, made some lighthearted jokes and attempted to scare up the amount of charm required to help people forget about the multiple allegations of sexual abuse lodged against him by over 57 women since 2015.
Press were invited to the performance just two hours prior to the show’s start—a carefully calculated attempt to curry favor that could very easily fall flat on its face. Cosby’s retrial is set to start in April, NPR reports, on the same three charges that a jury was unable to reach a consensus on after an astonishing 52 hour deliberation.
In what could be viewed as a lightweight comeback tour—a chance to grab any scraps of goodwill available—Cosby has started to show his face in public more and more. In January, he sat down with some friends for a dinner in Philadelphia, invited the media to watch, and joked to a female reporter, “Please don’t put me on #MeToo” after shaking her hand. On Sunday, after the Philadelphia Eagles clinched a spot to face the dreaded New England Patriots in the Super Bowl, photos of Cosby in an Eagles sweatshirt and hat visiting a bakery appeared on his Facebook page. Though he’s not publicly acknowledging the new climate of accountability, he’s still making the effort to counter-program against it. It’s hard to tell whether or not it will work.