The W. Kamau Bell Curve – Ending Racism In About An Hour
Race-related comedy that avoids cliché
This article is from 2011.
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).