This is a baker’s dozen of some of my favorite clips from Totally Biased. When we did these pieces, I truly felt like we were making the kind of TV that I wanted to see. Obviously everybody on the show isn't visibly represented or mentioned here but they all contributed jokes and ideas to the pieces on this this list. (Get their names on IMDB.) And this isn’t even close to everything that I loved on the show, but as far as I know, there’s no such thing as a baker’s 37.
This was from the very first episode. The thing I remember most about this one was how it was written. When the shooting at the Sikh temple in Wisconsin happened, we knew that we had to figure out a way to cover it. There were a couple different drafts of this piece written and they just didn't feel right. So all the writers (a couple producers… and even Vernon Reid of Living Colour - The map was his idea.) got in the writers room. And we banged it out. We were all laughing, and I knew it felt good, but I was afraid with all the real tragedy in the story that it would literally be too soon. We rehearsed it several times. Chris Rock really put me through my paces that day. And our producer, Rachel Linhart said, “You gotta have a Sith!” She was right. True collaboration, pulling in one awesome direction.
This was Ethan Berlin’s idea. Ethan was a writer on the show at that time. He later became a producer. The thing I remember most about this clip is that during the beginning of the shoot, we had Ethan playing “the white guy” as some sort of representative of white people, and that just wasn’t working. It just wasn’t funny. But when Ethan just acted like himself, it was immediately funnier. Everybody let their guard down. And people really had interesting things to say. I love this clip because it is funny but people are also being reeeeeeeeal and making some points. This is one of the many times we shot in Harlem. Harlem never let us down. Harlem, I hope we didn’t let you down.
Hari Kondabolu has been one of my favorite comedians since I met him in 2008. He always said he was going to be a writer on my TV show waaaaay before there was a TV show to write on. He is also a great friend. I am super proud and lucky to have been able to present him on the show. I love this piece because it is the kind of comedy I wanted Totally Biased to always do: heartfelt and fierce. Also, I'll forever remember the phrase, "SIX IN A ROW, SON!"
Also see Kevin Kataoka’s Asian Invasion.
I was really fortunate to have so many talented writers to work with on Totally Biased. There is personal pride in this one though, because it was my idea. I just knew that if we got Lindy West and Jim Norton together that an intelligent, witty, and non-yelling conversation could be had about an important issue. They were awesome. They set a high standard that the show knew was going to be difficult to match.
I have known Dwayne Kennedy since my early days of comedy. He is a great friend and my first mentor in comedy. He is the ultimate comic’s comic. And he’s an extremely hard person to pin down. I knew I wanted him on the show, because his comic voice is undeniable. Everyone who spends anytime with Dwayne ends up talking like him whether they want to or not, bub. DAMMIT!
One thing I knew I wanted Totally Biased to be was personal. And the Cheerios commercial featuring the mixed race family and the ridiculous online uproar was aimed right at me and my family. So I aimed right back… with the help of my fellow writers, producers, graphics department, staff, and interns.
I have always said that some of my favorite moments in my career is when I’m learning right along with the audience. Well, this clip is that. (Well, in this case, I’m learning along with many of the men in the audience.) When we released this clip online it didn’t get that much attention initially. But it continues to find life as a way for people to find a funny way to open a discussion about catcalling. I’m proud that we made some comedy that gives the correct side a megaphone to the world. That is what I wanted Totally Biased to do. This clip was the brainchild of writer and comedian and fellow SF comic Nato Green. (P.S. I hated doing the megaphone part of the piece, but it works. I don’t know nothin’.)
Also see Stop & Frisk.
Whenever I talked to anyone about correspondent pieces on the show, THIS is the one I would reference. I could have maybe done all the jokes that Guy Branum does in this piece but they ALL mean much more coming from him. (Possibly because he wrote them too.) Giving the person with the biggest stake in the issue the bully pulpit to shout from was very important to me during the show. One of my favorite memories from the entire show is that when we taped this I was standing off to the side of the stage. I had a view of Guy and the audience. Seeing the discomforted looks on some of the (I guessing straight) dudes faces as Guy expertly took apart the nuances of football and homophobia was amazing.
This clip is surreal for me on so many levels. I have known Janine Brito since she was a comic who had just moved to the Bay Area and who usually rocked hoodies over bow ties. I tried to provide the same help and advice to her that Dwayne had given to me. So sharing the stage with her so much on Totally Biased was a always a little bit of a “WOW!” moment. She did a lot of great things on the show but this stands out to me. Janine only found out that she could do a Tracy Morgan impersonation when I asked her to try it during the filming a pre-pilot we were going to show to Chris Rock. This was right after Tracy had his incident in Nashville. And the only piece of material that made it from that pre-pilot, to the pilot, to the actual show was Janine’s Tracy Morgan impersonation. And to have her do it WITH Tracy Morgan was epic. And to address some of the push back that we had from putting Tracy on the show, I humbly submit this from GLAAD.
Also see Aparna Nancherla prints a gun.
I had some awesome interviews on Totally Biased. Some of the most biased moments happened during those conversations. But talking to Kristina Wong was an unexpected pleasure. Right after the interview was over and I walked offstage I said to whoever would listen, “She came to WIN!” Thank you, Kristina, for being on the show.
A history lesson that features some jokes. This is was a great day at the office. It was Guy Branum’s idea. Guy Branum brought Sherry Vine in to do it. And Sherry brought it home… with a brick. No other show on television was going to cover this moment in this way.
One of our producers, the amazing Kristine Pregot, really GOT the whole idea of the show in a major way. And she had worked on something with Unlocking The Truth before. And whenever we would ask if anybody had any ideas for the show Kristine would bring up Unlocking The Truth. Thank you Black Jesus, I was smart enough to listen to her. It was an honor to have them on the show.
This aired in the second to last week of our show. It is EXACTLY what I want the show to do. A real issue, jokes that highlight but don’t make fun the issue, and a random Dwayne Kennedy sighting. Hari brought in the Salon.com article that reported the first time Vishavjit Singh went out as Captain America. Hari KNEW we had lightning in a bottle and insisted that we do this piece. Thanks, for insisting, sir.