— Aug 10 2010 – 3:47pm
Any artist who promises to end racism in about an hour will earn his fair share of cynics. Comedian W. Kamau Bell was well aware of that when he launched his solo comedy show, “The W. Kamau Bell Curve,” in fall 2007.
During a run at The Shelton Theater a few months later, Bell watched from the corner of his eye as a middle-aged couple shuffled out of the room. He was roughly 15 minutes into a well-honed comedy set that lampooned the idea of “post-racial” America. He resisted his knee-jerk tendency to heckle the man and woman as they quietly left their seats.
“They weren’t making a huff or anything,” he said. “In my mind, I’m just like, ‘Oh, they gotta go to the bathroom.’ I didn’t think anything of it. They never came back, but I also never noticed.”
After the show, Bell’s producer, Bruce Pachtman, looked somber. “That couple left,” he said. Apparently the man was repelled by Kamau’s material. He was white and characterized himself as a progressive.
“I feel like I’m being blamed,” the man told Pachtman. “I don’t have to listen to this; I’ve done a lot for black people.”
Bell was unruffled.
“If I’m a straight white guy and I go to a show about racism, I would expect to get something on me — that they’d start flinging the s— stick my way,” he said. “I thought, ‘That is hilarious. Absolutely hilarious.’” Read More…