Heading into its second episode, FX’s new Chris Rock-produced late-night series Totally Biased With W. Kamau Bell brings an updated take on the hit HBO series The Chris Rock Show. With Rock now behind-the-scenes, it’s up to W. Kamau Bell to spearhead the return of television’s rarely used – yet often heralded – format.
Cutting between in-studio pieces (like explaining the difference between Sikhs vs. Sheiks (below)) and pre-taped segments (like asking about getting frisked by the police in Harlem (above)), Bell’s new series manages to overcome the difficult obstacle of entertaining and informing viewers. Continuing this relaxed style into the couch segment, Bell trades the traditional interview for more of a conversation with his guests (which instantly makes them more compelling).
Touching on all topics of today’s society, comedian W. Kamau Bell uses the same type of earnest humor that Rock’s HBO Series was known for, to hilariously deliver his take on politics, pop culture, race, religion, media and sex. In an attempt to keep the content as fresh as possible, Totally Biased With W. Kamau Bell tapes the same day of air, always leaving slightly-similar series The Burn with Jeff Ross a week behind the issue at hand.
Whenever a series like Totally Biased With W. Kamau Bell comes along, television fans almost always have to champion it. Seeing any opinion delivered unfiltered – even if you don’t always agree with it – is almost always great television; however, shows like these are often short lived. Noting how shows like The Chappelle Show and The Chris Rock Show never last long, Rock gave Bell some advice to help get him into future seasons: “Don’t go running away now. Don’t go to Africa until the show is over.”
Like any new show, Totally Biased With W. Kamau Bell still has few tweaks to make to the series before perfecting its format – something that can easily be done, given the natural flexibility of the show’s format. That being said, one of the things the series will always have in its favor is its filming location.
Being based in New York City, not only is Bell able to find people to talk to on camera, he also has access to the entire list of New York comedians, who would certainly make perfect guests on his show. Since Chris Rock was the guest for the first of the season, we’ll have to wait to see whether other famous names will take the place of a great comedian. Hopefully (and likely) not.
Following in the same path as Tough Crowd with Colin Quinn and The Daily Show, Totally Biased With W. Kamau Bell is a refreshing addition to the sociopolitical genre, allowing a comedian a chance to provide his honest take on all issues. So even if you don’t always agree with everything Bell says, you’ve got to admit that he warned you…
He’s totally biased.
Totally Biased With W. Kamau Bell airs Thursdays @11pm on FX
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