For a couple of years now, W. Kamau Bell has been primarily focused on his critically acclaimed CNN series United Shades of America. Just in case you forgot, Bell is a very fun stand-up to watch even though he’s a very overtly political comedian (having a warm, inviting demeanor might be a good place to start when doing effective political comedy these days).
His new hour Private School Negro is a great reminder how jubilant and jovial Kamau can be while delving into potentially divisive material and still make it all work. Even though he spends several minutes on a bit focused on Trump undeniably being a racist (and his supporters who say you can’t really call him a racist), it’s done up in such a playful way that those exhausted on Trump humor might still enjoy it.
Another way that Kamau deals with talking about politics and race so well in this special is that he brings humanity to it, specifically in sharing stories about raising his daughters who are biracial. It’s both sweet and offers perspective in what is, often times, mostly an ideological fight.
All in all, Kamau has made a political comedy special that is very much of the time, but, thankfully, has some legitimate hope in it.
W. Kamau Bell: Private School Negro is now streaming on Netflix.