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W. Kamau Bell            

Stand-Up Comedian & TV Host; Best Known for "United Shades of America"

Socio-political comedian W. Kamau Bell has emerged as the post-modern voice of comedy. Named an Ambassador of Racial Justice by the ACLU, his weekly half-hour comedy series, Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell, premiered on FX in 2012 and became a critically acclaimed but criminally short nightly show in 2013 on FX's new comedy network FXX.

The New York Times called Kamau "the most promising new talent in political comedy in many years." The show was nominated for a 2013 GLAAD Award for "Outstanding Talk Show Episode" for Kamau's interview with Orange Is the New Black's Laverne Cox, as well as "Best Talk Series" at the 2012 NAACP Image Awards. Salon.com named Kamau on their "Sexiest Men of 2012" list, calling the series "surreptitiously revolutionary in its effortless diversity and humanism." The San Francisco Chronicle raved, "it makes The Daily Show seem like something your dad watches." Totally Biased was executive produced by Chris Rock, who became a fan after seeing a performance of Kamau's one man show.

In 2010, Kamau released his second stand up album, Face Full of Flour, which was named one of the Top 10 Best Comedy Albums of the year by iTunes and Punchline Magazine. His first album One Night Only was released in 2007. Also in 2007, he developed his one-man show The W. Kamau Bell Curve: Ending Racism in About An Hour, which received rave reviews from audiences, critics, and industry insiders. The show was a comedy pick in The Guardian during its 2011 run at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, a Time Out NY critic's pick in the 2010 NY Comedy Festival, and played to sold-out audiences in the 2009 NY International Fringe Festival.

Kamau is a founding member of the stand-up comedy collective Laughter Against the Machine, which, using fan-funding via Kickstarter, toured some of the most politically charged states in the country in 2011 shooting a documentary that explores what role comedy plays in the revolution. In addition to visiting seven of the Occupy Wall Street encampments, they crossed the border in Arizona with immigration rights groups Culturestrike and Puente, marched with striking hotel workers in Chicago, went to a Mosque in Michigan, touched the levee in the lower 9th ward in New Orleans, and hung out with street artists against oil pipelines in DC. In 2012, portions of the documentary were featured at The Netroots Nation Rally and The Take Back The American Dream Conference.

Kamau sits on the board of Race Forward, a racial justice think tank and home for media and activism, and Hollaback, a non-profit and movement to end street harassment. He also co-hosts the podcast The Field Negro Guide to Arts & Culture with Living Colour guitarist Vernon Reid. He has been featured on several of the biggest comedy podcasts including WTF with Marc Maron, Comedy & Everything Else, Citizen Radio, The Sound of Young America, and Jordan, Jesse, GO!, and is a regular correspondent on The War Room on Current TV.

Praised by Punchline Magazine as "one of our nation's most adept racial commentators with a blistering wit," Kamau was voted San Francisco's best comedian by the SF Weekly, the SF Bay Guardian, and 7×7 Magazine. Robin Williams calls Kamau "ferociously funny," and Vernon Reid of the band Living Colour offers "W. Kamau Bell is in the vanguard of a new era of American comedy for an unsettling, troubling, and strangely hopeful time. Firmly in the fearless tradition of Mort Sahl, Lenny Bruce, Richard Pryor, and Chris Rock. Comedy as common sense purged of the absurd hypocrisy that is Our America." The SF Weekly called Kamau "smart, stylish, and very much in the mold of politically outspoken comedians like Dave Chappelle," though he was more excited that they called him "handsome."

Speech Topics


The W. Kamau Bell Curve: Ending Racism in About an Hour

Just like skinny jeans, superhero movies, and celebrity weight loss, racism continues to make a comeback. Luckily for us, campus speaker W. Kamau Bell is here to make (non)sense of all of it all. "The Curve" is a comedic, topical exploration of the current state of America's racism, combined with a little (unknown) history, a little Powerpoint, and a whole bunch of Kamau. And because racism is always attacking in new ways and from new angles, Kamau attacks back by constantly adding new material. "The Curve" is a seamless mix of stand-up comedy, video and audio clips, personal stories, knowledge-dropping, and solo theatrical performance.

News


W. KAMAU BELL ON PODCASTING, DENZEL, AND THE WISDOM OF BETTING ON YOURSELF

It's been a whirlwind few years for W. Kamau Bell. Before the launch of his FX talk show, Totally Biased With W. Kamau Bell, he was—at best—a cult-favorite comedian best known for his "Laughter Against The Machine" tours, which would often put him in front of dozens of fans a night. But after Chris Rock took an interest in his career, and executive produced his series for FX (and then FXX), Bell found himself with a major platform from which he could discuss race, politics, and comedy.

W. Kamau Bell Hosts SXSW Comedy Special on Showtime. Watch the Trailer

Most people don’t get to head to Austin for SXSW, so Showtime is giving you a chance to see some of what you’re missing...

W. Kamau Bell: Why I'm getting emails from the KKK
  1. Kamau Bell is a critically acclaimed sociopolitical comedian, featured on Kamau Right Now! on KALW in San Francisco, and CNN's "United Shades of ...
Comedian W. Kamau Bell Hung Out With the Ku Klux Klan. Here's ...

Comedian W. Kamau Bell isn't afraid of being uncomfortable. So for the first episode of his new CNN show, United Shades of America, Bell took a trip to ...

Black skin: A uniform we can't take off (Opinion) - CNN.com
  1. Kamau Bell is a critically acclaimed sociopolitical comedian, featured on the podcast Politically Re-Active on Panoply and CNN's "United Shades of America.
W. Kamau Bell: A noble gesture for Michael Phelps? - CNN.com
  1. Kamau Bell is a critically acclaimed sociopolitical comedian, featured on the podcast "Politically Re-Active" on Panoply and CNN's "United Shades of America  ...
United Shades of America - CNN.com

Follow comedian and political gadfly W. Kamau Bell as he explores the far corners of our country and its various groups and subcultures.

CNN's Comedy Test: W. Kamau Bell Gears Up for Cable-News ...
  1. Kamau Bell's journeys have taken him to a late-night program on FX and to stages around the country. More recently, however, the African-American comic ...

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