FX continued its experiment in late-night comedy Thursday night with the premiere of "Totally Biased With W. Kamau Bell," filling the spot previously occupied by "Brand X, With Russell Brand." With their short runs and running times — six half hours spread out over as many weeks — there is something tentative about these shows, almost as if they are auditioning for some more substantial, nightly show to come.
For Brand, his month and a half in late night had the look of a lark, whose success or failure will have meant nothing much in the arc of his already established career. For Bell, it is potentially a step to bigger things
He will be an unknown quantity to most viewers, though he has been at this comedy thing for a while now, working out of the Bay Area, where he blogs for the SF Weekly ("Kamau's Komedy Korner") and developed his one-man show, "The W. Kamau Bell Curve: Ending Racism in About an Hour," which drew the interest of Chris Rock, an executive producer of "Totally Biased" and its first guest. (Longtime Rock associate Chuck Sklar is the series' head writer.)
Typically, for topicality, the show tapes the day of broadcast. Bell's first subject was Olympian Gabby Douglas, both Twitter-tweeted complaints about her hair and Bob Costas' suggestion that her success might inspire other African-American girls to give gymnastics a try — "I love you, Bob Costas," said Bell, "but it isn't 1968 anymore — everybody can be inspired by Gabby Douglas."