Embattled comedian Bill Cosby made his stage comeback in Ontario, Canada on Wednesday night. While things went off without a hitch in the Centre in the Square theatre in Kitchener, scenes outside were rather more divisive.

Protestors had gathered outside the venue in sub-zero temperatures to shame ticket-holders as they made their way inside, on the grounds that the 77 year old entertainer is facing serious allegations of sexual assault from more than a dozen women.

Bill Cosby
Under-fire comedian and actor Bill Cosby made his return to the stage this week

Cosby, who was affectionately known as ‘America’s Dad’ until these allegations surfaced in November, has seen ten subsequent tour dates on his North American tour cancelled. However, the leg in the Canadian province is so far scheduled to go ahead as planned, with dates at Budweiser Gardens in London on Thursday and the Hamilton Place Theater in Hamilton on Friday.

The Kitchener show itself went smoothly and with no disruptions, according to reports, though the atmosphere was apparently a little muted. Cosby took to the stage wearing a sweater saying “Hello Friend”, with two giant posters of himself with Nelson Mandela adorning the backdrop. He said to the audience “first of all thank you” before beginning his routine with a handful of jokes about the freezing weather.

Outside, things were very different. A number of protestors temporarily blocked the entrance to the venue before being removed by security, while many more held placards and heckled ticket-holders as they arrived.

Meanwhile, Phylicia Rashad, who played Cosby’s character’s wife (Claire Huxtable) on ‘The Cosby Show’, came to his defence in an interview on Wednesday with ‘ABC World News Tonight’ conducted by Showbiz411 columnist Roger Friedman. She reportedly said: “he's a genius. He is generous, he's kind, he's inclusive. What you’re seeing is the destruction of a legacy. And I think it’s orchestrated.”

However, Rashad has since denied another comment attributed to her (“forget these women”). On Wednesday, three more women came forward with allegations. Cosby has thusfar avoided direct comment on the allegations, but has denied all of them.

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