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Thoughts On Debut Of Chris Rock-Produced 'Totally Biased With W. Kamau Bell'?

Photo of Tambay A. Obenson By Tambay A. Obenson | Shadow and Act August 13, 2012 at 11:36AM

Thoughts On Debut Of Chris Rock-Produced 'Totally Biased With W. Kamau Bell'?
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kamau Bell

It premiered on FX last week Thursday night, at 11pm, and aired at least two more times afterward, so I hope a lot of you got a chance to check it out.

First announced in March, the FX network greenlit a new weekly half-hour late night series, exec-produced by Chris Rock, starring standup comedian W. Kamau Bell, in which he'll dissect politics, pop culture, race, religion, the media and sex.

The network ordered 6 episodes of the series, titled Totally Biased with W. Kamau BellChris Rock will only be involved behind the scenes; although, as Mr Bell told me in my interview with him, don't be surprised if Chris does a cameo appearance every now and then.

And Chris certainly did appear in the very first episode last week, as a guest. 

Overall, I wasn't immediately sucked into it, but I'm going to continue watching to see how it develops. I'll attribute my initial lack of enthusiasm for what I saw to first show jitters, and hope it evolves and improves over time, otherwise.

It's much less Chocolate News (which I've read some others compare it to), and looks to be gunning for The Daily Show with John Stewart. It excels most when Kamau does his stand-up routine, commenting on current issues from Gabby Douglas (and criticism of her hair), to the Sikh temple shooting, and more; but his man-on-the-street segment, asking black men in NYC about Stop-and-Frisk wasn't as entertaining as I think was intended. I'm not sure if Kamau is a natural as a host/interviewer, as was demonstrated in those segments, as well as in the last segment of the show, during which his special guest, Chris Rock, dominated, so much that you would've thought it was the Chris Rock show. 

But, as I said, it might just be a case of getting comfy with the mileu - the opportunity to have his talents showcased on a much grander stage. And if those man-on-street segments are to be a staple of the show, I hope successive episodes are funnier. Or maybe he should get someone else to run that particular segment, not-so-unlike John Stewart does on The Daily Show, with his army of correspondents. 

All that said, it's great to see a black man with his own show on late night TV, and I encourage you to check it out for yourselves; you might instantly take to it a lot more than I did.

But I'll continue watching. 

Interestingly, the series is set to tape each episode the day of broadcast.

If you have seen the premiere episode, what did you think?

This article is related to: Television, TV Features


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