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W. Kamau Bell: Welcome to the late-night party
W. Kamau Bell launches his new late night show on FX tonight at 11 and no time like the present -- like right now -- to introduce him.
First off, it's pronounced “Ka-MOW,” like Ka-POW.
The weekly show is produced by Chris Rock but any comparisons end here: These are two very different comics, and with radically different styles. Here's the word association that comes immediately to mind with this talented San Francisco-based comic: Biased (duh), liberal, very laid-back, cerebral, smart, good writer, inventive, and not particularly prone to go for the jugular. (All of these impressions based on a half-hour test show FX sent out for review.)
I think he'll do fine, but probably needs to turn up the fire a little bit. FX viewers, I'm guessing, are looking for someone with a more Chris Rockian sensibility than a Bay area one. That said, give him a chance. He's the rarest of the rare -- a black late-night host on a major network. It's a bizarre fact but true (T.J. Holmes arrives on BET later this year, and Arsenio is back next.)
Why? I can't even begin to answer but who there must be some good reason, right? Of course not. There's no logical reason. But Kamau is here and if this is a success on Thursdays, maybe there's a weeknight show in FX's and Kamau's future.
These promotional clips may or may offer a glimpse of tonight's launch but at least they offer a flavor of the man's style. Fourth clip here, by the way, offers a look at Janine Brito, a contributor who does a KILLER impression of Tracy Morgan on the test show.