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W. Kamau Bell            

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

Walter Kamau Bell, professionally known as W. Kamau Bell, is a sociopolitical comedian based in The People’s Republic of Berkeley, CA. Kamau is the host of the hit CNN docu-series United Shades of America. In it's first season, United Shades was nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Unstructured Reality Program and a Television Critics Association Award for Outstanding Achievement in News and Information. The second season of United Shades returned to CNN on April 30th, 2017. Before United Shades, Kamau was best known for his critically acclaimed – and criminally short-lived – FX comedy series, Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell.

Kamau is also proud to be the ACLU’s Ambassador of Racial Justice, although he’s pretty upset that they didn’t give him a badge along with the title. Kamau sits on the advisory board of Race Forward, a racial justice think tank, and Hollaback, a non-profit movement to end street harassment.

The New York Times called Kamau “the most promising new talent in political comedy in many years,” and Salon.com listed Kamau on their “Sexiest Men of 2012” list, calling Totally Biased “surreptitiously revolutionary in its effortless diversity and humanism.” The New Yorker said, “Bell’s gimmick is intersectional progressivism: he treats racial, gay, and women’s issues as inseparable.” The San Francisco Chronicle raved, “it makes The Daily Show seem like something your dad watches.” In its brief time Totally Biased was nominated for both an NAACP Image Award and a GLAAD Award. Totally Biased was executive produced by Chris Rock, who became a fan after seeing a performance of Kamau’s one man show, ‘The W. Kamau Bell Curve: Ending Racism in About an Hour.’ Kamau still performs The W. Kamau Bell Curve at colleges across the country.

Kamau recently released his third comedy album, Semi-Prominent Negro, which is the audio from his Morgan Spurlock-produced comedy special of the same name. Kamau released two other standup comedy albums: One Night Only and Face Full of Flour. Face Full of Flour was named one of the Top 10 Best Comedy Albums of the year by iTunes and Punchline Magazine. Kamau’s first book, The Awkward Thoughts of W. Kamau Bell: Tales of a 6' 4", African American, Heterosexual, Cisgender, Left-Leaning, Asthmatic, Black and Proud Blerd, Mama's Boy, Dad, and Stand-Up Comedian, came out on May 2nd, 2017.

Kamau has appeared on various Comedy Central programs including @midnight and John Oliver’s New York Stand-up Show. He has also appeared on HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher, Chelsea, Conan, WTF with Marc Maron, The Rachel Maddow Show, The View, Fresh Air with Terry Gross, Henry Louis Gates Jr’s Many Rivers To Cross, Bullseye with Jesse Thorn, The Treatment with Elvis Mitchell, The Nerdist, and This American Life, among others. And yes, he will do your podcast if you ask him nicely and if he has the time.

His writing has appeared in the New York Times, VanityFair.com, Salon, MSNBC.com, Buzzfeed, and The Hollywood Reporter.

These days Kamau might be most excited about his budding podcast empire. Kamau is the host of Kamau Right Now!, a public radio talk show that airs on KALW in San Francisco. Kamau Right Now! is a live – and lively – talk show that Kamau has described as "a three ring circle of relevance". Kamau is also excited about his political podcast, Politically Re-Active, on which he and his co-host, friend and fellow comedian, Hari Kondabolu try to make sense of the nonsense. Kamau's labor of love is his podcast with his friend, comedian Kevin Avery, entitled Denzel Washington is The Greatest Actor of All Time Period. On the podcast, they are reviewing every Denzel Washington movie in (mostly) alphabetical order in hopes of proving… well, you read the name already. The podcast has featured interviews with guests including Spike Lee, Ava DuVernay, Ryan Coogler, India Arie, and many more. The podcast has been listed on Entertainment Weekly’s ‘Must List, ‘and it has been featured several times in the AV Club. Fast Company Magazine put Kevin and Kamau on their list of ‘Innovative Podcasters.’ Essence Magazine included DWITGAOATP on their list of ‘Top Ten Podcasts Every Black Woman Should Hear.’ All three of these shows are available every place that you find podcasts.

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 called Kamau “ferociously funny,” and The New Yorker said, “Bell’s gimmick is intersectional progressivism: he treats racial, gay, and women’s issues as inseparable.” 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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