The W. Kamau Bell Curve – Ending Racism In About An Hour (3 stars)

This article is from 2011.

The W. Kamau Bell Curve – Ending Racism In About An Hour

Race-related comedy that avoids cliché

Ending racism in ‘about an hour’ might seem like a bit of a challenge to set yourself. Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela were at it for a lot longer and they still didn’t eradicate the hate, but W Kamau Bell’s Fringe show is still a discernibly different beast to many other performances on offer this month.

The US comic is wry and intelligent in his good-natured explanation of why race is still a massive issue in the post-Obama climate. ‘Post-racism’, he argues, is simply not something that exists; just because a country is governed by a black president, it does not mean that the entire nation is an understanding, broad-minded lot (certainly not if the anecdotes on show here are anything to go by).

And don’t think us Brits are getting off lightly either, because Bell has a whole range of guffaw-worthy examples of our compatriots acting like ill-informed dunderheids, and worse. PowerPoint slides, videos and current affairs-related dialogue keep this from being stand-up with a preachy edge. The result is akin to the witticisms of Dave Chappelle or Eddie Murphy at their vintage best.

Pleasance Courtyard, 556 6550, until 29 Aug, 9.30pm, £11–£12 (£9.50–£11).

The W. Kamau Bell Curve – Ending Racism In About An Hour

  • 3 stars

Kamau has been praised by Punchline Magazine as ‘one of America’s most adept racial commentators’ and by Robin Williams as ‘ferociously funny!’ His recent stand-up album was named one of the Top 10 Best Comedy Albums of 2010 by iTunes. His solo show has long sold out runs in San Francisco and was a critics' pick at the…

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