Socio-political comedian W. Kamau Bell has emerged as the post-modern voice of comedy. Kamau was recently named an Ambassador of Racial Justice by the ACLU. And he sits on the advisory 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.
Kamau is best known for his critically acclaimed, but criminally short-lived FX comedy series, Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell. 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 the series “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.
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. In 2009 Kamau started an extremely semi-regular podcast with Grammy winning Living Colour guitarist, Vernon Reid, called The Field Negro Guide To Arts & Culture. 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 has appeared on Comedy Central, Real Time with Bill Maher, Conan, WTF with Marc Maron, MSNBC, 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, and NPR, among others. And yes, he will do your podcast if you ask him nicely.
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 Vernon Reid 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.”