W. Kamau Bell admits to "pulling back" in front of San Francisco's often largely white audiences. But last night on Valencia Street at the Chapel during a live taping of KQED's new podcast 'The Cooler', the comedian didn't seem to. There, he gave the room a piece of his mind on topics from gentrification to homelessness to blackness in the Bay Area.
Specifically, Bell joked that you can tell gentrification in San Francisco is bad because even white people are mad about it. "I remember when Ritual was a different kind of coffeeshop!" he said. You can hear all that on the forthcoming podcast episode, which you should absolutely download because it was excellent throughout.
Bell, who most prominently hosted the criminally short-lived FX show Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell and who now co-hosts the podcast Denzel Washington is the Greatest Actor of All Time Period, is a longtime darling of the Bay Area comedy scene. And incidentally, you might recall Bell's own personal episode of totally biased treatment at the hands of Berkeley's Elmwood Cafe last March. You know, the time when he was shooed out of the establishment for being black and talking with white people including his wife (a waitress assumed he was begging, because racism). Well, you can relive that in his essay on the subject, but Bell doesn't seem keen on doing so. He won't be going back to "that place," he confided to the crowd last night.