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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 FX comedy series, Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell, premiered in August 2012 and became a critically acclaimed but criminally short nightly show in September of 2013 on FX’s new comedy network FXX. The NY Times called Kamau “the most promising new talent in political comedy in many years.” The show was nominated for “Best Talk Series” at the 2012 NAACP Image Awards and Salon.com listed 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 co-hosts the podcast The Field Negro Guide to Arts & Culture with Living Colour guitarist Vernon Reid, writes the blog “Kamau’s Komedy Korner” for the San Francisco Weekly, and sits on the board of The Applied Research Center, a racial justice think tank and home for media and activism. 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.”