(January 26, 1973- )
Born in Palo Alto, California
Walter Kamau Bell
San Francisco-based stand-up comic
Hosted 'Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell' on FX (2012-2013)
Host of the CNN original series, 'United Shades of America' (2016- )
Co-hosts the 'Denzel Washington Is The Greatest Actor Of All Time Period' and 'Politically Re-Active' podcasts
Released comedy albums 'One Night Only' (2007) and 'Face Full of Flour' (2010)
Why he might be annoying
He is a racial opportunist.
His first comic relief special was titled 'Self-Prominent Negro.'
He dropped out of the University of Pennsylvania to pursue comedy.
He blames 'the white dominated media' for the US' failure to have 'a discussion about race.'
He said in a panel discussion that it was white people's job to 'handle' Donald Trump.
He did a bizarre promo for his 'United Shades' show which involved picking up some hitch-hiking Ku Klux Klan members.
He had the unmitigated hubris to pen a preachy letter to Michael Phelps telling him to yield the honor of carrying the American flag in the Olympics Opening Ceremony, and give it to fencer Ibtiha Muhammadj (who was the runner-up in the voting).
He reasoned that Phelps, as a white male, would send out the wrong message to the world, given the country's being in the middle of 'the most contentious, controversial, scandal-ridden, hateful, xenophobic, jingoistic, and just generally unlikeable presidential elections' (most likely a jab at Donald Trump and his supporters).
Some accused him of reverse racism, not only in his comments towards Phelps, but for his saying that choosing a black-female-Muslim to carry the flag 'would be nearly a one-stop inclusion shop.'
He doubled down on his proposition by engaging critics on Twitter, firing off a particularly tasteless tweet excoriating 'white tears.'
Why he might not be annoying
He was on the receiving end of racially-charged hate tweets for his open letter.
Some of his comedic bits are actually quite clever (it'd probably be better if he allowed his material to speak for itself).
He was jointly voted San Francisco's best comedian by the city's leading newspapers (2012).
He received an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Unstructured Reality Program for 'United Shades of America' (2016).
The Ku Klux Klan episode of 'United Shades' received wide play, with segments of it going viral on the internet.
He did an entire one-man show called 'Ending Racism in About An Hour,' which he described as 'a comedic exploration of the current state of America’s racism.'
He did extract some humor from the Phelps situation, sharing a widely mocked image of Phelps glaring with the caption 'I had no idea asking him not to bear the flag would make him feel so bad!'
He claimed it didn't bother him that A) Phelps forsook his advice to give up the flag bearing honor, B) That Phelps went on to amass a record number of medals based on his 2016 performance, and C) That his chosen athlete Ibtiha failed to win even a single medal.
He and his wife (who is white) were victims of a racial profiling incident, at a cafe the University of Berkeley, which led to widespread calls for implicit bias training management for businesses (2015).
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Year In Review:
In 2016, Out of 12 Votes: 58.33% Annoying
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