Comedian W. Kamau Bell of 'Totally Biased' Looks Forward to American Indian Inaugural Ball
In a gesture of recognition to Native people, the host and crew of Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell will be stopping in to cover the festivities at this year’s American Indian Society’s 2013 Inaugural Ball. Totally Biased, a politics- and news-oriented late-night comedy and talk show, which is hosted by Bell, airs on Thursday nights at 11pm on the FX network, and is executive-produced by Chris Rock.
During the ball, Bell will interview guests of the AIS Inaugural Ball about President Obama, the presidential campaign, and their views on the current state of the nation.
Bell, lauded as a rising star among socio-political comics, and founding member of the stand-up comedy collective Laughter Against the Machine, said when he was looking at a list of events taking place on Obama's big night, The American Indian Society’s Inaugural Ball jumped out at him.
Bell took a few minutes to speak In an with ICTMN about his plans.
How long have you been doing Totally Biased?
Our show started in August of 2012 - we air once a week and we've shot 13 episodes, we are starting up again next Thursday.
What's it like working with Chris Rock?
Chris Rock is one of the most busy human beings on the planet, he comes in to all of the tapings, he certainly takes pride in the show we could not do this without him, literally -- I wouldn't have a TV show without him.
So why did you decide to cover the AIS Inaugural Ball? Admittedly it is listed as an unofficial Inaugural Ball.
It's official to us; we look at going to the inauguration as a big deal. Our show is brand new, and we try to approach things with a different angle and a different perspective -- but we still try to have a good time. We looked at the list of balls, and this was one that leapt out to me.
Of all the people that I want to hear from, this was immediately something I wanted. Who knows if the Native American perspective is something I might understand or agree with -- but I am always on the search for new voices. As soon as I forwarded this to everyone else around here, they said yes absolutely.
It is no secret that many African Americans also share American Indian ancestry.
I would say 100% of African-Americans say they have Native American heritage, and even if the percentage is 80% the other 20% say they do. I've talked to my mom about it, and she told me how our grandmother looked 100% Native American, but we never knew because she never talked about it.
I believe she was Cherokee, I certainly feel that we do not hear enough from a Native American perspective. This show is on FX, which is a big cable network -- and I feel that [if] they're going to let me on here, I am going to try and get as much onto this program as possible because I usually don't see this on television.
What else are you going to do in D.C.?
We are certainly going to get as close as we can to all of the other stuff and take pictures of Barack Obama from a mile away just like everyone else. We are going to be way off the grid of course.
When is the show going to air on FX?
Everything depends on how much we are going to shoot, but this will air most likely the following Thursday after the inauguration events.
How are you enjoying having your own show?
I'm still brand new to this. The going out and talking to people on the street is one of my favorite things to do. I am looking forward to doing this, this is a big opportunity for me and I'm looking forward to making the most of it.
For more information, visit the Totally Biased website at fxnetworks.com/totallybiased
Here are some clips from past episodes of Totally Biased: