Walter Kamau Bell (better known as W. Kamau Bell) is an African-American stand-up comic. Prominent within the San Francisco stand-up comedy scene, he is best known nationally as the host of the television series Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell, which premiered on FX in 2012.
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Bell graduated from the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools and attended the University of Pennsylvania before dropping out to pursue a career in comedy. After establishing himself as socio-political comedian and community activist based in San Francisco, Bell became a founding member of the comedy collective "Laughter Against the Machine" and has been featured in a number of prominent podcasts and publications, such as WTF with Marc Maron, Citizen Radio, and Current TV's The War Room with Jennifer Granholm, on which Bell is a regular correspondent. Now better known nationally, Bell's most notable accomplishment to date has been his series on FX, Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell, which premiered on August 9, 2012 as a weekly show. Before the show was picked up, Bell once worked at a condom store to pay the bills, and joked about the experience on the Employee of the Month podcast with Catie Lazarus.
The show, which spotlights commentary and comedic sketches from Bell and his correspondents, is executive produced by Chris Rock, who became a fan of Bell's after seeing performances of his one-man show, The W. Kamau Bell Curve: Ending Racism in About An Hour. The show will become a nightly show on the new FX channel FXX, in the fall of 2013.
In addition to making a documentary with "Laughter Against the Machine" and releasing two comedy albums, Bell 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.
Praised by Punchline Magazine as "one of our nation's most adept racial commentators with a blistering wit" and later by the New York Times as "the most promising new talent in political comedy in many years" in October 2012, Bell was voted San Francisco's best comedian by the SF Weekly, the SF Bay Guardian, and 7×7 Magazine. Robin Williams calls Bell "ferociously funny," and the SF Weekly called Bell "smart, stylish, and very much in the mold of politically outspoken comedians like Dave Chappelle."
Bell's second stand up album Face Full of Flour (2010) was named one of the Top 10 Best Comedy Albums of the year by iTunes and Punchline Magazine. His one-man show The W. Kamau Bell Curve: Ending Racism in About An Hour, which he developed in 2007, 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 New York Comedy Festival, and played to sold-out audiences in the 2009 New York International Fringe Festival.