MELBOURNE, Fla. — For one night on a Florida stage, the weeks of headlines about sexual assaults disappeared and Bill Cosby regained the revered status he long enjoyed.

Friday’s show might have seemed destined for disaster for the comedian, who is enveloped in growing accusations of rape and sexual assault.

What he got, though, was an adoring audience that laughed so hard they slapped their knees, shouted love at the stage and rose to their feet as he came and went.

Just one protester stood outside, holding a sign that read, “Rape is no joke.”