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Winter TCA: W. Kamau Bell gets talk-show lessons from Chris Rock

January 09, 2013|By Greg Braxton
  • Executive producer Chris Rock, left, is W. Kamau Bell's first guest on "Totally Biased With W. Kamau Bell."
Executive producer Chris Rock, left, is W. Kamau Bell's first guest… (FX )

W. Kamau Bell, host of FX's "Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell," said he is trying to get more comfortable as the star of the late-night entry.

"I'm still in the learning curve," he said during a session for the FX series at the winter Television Critics Assn. press tour. "Nobody is born to be a talk show host."

Injected executive producer Chrs Rock: "Regis."

Bell laughed. "OK, there's Regis. It's a bunch of separate skills."

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He said he's getting the most help in the area from Rock, who is not only a veteran comedian but also has also hosted a late-night talk show. The two talk frequently about current events and the topics that the show tackles.

Rock said, "I'm trying to get him out of his young comic head, and to embrace comedy as a whole. I'm also trying him in other ways. Having a show like this is like being a CEO. I'm trying to get him to be a good boss."

The show was launched during the election season when much of the comedy revolved around the presidential race. "It was the best time to get on the air," Bell said. "But it's very exciting not to have to talk about Romney and Obama. I look forward to the show stretching out."

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Gun control may be a topic that comes up. When a reporter alluded to one of Rock's jokes several years about how guns should be free, but bullets should be $5,000, Rock said that gun owners often defend their right to own arms by saying they want to protect property, but most of those who go on killing sprees live with their mother.

Said Rock: "You should have to have a mortgage to buy a gun. No one with a mortgage has ever gone on a spree. A mortgage is a true background check. And if you go to jail for 30 years, you still have to pay the mortgage."

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