San Francisco isn't so much losing one of its best comedians (yet) as it is putting him out on loan. Which is to say, W. Kamau Bell will be spending a lot of time in New York later this year to film six episodes of a TV show for FX.
Last year he and a group of comedians produced two pilots for the show, which Bell describes as "my version of The Daily Show." One of the show's executive producers is Chris Rock.
Bell can't tell us what the title for the half-hour show is -- because one hasn't been chosen.
"It's all happening quickly, we're kicking around names right now," says Bell, who has written a blog column for The Exhibitionist -- Kamau's Komedy Korner -- since February 2011.
A statement from Nick Grad, an FX executive, calls it The Untitled Chris Rock/W. Kamau Bell Late Night Show.
It is set to be filmed and air beginning in August, Bell says.
Bell tells us the people hired for the show so far are the executive producers -- himself, Rock, and Chuck Sklar -- and he hopes to bring on board some of the comedians he has worked with closely in the Bay Area.
They include San Francisco's Nato Green and Kevin Avery as well as former San Franciscan (and current New Yorker) Janine Brito. Green and Brito were part of a group that toured with a politically themed show called Laughter Against the Machine.
All three worked with Bell on both pilots, one of which he wrote about in a June 2011 column.
Grad, FX's executive vice president of original programming, praises the pilot in the network statement: "The presentation pilot that Chris and Kamau shot was terrific. Kamau is a tremendous young comedian who has a very smart and sharp take on life. Working with Chris will only bring out the best of his talents."
Rock chimes in with, ""I think Kamau is one of the funniest guys out there, and I can't wait to work with the good people at FX."
Bell says the show, which will appear once a week, will be like The Daily Show or Bill Maher's Real Time in that it will comment on events of the day, but it will also include commentary and parody on cultural events. It will include in-studio interviews, special guests, and externally produced segments, Bell says.