What began as a six episode experiment on Aug. 9, came to a close on
Thursday Sept. 20. In a collaborative effort with Chris Rock, little
known comedian W. Kamau Bell got his own show on the FX network called Totally Biased.
Considering that the majority of subject material has been a scathing
political commentary of the right, the title was a fitting choice. Bell
somehow managed to make the Daily Show's Jon Stewart look bipartisan by comparison.
A revolving door of outspoken liberals showed up for interviews in every episode. Knowing full well that not many people were watching, they all shared how they really felt. The pilot started with executive producer and good friend Chris Rock. One of Bell's first questions for him wondered why it is so difficult for comedians to make a joke about the president. Rock responded by comparing Barack Obama to Brad Pitt.
"They say that comedians don't want to criticize Obama because he's on the left. But he's just too cool. He's just one of those guys it's hard to make jokes about. You know what I mean? He's like Brad Pitt. Like Brad Pitt has been making movies for 20 years. You ain't never heard a Brad Pitt joke. You don't hear them. What you going to say? Oh, you handsome bastard with your fine wife."
The second and third episodes featured MSNBC's very own Rachel Maddow and Alex Wagner respectively. A couple days after Mitt Romney selected Paul Ryan as his running mate, Bell asked Maddow what she thought of him.
"I think that Paul Ryan is unfamous...The Republicans were sort of really excited that the National Review and the Weekly Standard and Fox News would like him. That's not the world. That's a very big part of their very small world. I think they're shocked that anybody finds killing Medicare to be at all controversial. In their world, Paul Ryan is a hunk and not at all controversial and the obvious choice. Now he's in the world and has to sell that message to the country. May have helped them solidify the base, but the base is not the country. The country votes. I think it will hurt him (Romney)."
One week later, Alex Wagner had the privilege of making her appearance right after the controversial comments that Todd Akin made about the rarity of pregnancy after 'legitimate rape'. Setting her up for it, Bell asked Wagner if she thought Akin is representative of the Republican party.
"Todd Akin is incredibly representative of the Republican party. The best way I can put it for the Republican party, it's been midnight in America and the Republican party has been at the refrigerator pounding marshmallow fluff and cookie dough and didn't think anybody would notice. The Republican party is fat and ugly and they have marshmallow all over their face. They have been passing these laws -- this is what they've been doing in congress. They've been fooling around with this mumbo jumbo non-science, the attacks on women's healthcare and reproductive rights. And they didn't think anybody would notice. Guess what? People are noticing. We have Todd Akin to thank for a lot of that."
Admitting that she is a proud member of the left-leaning media, Wagner then wondered out loud how anyone could be "agnostic about the two visions for the country." Bell replied that our two options this November are the "angry pro-life white Mormon or the black guy." Wagner expanded on the notion that voting the incumbent out of office would be a huge mistake.
"Yeah. I can't choose. Maybe I'll have contraception for a prescription or a transvaginal ultrasound when I go to the doctor. I'm a person of color. Do I want to be persecuted and racially targeted, or do I want a chance at voting in November? It's not that deep."
The Republican National Convention was coming to a close when the fourth episode aired at the end of August. Bell repeatedly accused the delegates in Tampa of being racist and bigoted, but then he proceeded to make fun of the former Democratic congressman from Alabama Artur Davis. Following a clip in which Davis proclaimed that he was right where he belongs, Bell ridiculed Davis for his naivety.
"Whoa, Whoa there -- they're not happy to see you, they're just glad you parked their cars in the right place. C'mon man! They're not welcoming you, they're just using you to put a face on their anti-black agenda. You're the magical negro, minus the magic! Artur, how light-skinned do you think you are?"
Political activist Kevin Powell stopped by to talk about his experience with conventions back when he was contributing to multiple publications like the Washington Post, Newsweek, Esquire, and Rolling Stone. When asked about the Republican convention he attended eight years, he detailed why he plans to never go back to one.
"I felt like I had to take three showers every night. I mean, why lie? Let me say this, I love all people, I don't care what your race, your gender, your sexual orientation, your faith. And so the America that I believe in is where we're all sisters and brothers, I cannot sit there and watch people lie about what they represent. They keep saying they want to take the country back. That means you want to take back civil rights, you're going to take away the rights of women, you don't believe in gay marriage. If you're not Christian, if you're Jewish or Muslim or some other faith than somehow you're less of an American? That's just unacceptable to me."
Bell saved his most subversive interview for the finale on Sept. 20. Fellow comic Janeane Garafalo has made a name for herself for her opinionated political rants advocating for progressivism and radical feminism. After making some reference to the overt racism of voter ID laws, she wondered how anyone in their right mind could be a conservative.
"What I saw at the convention, the Republican convention, what you're seeing is all the pathologies that afflict the human condition. Um, celebrated in a big way. Whatever your issue is in your personality if you are frightened of the other, if you don't like the ladies, if you don't want to pay taxes and want to keep all your money or you're just straight up stupid, that's not all of them -- that's not all of them."
She continued, getting even more vicious. Bell had to cut her off in the end, or she would've kept going.
"When you see a person of color or gay person or anyone from the LGBT community or female in the conservative movement, I don't know if it's Stockholm Syndrome or I don't know what -- Eva Braun Syndrome, whatever Hitler's girlfriend. But the thing is, like when people say they don't want to say they're feminist. So what your saying is you're against equity? You're against social justice? You're against fairness?"
Despite mediocre ratings and mixed reviews, Totally Biased will reportedly continue on Oct. 11 with another 7 episodes -- just as election season is truly heating up.