W. Kamau Bell

Back in 2005, a little-known San Francisco comic made a crack about a little-known Illinois senator, also black. Said W. Kamau Bell, “There will never be a black president named Barack Obama. Because that is too black.” Then the unthinkable happened: Obama actually became president, and Bell focused his comedy into a stand-alone show, The W. Kamau Bell Curve: Ending Racism in About an Hour. He's been performing and refining the act for years, adapting topics of his ire from George Bush to Michele Bachmann. And while he comes as the subject of race from a Bay Area liberal's perspective, his jokes also range from Star Trek to kung fu movies to Macbeth. (“As a society,” says this Chicago-raised utopian, “let's be the The Matrix part one, not The Matrix II and III.”) And, like the president, Bell has stripped the anger from his smart, genial demeanor—he's like the funniest dude in your Ph.D. program. Though he's a young guy, fluent in blogging, twitter, and Facebook, he's also a bit of a throwback—skipping over the incendiary taunts of Pryor and Murphy back to the early humor of Cosby (before sweaters and sitcoms). Also note the ticket price: two-for-one if “you bring a friend from a different race.” It's a great chance to save some money and meet someone not in your usual online dating profile. BRIAN MILLER

Sun., Feb. 6, 8 p.m., 2011

 
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