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:
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ISBN:1101985879
Edition Language:English
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

  • Melissa

    I saw this book at the library, I'd seen commercials for his show on CNN, but never watched, but the book looked interesting so I checked it out. It didn't take long until I knew I needed to buy this for myself and as an audiobook so I could hear these stories in his own voice. Excellent all the way through, from his growing up stories, to his career stories, but especially all those little moments throughout that speak to sexism, racism, genderism, and so much more that make this crazy complex

    I saw this book at the library, I'd seen commercials for his show on CNN, but never watched, but the book looked interesting so I checked it out. It didn't take long until I knew I needed to buy this for myself and as an audiobook so I could hear these stories in his own voice. Excellent all the way through, from his growing up stories, to his career stories, but especially all those little moments throughout that speak to sexism, racism, genderism, and so much more that make this crazy complex country and world we live in. I'll definitely be checking out the next season of his show, and taking his advice on a few things.

  • Billie

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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.

  • Karen Ashmore

    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.

  • Dawn Livingston

    I stumbled over United Shades of America on tv and found it interesting then saw this book in my local library on the new shelves.

    The book reads like Bell speaks and that was good, I didn't find it hard to read and the familiarity was reassuring. He came across on paper as he does in USoA... likeable, laid-back, smart. His book was very thought provoking and it left me at times amused, confused, frustrated. His book made me want to talk to him, or someone, regarding the racism he deals with and

    I stumbled over United Shades of America on tv and found it interesting then saw this book in my local library on the new shelves.

    The book reads like Bell speaks and that was good, I didn't find it hard to read and the familiarity was reassuring. He came across on paper as he does in USoA... likeable, laid-back, smart. His book was very thought provoking and it left me at times amused, confused, frustrated. His book made me want to talk to him, or someone, regarding the racism he deals with and his point of view. I learned a new word, cisgender. I read the word "cracker" to refer to white people twice. I read "white devil" used to refer to a white person once. I learned about "white privilege" which I kind of believe.

    I got to around page 258 and was thinking about quitting because I wasn't enjoying the book anymore, it had become like a pebble in the shoe. But then Bell doesn't want you to necessarily enjoy the book, he wants you to be motivated to act against racism so if he gets under your skin all the better I'm guessing.

    Well, he has some points, he was no more or less funny than he is in USoA, he talks more about his comedy career than interested me. The book was worthwhile if you want to learn more about the author, a career in comedy, racism. It may challenge you, it may aggravate you, you might feel as if he's preaching to the choir. You'll only know for sure if you read it.

    I won't buy it or likely read it again.

    Now that I think of it, I actually need another kind of book that I don't think Bell could write. I live in Cleveland, Ohio where the city is mostly black/colored/etc. and I'm white. How do I talk to a young black man, sometimes a teen that looks through me when I say hello, like I'm dirt? Maybe he's so stunned to be greeted by a white female that that he's speechless? How do I deal with my hate of seeing young black men with their pants hanging down showing their underwear, sometimes even most of their butts. How do I deal with the person in a car with rap blasting usually including swear words? How do I handle black men who call another black person the n word. I HATE that. It just makes my blood boil. These things really get under my skin. I know I'm racist but how do I deal with these things that drive me nuts that I associate with black people.

    Oh, and I tried to listen to both Jay-Z and Tupac to try to figure out what people see in them but the swearing is a real turn off, too hard to get beyond that but I'm guessing that I'm an exception. I just don't swear much and don't like it in the music I listen to especially when it's b!tches, the n word, the f word and mf. Don't get me wrong, I've listened to songs with swearing but I can't think of one off-hand and it's not extreme swearing like I mentioned above. I just don't get hip hop and rap and probably never will. They can be as poetic and clever as they want but the swearing... And it seems that rap and hip hop glorify "thug life". I'm not 100% sure what that means but it doesn't sound positive. It seems to make the criminal the hero and the cop the villain. I can kind of understand considering I do believe that black people have been treated unfairly because they are black but if there is no respect for law enforcement then doesn't that lead to chaos, lawlessness? So many frustrations, aggravations, but the book still has me thinking after having finished the book three weeks ago. Maybe I need to go to some kind of something where black and white can discuss things without guns being drawn. No idea what that is or where it is so that's the end of that.

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