Kamau Bell is an African American stand-up comedian, television host, social commentator, and activist who has thrived in his chosen profession. His foray into comedy actually cost him his college education. However, Bell has close to a decade of a thriving career in entertainment to make up for his loss.
It is also known that his focus on race, politics, and social issues in American society has singled him out for widespread recognition. This success was also what influenced his foray into the many other activities over the years.
Kamau Bell, Who Dropped Out Of College To Pursue Comedy, Has Done Pretty Well In It
The American comedian schooled at the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools as well as the University of Pennsylvania. However, he did not finish his education at the latter as he dropped out to pursue a career in comedy.
Kamau Bell subsequently moved to San Francisco to launch his comedy career as a sociopolitical comedian and community activist. He co-created a comedy tour show with Nato Green known as Laughter Against the Machine. He then went on to feature in several podcasts and publications, some of them include WTF With Marc Maron, Citizen Radio, and The War Room with Jennifer Granholm where he appeared as a regular correspondent.
In 2007, his first comedy album entitled One Night Only was launched and that same year, he created a one-man show known as The W. Kamau Bell Curve: Ending Racism in About An Hour where he uses comedy to address the current happenings in the United States with regards to racism. A second comedy album titled Face Full of Flour was launched in 2010 and this recorded massive commercial success. It was named one of the Top 10 Best Comedy Albums of the year as compiled by iTunes and Punchline Magazines.
By 2012, his comic activities became very popular that he was voted San Francisco’s Best Comedian by the trio of SF Weekly, the San Francisco Bay Guardian, and 7×7 Magazine. A couple of years later, in 2016, Kamau went on to drop his third comedy album titled Semi-Prominent Negro which, again, was positively received.
He Is A Talented TV Host And Anchor Of The Emmy Award Winning Show, United Shades of America
In 2012, Kamau Bell was given the opportunity to host a stand-up comedy series on FX which he titled, Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell. The TV series ran from 2012 to 2013 on FX as well as FXX. Notable American comedian Chris Rock served as the producer of the series which cover issues pertaining to political and social issues, as well as celebrity gist.
After the cancellation of the Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell the comedian was seen on the CNN documentary series, United Shades of America, which began to air on 24th April 2016. Bell did not just serve as a host of the show but also an executive producer. More so, the show became very successful within a short while after its inception as it won the 2017 Creative Arts Emmy for Outstanding Unstructured Reality Program. Kamau Bell was also nominated in 2018 for a Primetime Emmy Award under the category, Outstanding Host for a Reality Program for United Shades of America.
Bell Has Gained Recognition For The Podcast, ‘Kamau Right Now’
The comedian’s foray into making podcasts started by making guest appearances in podcasts of the likes of Jennifer Granholm at the start of his comic career. He then went on to land the role of the co-host of the podcast, ‘The Field Negro Guide to Arts & Culture’ from 2010 to 2014 with Living Colour guitarist, Vernon Reid.
In November 2014, Kamau Bell started to serve as the co-host of the podcast ‘Denzel Washington Is The Greatest Actor Of All Time Period’ alongside the writer and comedian, Kevin Avery. Although the podcast centered on films by Denzel Washington, the pair also conducted interviews with notable entertainers including musicians, filmmakers, and comedians in Hollywood.
However, the comedian is known to have gained wide acclaim in January 2016 when he launched the ‘Kamau Right Now’ live radio show and podcast in collaboration with KALW. That same year, he was seen as the co-host of ‘Politically Re-Active’ alongside the comedian, Hari Kondabolu.
He Is Also A Prolific Writer
One of the many talents of W. Kamau Bell includes writing. As a writer, he has been credited for penning down numerous essays and blog posts that are centered on race and racism found in the United States’ politics and media.
Bell is also known to have published a book in May 2017, entitled, ‘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’. The book is an autobiography presented with lots of humor concerning issues that cut across politics and culture.
The Comedian Was Involved In A Racial Controversy That Led To The Closure Of Elmwood Café
In January 2015, W. Kamau Bell went out with his wife to Elmwood Café to hang out with some of her white friends and during the course of their outdoor meeting, a staff of the café asked him to ‘scram’. According to the comedian, the statement was said to him because of his color and he saw it as a bias attitude for a white waiter to insinuate that he was a nuisance around some white folks because of his skin tone. This caused an uproar in the community and Bell, alongside the café owner, went on to organize a forum to find ways to deal with racial bias and how to reduce its effect.
A couple of years later, in 2018, the comedian renewed the criticism of the café. This time around, it affected the café’s operation and led to its closure for about a month. Although it was later reopened, its name was changed to ‘Baker & Commons’.
The Activist Has A Beautiful Family Life With Melissa Hudson Bell
W. Kamau Bell has been married to Dr. Melissa Hudson Bell since 2009. The couple is known to have crossed paths at a show that Kamau Bell coordinated which featured a mutual friend they had, Jill. It was actually Jill who brought Melissa on board to handle the tech corner of the event, and that was how the comedian ran into her.
They hit it off as casual friends at first but with time, their love blossomed into a beautiful romance. However, Melissa and Kamau faced lots of racial discrimination, but, instead of being discouraged, they have drawn strength in it to move ahead and prove their critics wrong.
The union has produced three girls – their first daughter, Sami Bell was born in 2011; while their second daughter, Juno Bell, was born in 2014; and the third, Asha Bell joined the clan in June 2018.
Kamau Bell Came From A Prominent Family
Kamau Bell was born in Palo Alto, California, in the United States of America on January 26, 1973, after which he was christened Walter Kamau Bell by his parents – Walter and Janet Bell. He spent his childhood days with his family in Boston, Massachusetts.
The comedian is one of the lucky ones who were born with silver spoons; he was the only child of a former government official. His father, Walter Bell, served as Alabama’s Insurance commissioner and chairman of Swiss Re American Holding Corporation while his mother, Janet Cheatham Bell, is an author who also founded a self-publishing firm. Despite their status, they gave Kamau Bell their blessings as he picked up comedy as a career path.