In July 2012, a podcast host named Corey tweeted to Bill Cosby, asking the not-yet-disgraced sitcom star whether he had any Jello Pudding Pops. More than a year later, Cosby responded. “Nope, the grandchildren ate them all,” he wrote, punctuating it with #OBKB, the hashtag for his Jell-O sponsored web series.
Fast-forward to this week, when Cosby’s grandkids won’t take his pudding stash, but one of his fellow inmates might. On Tuesday, he was sentenced to three to ten years in prison for drugging and sexually assaulting Andrea Constand. He will serve his sentence at Pennsylvania State Correctional Institute (SCI) Phoenix, and he was welcomed with a pale blue prison uniform, a fresh mugshot, and, ironically for the former Jell-O spokesman, the promise of lunchtime Jell-O.
According to CNN, Cosby’s first meal after becoming Inmate No. NN7687 was baked meatballs and rice, green beans, and mashed potatoes and gravy. For lunch on Thursday, he will get a half-cup of Jell-O. The menu on Saturday includes chocolate pudding—although the prison didn’t specify whether that was Jell-O branded too.
“The Department of Corrections has had high-profile inmates before, and I'm sure we'll have them again, so it's not that much out of the ordinary,” Amy Worden, the press secretary for the state Department of Corrections, told CNN. “He'll be treated like other inmates.” (Worden told PennLive that the state prison system’s ‘high-profile’ inmates have included rapper Meek Mill and former assistant Penn State football-coach-turned-convicted-child-molester Jerry Sandusky.)
Being treated like everyone else means that he’ll get his Jell-O like everyone else. But, of course, the difference between Cosby and the other 2,630-plus inmates is that none of them were pitchmen for the brand they’re all eating with plastic spoons. Cosby started working with Jell-O in 1974, and appeared in commercials for its pudding and pudding-adjacent products until 1999. After more than 25 years together, Cosby and Jell-O were almost inseparable: he even performed for the Utah state legislature on the day that they voted in favor of making Jell-O the state’s official snack food.
“[I]t's just a matter of doing a happy moment, latching on to a key phrase like 'Yummy for the tummy,' 'Thank you, mother dear,' 'Ummm, Jell-O pudding.'” Cosby told Ad Age in 1976. “Those catchphrases happen to be very important when you're dealing with Jell-O pudding.”
Jell-O’s parent company Kraft Foods brought him back in 2010, and he served as executive producer for its “Hello Jell-O” campaign; Cosby also appeared as part of a nationwide 22-city tour to “find the country’s best giggle,” a five-word phrase that totally gives us the creeps.
In 2011, Cosby became the first-ever recipient of the American Advertising Federation’s (AAF) President’s Award for his lifetime contributions to advertising. (In addition to serving as a pitchman for Jell-O, he also appeared in ads for Kodak, Del Monte, Ford and Coca-Cola, among others).
In May, the AAF stripped him of that award, and Cosby also became the first person to ever get kicked out of the organization’s Hall of Fame.