The Awkward Thoughts of W. Kamau Bell: Tales of a 6' 4", African American, Heterosexual, Cisgender, Left-Leaning, Asthmatic, Black and Proud Blerd, Mama's Boy, Dad, and Stand-Up Comedian by W. Kamau Bell

The Awkward Thoughts of W. Kamau Bell: Tales of a 6' 4

You may know W. Kamau Bell from his hit show on CNN. Or maybe you've read about him in The New York Times or The New Yorker, about his intersectional progressivism gimmick: he treats racial, gay, and women's issues as inseparable.The Awkward Thoughts of W. Kamau Bell is a humorous, well-informed take on the world today, tackling a wide range of evergreen issues, such as ra...

Title:The Awkward Thoughts of W. Kamau Bell: Tales of a 6' 4", African American, Heterosexual, Cisgender, Left-Leaning, Asthmatic, Black and Proud Blerd, Mama's Boy, Dad, and Stand-Up Comedian
Author:
Rating:
ISBN:1101985879
Edition Language:English
Format Type:Hardcover
Number of Pages:352 pages

The Awkward Thoughts of W. Kamau Bell: Tales of a 6' 4", African American, Heterosexual, Cisgender, Left-Leaning, Asthmatic, Black and Proud Blerd, Mama's Boy, Dad, and Stand-Up Comedian Reviews

  • Carol
    Apr 29, 2017

    Thanks, Dutton, for sending me an ARC!

    While I initially wanted to read this because I wanted to learn more about Kamau, I quickly realized that this was way more than just another comedian's memoir. Race, racism, and politics are heavily threaded throughout and I'm on board. He's also candid about his experiences in stand-up and in the entertainment industry, which really opened my eyes to not just how completely screwed up the showrunning/writing relationship can be, but also how representation

    Thanks, Dutton, for sending me an ARC!

    While I initially wanted to read this because I wanted to learn more about Kamau, I quickly realized that this was way more than just another comedian's memoir. Race, racism, and politics are heavily threaded throughout and I'm on board. He's also candid about his experiences in stand-up and in the entertainment industry, which really opened my eyes to not just how completely screwed up the showrunning/writing relationship can be, but also how representation is in the entertainment industry is just as important as in every other working environment.

    Takeaways: you have to do more than just show up, though obviously that's a good place to start if you haven't already. You've got to speak out, especially to friends and family. Maybe you won't change their minds right away but planting seeds of truth can work over time to affect change. If you're already organizing and getting your voice heard, you've gotta do more and expect less (less sleep, or leisure time, etc.).

    Further thoughts: I really want to meet Janet Cheatham Bell.

    Also: Doc McStuffins all the way!

    In the back of the galley Kamau notes that the final version of this book will have more on the current administration and political situation, of which I'm very much looking forward to. I'll update this review after I've read the final publication.

  • Billie
    Mar 01, 2017

    I am a fan of Bell's work and, as such, was really looking forward to reading this. BUT, I am totally going to be a asshole here and say that, even for an ARC, this book was riddled with too many errors. The essays are smart and thoughtful and funny, but the need for proofreading and copy editing really got distracting and took away from my appreciation of Bell's message.

  • Remi
    May 17, 2017

    I hate to write this because I like Bell and how (sorry to use the overused) #woke and intersectional he is, but I was so unimpressed. There wasn't a single laugh-out-loud moment for me, not a single enraging moment (when he talked about prejudice), nothing really stood out for me. Which sucks because his book is about how he deals with coming up short in his comedy career. I wanted to like this book but it was middling.

  • Fran
    May 14, 2017

    W. Kamau Bell has written his thoughts and ruminations for our examination. He describes being the only child of two awesome parents. Although his parents separated when he was two years old, both parents impacted his life in the best possible way. Kamau's mother conversed with him as an equal even from a young age. His father's mantra was that nobody can beat hard work.

    Kamau grew up loving superheroes, especially Spiderman and The Hulk. Wearing a Spiderman red and blue mask or the "greenness" o

    W. Kamau Bell has written his thoughts and ruminations for our examination. He describes being the only child of two awesome parents. Although his parents separated when he was two years old, both parents impacted his life in the best possible way. Kamau's mother conversed with him as an equal even from a young age. His father's mantra was that nobody can beat hard work.

    Kamau grew up loving superheroes, especially Spiderman and The Hulk. Wearing a Spiderman red and blue mask or the "greenness" of the Hulk made him feel that he could rise up against bullies. He could have been any ethnicity under the superhero garb!

    Bruce Lee and Martial Arts were favorites. Bruce Lee's famous quote "Absorb what is useful, discard what is useless, and add what is specifically your own" are words that helped Kamau expand his idea of what was possible to achieve. He watched Martial Arts movies that showed the underdog winning by traveling the high ground, the path less taken by many individuals.

    Kamau explains that his mother had a stark sense of humor, often using jokes if times were hard. He got into comedy himself to share his weird thoughts. Weird thoughts on dating. Do your body parts match up? Will they work well together? Where have you been all my life?

    "The Awkward Thoughts of W. Kamau Bell" by W. Kamau Bell is the author's way of navigating his path through life. His comedy is his method of questioning himself and the world at large.

    Thank you Penguin Group Dutton and Net Galley for the opportunity to read and review "The Awkward Thoughts of W. Kamau Bell".

  • Roxane
    May 06, 2017

    Very good collection of essays. Part memoir. Part riffs on Bell's interests. Part cultural criticism. The essays all have a meandering quality as if the writer is sitting next to you, telling you a good story. He is particularly good at showing his growth personally and professionally. Lots of warmth and heart and intelligence here.

  • Trish
    Jun 11, 2017

    Think it's probably best I don't rate this because it didn't work for me at all. I'd never heard of Bell before, and I couldn't figure out why I was spending time listening to him. He taught me something: I'd never heard of Cisgender before, though his explanation flew by before I caught it. It means "denoting or relating to a person whose sense of personal identity and gender corresponds with their birth sex." Seems like we're doing an awful lot of talk about one's personal sexual life these da

    Think it's probably best I don't rate this because it didn't work for me at all. I'd never heard of Bell before, and I couldn't figure out why I was spending time listening to him. He taught me something: I'd never heard of Cisgender before, though his explanation flew by before I caught it. It means "denoting or relating to a person whose sense of personal identity and gender corresponds with their birth sex." Seems like we're doing an awful lot of talk about one's personal sexual life these days...I'm not at all sure it improves the conversation.

    Anyway, Bell writes for a TV show called

    which sounds like something I would like, but...I don't know if Bell was trying to be funny in this memoir, but nothing he said struck me as funny. Anyway, the more listening we do when someone speaks about race is all to the good.

  • Colona Public Library
    Jun 08, 2017

    I loved W. Kamau Bell's show on CNN, and when I learned he had written a book I had to read it. Kamau talks about his childhood, his early standup career, and his family life. In between each chapter, he gives his opinion on such things as superheroes, sports, Denzel Washington, Creed the movie, the election, etc. He talks about some serious issues in a comedic way that I personally enjoy. If you like him or his show, I suggest you read this book.

    ~April

  • Karen Ashmore
    Jun 18, 2017

    Definitely a fun book by one of my favorite sociopolitical comedians. I saw him perform in Denver and have been a fan of his TV shows and podcasts. The memoir fills in a lot of details behind this interesting black man.

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