W. Kamau Bell delightful with serious tone

W. Kamau Bell performing his standup comedy act at Laxon Auditorium on Wednesday night. Photo credit: Kiana Alvarez

On Wednesday, Chico reached 102 degrees Fahrenheit. Nobody seemed to have told W. Kamau Bell though because he brought the heat to Laxson Auditorium with his show, “Ending Racism in About an Hour.”

Bell started out telling funny anecdotes about his wife and daughters before moving into political commentary, describing watching the 2016 presidential candidates as “pulling up Netflix and being like, ‘I’ve seen it all before.’”

He also mentioned seeing President Obama singing “Amazing Grace” was like getting hit in his “black G-spot.”

At one point in the show, Bell gave member of the predominantly white audience simple rules to follow about asking an African-American person about touching their hair:

1) Never

2) Fucking Never

3) Only if you were born with a black face

Later, Bell did a picture compare-and-contrast of Jeremy Lin and Stephen Colbert’s respective Ben and Jerry’s ice cream flavors. He mentions the fact that Lin’s ice cream was made with fortune cookies while Colbert’s was made with fudge and pieces of waffle cone.

“Colbert is from South Carolina” said Bell, “But they don’t make his ice cream with crackers.”

That joke nearly killed the audience.

The night struck a serious chord when Bell talked about the “Black Lives Matter” movement. He shattered the “White Lives Matter” concept by pointing out that white people did not came out in defense of Subway’s Jared Fogle when he was busted for child pornography.

“Race isn’t a real thing,” Bell said. “it’s a social construction to keep people separate.”

He backed up his thesis by showing the different categories of race in the 2010 census and explaining how ridiculous they are, like an old outdated racial slur still being something people can check off.

“We could all fuck up the census by writing in Klingon,” Bell said.

In all the jokes told throughout night, there was similarly deep poignancy working successfully under Bell’s mask of humor.

Asking if W. Kamau Bell ended racism in about an hour would be an asinine endeavor. Of course nobody can end racism all by themself, but he did hopefully change some perspectives about race and inspire others to help him in his mission to end racism once and for all.

George Johnston can be reached at [email protected] or @gjohnston786 on Twitter.