Bill Cosby makes first onstage appearance since 2015, jokes he 'used to be a comedian'

Bill Cosby took a break from his usual routine of staying out of the public eye and made a surprise appearance at a concert in Philadelphia on Monday.

The now-disgraced comedian announced the news on Facebook just prior to the ticketed event’s start time. The show was billed as a special performance to honor jazz musician Tony Williams. 

“Cosby will honor his fans with a historic performance with the Tony Williams Jazz Quartet and he will be performing a special comedy concert that will culminate the evening,” the Facebook post read.

The concert was open to the public, which was reportedly receptive to the comedian despite dozens of pending allegations of sexual assault.

The 80-year-old entertainer took the stage for about an hour Monday night at a Philadelphia jazz club. It was his first show since May 2015.

Before a friendly crowd, Cosby told stories, honored old friends and finished by leading the band in a set, first using his mouth to scat in place of a missing horn section and then taking a turn at the drums.

Handing the drumsticks off to the 11-year-old son of the bass player, he asked him if he knew who he was and then told him, "I used to be a comedian," Cosby deadpanned to laughs from the crowd.

Bill Cosby plays the drums at the LaRose Jazz Club in Philadelphia on Monday, Jan. 22, 2018. It was his first public performance since his last tour ended amid protests in May 2015. Cosby has denied allegations from about 60 women that he drugged and molested them over five decades. He faces an April retrial in the only case to lead to criminal charges. (AP Photo/Michael R. Sisak)

Bill Cosby played the drums and told stories at his first public show since 2015.  (AP)

As previously reported, Cosby has been out and about in Philadelphia. On Sunday he posted images of himself visiting local haunts. He was sporting Philadelphia Eagles attire to celebrate the team’s recent run for the NFL Championship that landed them a spot against the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl.

Reps for Cosby did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment.

Monday night's show marked the first time he'd taken the stage since 2015 when his previous tour was cut short as roughly 60 women came forward to accuse him of sexual assault. Cosby has since denied the allegations against him.

Since then, he's stayed out of the public eye amid a legal battle and several accusations from women who say he drugged and assaulted them over the course of five decades. In June, his trial over one of these alleged assaults was declared a mistrial after jurors failed to reach a verdict. Now, a new trial has been pushed back to April of 2018.

Jury selection for Bill Cosby's criminal sex assault retrial will start March 29 in the suburban Philadelphia county.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.