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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

W. Kamau Bell Dishes on His Two New Productions: One Show and One Baby

Posted By on Wed, Jun 22, 2011 at 1:34 PM

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It has been a incredibly hectic, bone-tiring, brain-stretching couple of weeks. Two weeks ago I called my manager Keri Smith of Whitesmith Entertainment and I said the five words she surely didn't want to hear, "I wanna cancel those shows." I knew she'd prefer to hear a comedy manager's five favorite words: "My YouTube video went viral!!!"

A few weeks before the call, I had asked my favorite comics to work for free on TV idea I had been conjuring. They all said yes, but as we were two weeks out I wasn't feeling confident about the amount of work that was left to do (nearly all of it). It wasn't the comics' fault. In the time between our initial meeting and my prima donna freakout, I'd had a baby.

Yay, baby Kamau!!!! - Eds.
  • Yay, baby Kamau!!!! - Eds.
Well, actually my wife had a baby. I got a baby. But since the birth, I was operating on little sleep. I was the walking dead, without the quippy dialogue. Being a new parent is like being a firefighter: no deep sleep because you are constantly waiting for the alarm to go off. The only difference is that firefighters get three days off after four days on. And they have the pole!

When I called Keri, I had already talked to comedy writer and producer Chuck Sklar (Lopez Tonight and The Chris Rock Show) about canceling these shows. He understood. He didn't need this to go right now. He has a job. He just believed that I should have my own TV show.

Sklar and I had met over the phone a couple of years ago when he tried to hire Kevin Avery and I to be writers on AN UNNAMED COMEDIAN'S FAILED TV SHOW. But that show didn't last long enough for us to get on the plane. Later Chuck came out to see my solo show in L.A. and New York. There had been much talk of how we could get my TV show idea off the ground. Chuck even brokered a meeting with COMEDY LEGEND WHO I WON'T MENTION FOR FEAR OF ALIENATING HIM BECAUSE IN THE FUTURE HE COULD MAYBE HELP ME. What came out of all of this was that Chuck and I needed to just get a theater and do this ourselves, the same way my cohort and I did it with my solo show lo those four years ago.

So two weeks ago I called Keri, high on no sleep and the smell of baby poo, and told her I was going to cancel the show to protect my sanity. By the time I was off the phone, Keri had me convinced that I shouldn't cancel it today. I should cancel it later. She knew full well I would move through this artist nonsense and refocus, or at least slow down my freaking out.

And this past Monday night at the awesome Stage Werx Theatre, I had one of the most important shows of my life. Me and a crew of comics, writers, a solo performer, and a rapper threw a bunch of comedy against the proverbial wall to see it any of it would stick. Much of it did. And the two best parts are 1) We got it all on tape, and 2) We get to try again on Wednesday.

We saw this show. It was one of the best shows we've ever seen, and  we've seen more shows than any other 10 people you know. -Eds.
  • We saw this show. It was one of the best shows we've ever seen, and we've seen more shows than any other 10 people you know. -Eds.
Thank you Martha Rynberg, Janine Brito, Nato Green, Kevin Avery, Kevin Camia, Boots Riley, Kevin Kataoka, Yuri Baranovsky, Justin Morrison, Dashiell Reinhardt, Dan Spencer, Keri Smith, and Chuck.

Tell COMEDY LEGEND that we're ready to have another meeting. Or we could just keep it DIYDS!*

*Do it yo damn self!

Kamau's Komedy Korner is a weekly blog column about San Francisco comedy by W. Kamau Bell. Check back next Wednesday for more.

Follow us on Twitter at @ExhibitionistSF and like us on Facebook.

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W. Kamau Bell

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