Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell has been on audition in our house lately. It sounds really promising: W. Kamau Bell is a pretty sharp comedian, Chris Rock is producing the thing, and guests have largely been liberals. So, good for me.
The show plays like a lower-budget version of The Daily Show but way, way less formal. Kamau also doesn’t shy away from racial issues, and in fact hits them head on: his first episode included person-on-the-street interviews about New York City’s stop-and-frisk program.
I really like the guy. He can be funny and quick-witted. I want to love the show, but it’s not there – not just yet. And the reason is simple: Kamau isn’t polished in front of the camera. His timing is a little off. He definitely waits for audience reactions after punchlines and there are many, many pregnant pauses that interrupt the flow. His interviews are kind of neither here nor there, but you know, Conan O’Brien was really bad at interviews at first too. I can let that go.
There are also little taped segments, parodies, things like that. They don’t quite fit, either; they’re in need of editing.
I like the show enough to keep watching, but Kamau really needs to just loosen up a bit. His material is loose, but he’s totally stiff when it comes to delivery. If he can match the two, then he’ll be golden.
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