W. KAMAU BELL

SF Bay Area, so… umm… I’m back. ‘Zat cool?

So I live in the Bay Area now (again). Yup. after two-ish years of living in New York City, we are back. I say “we” because the main reason I moved back is because we, as a family, knew it was best for us. My wife is very pregnant with our second child, a daughter. (YAY! Maybe some of the credits I earned from my first daughter will transfer over!) And our O.D. (Original Daughter) is now three years old, which means it’s time for school to begin. The kind of school with book learnin’, propaganda about 2+2, and the white-man’s sentence structure. So the next few months are going to be hectic for me and my family for lots and lots (and lots) of reasons, and the idea of having a kid in NYC just started driving us crazy. In our two years in NYC we hadn’t had the time (or opportunity) to dig our roots down deep enough to have a community of family and friends large enough for us to feel good about having a second kid there. Whereas in The Bay, my wife’s entire immediate family and 90% of her closest friends are within 2 hours. And after living in The Bay for 15 years, many of my best friends are here. All of whom are in part responsible (and continue to be so) for the adultification of W. Kamau Bell.*

I could only imagine what it might have been like for us to live in NYC and have a baby. Calling one of our handful of friends to come over to help and hearing, “Ummm… I’d love to but I’m way out in Brooklyn and I don’t think the G Train is running today.” Not to mention that when we went to an obstetrician in NYC and my wife mentioned some of the natural childbirth methods she used during her first pregnancy, the doctor had a look on her face like she had sucked on a dozen lemons while my wife tried to sell her on Jesus Christ as her personal lord and savior.**

Also, as I’ve said many times, in print, on audio, and in the flesh, The Bay Area is my happy place. And after two years (three if you count the lead-up) of being picked-up, chewed up, swallowed up, and ultimately spit up by Totally Biased, I could use some happy place in my life. Now, I know The Bay Area has changed in dramatic ways in just those two years. (The lights on The Bay Bridge… Even hipsters are mad about gentrification… The entire country knows Oakland is cool now… Google bought MUNI and now it’s free. — Am I getting that right?) But I still feel like it is the best place for me to feel like myself again. I have no idea how The Bay will feel (or if it will even care) about my return, but to me — not to get all Lebron James-y on ya — it’s home. Which is incredibly weird because when I moved to The Bay in 1997 it was just supposed to be a stop gap (a place to hone my craft) on my way fame and fortune in LA. (Oops.)

And yes, I love NYC as much as any t-shirt does, but honestly it got tainted by the show. For me, everything in NYC was due to, because of, and ultimately the fault of the show. It was hard to see having a life there that wasn’t a spinoff of the show. And to the many friends I made in NYC, sorry about springing this on you. I’ve never been good at goodbyes. And also sorry if I’ve been hard to reach. It’s been crazypants*** around these parts. And I’ll be back your way often.

So, now I’m back in The Bay being another one of those weirdos who think you can make things happen from here.**** But mostly I think I wrote this, just in case my Bay Area people see me in the streets more often than they are accustomed to they can know I’m not lost; I’m home.*****

* Please don’t sue me Lauryn Hill.

** OK, I may be overselling this slightly.
*** My fingers are circling around my head.
**** Looking at you, Boots Riley!
***** Cue that song the ESPN played over and over (and over) again for Lebron.

20 Responses to SF Bay Area, so… umm… I’m back. ‘Zat cool?

  1. jenn says:

    awww…boo… it sounds like 100% the right decision for you guys. yet as someone who lived in the bay area for 15 years, having been in NYC for 4, it was so glorious to see you perform here and get to feel a little slice of home. i guess i’ll just have to make sure i time my travel to the bay for whenever you’re performing. good luck!

  2. jenn says:

    awww…boo… it sounds like 100% the right decision for you guys. yet as someone who lived in the bay area for 15 years, having been in NYC for 4, it was so glorious to see you perform here and get to feel a little slice of home. (yes i was that one person in the new york crowd laughing at that joke that everyone in SF would just get.) i guess i’ll just have to make sure i time my travel to the bay for whenever you’re performing. good luck!

  3. Maria Allain says:

    Welcome home! You know SF is fucked up when the original hipster gentrifiers are up in arms. Nothing like artisanal fury to get white people’s panties in a bunch.

  4. Sue Katz says:

    With Bruce watching over your shoulder, it should all work out in the Bay Area. I was a big fan of Totally Biased and I look forward to whatever you’ll get up to next. Good luck.

  5. Merri Busch says:

    Earth is your home, WKB. Congrats on the daughter. You are just a little ahead of your time. Think of it as like Ellen when her show got cancelled when she came out. Now look at her. You are a brilliant mind and comedian. Keep inventing yourself. I am a fat 56 y/o menopausal white lady, and if I love you (and the world class global citizen comedians you promoted on your show), you KNOW other people do to!

  6. Reevyn Aronson says:

    I’m so happy for you. My husband and I watched every episode of Totally Biased and really looked forward to your humor. This is coming from a 66 and 67 yr old white couple who have lived in Redwood City since 1980. My husband was born in Walnut Creek and I moved to San Francisco from New Orleans in 1973. We’re both progressive liberals and enjoyed you ripping on the right wing idiots that want to take over this country. We have raised our 2 daughters here and I couldn’t think of ever living in a red state. My 2 girls know that while they are single, it would be impossible to ever date a republican because all hell would break out. I hope we can see you perform live some time and I’ll delight in reading your emails until then. Best of luck with the new baby and congratulations moving back to the bay area. Except for the drought, it is the best place in the country to be.
    Sincerely,
    Reevyn Aronson Pinger

  7. David Fort says:

    WELCOLM BACK!!! The show was hot and I was glad to work with you and KEVIN and the rest of the crew on Four black men on a beautiful day!! Good Luck with everything else you get into. Hope to see you at one of these comedy clubs they still pop around these parts.

  8. Shannon says:

    Of course we care. Welcome back! We loved your show. KRON 4 is a step up from anything associated with Fox, so hopefully we’ll see you there soon!

  9. Pia says:

    When I first skimmer the title, I thought you were saying “SF Bay Area, so I’m black, dat ok?” Which made total sense to me due to the white-ification of SF in recent years. Literally black people are bring pushed out. I’m glad you are back and glad you are black.

  10. Francie says:

    Wishing you and family a soft landing back in the Bay Area. Glad you’re coming home!

  11. Josh says:

    Happy to have you back, happier that you are looking out for your family’s happiness and well-being. I wish you success in every way cuz you deserve it. I still remember your “farewell” show with all those local comedians.. Best comedy show I’ve been to, honestly. So whenever you’re ready, get together your bay friends and go for it!

  12. Susan says:

    YAHOOO!!! Welcome home, Kamau and family! This is wonderfully exciting news. And hey, if you need an awesome babysitter, I happen to know/live with a couple of ‘em.

  13. Abbie White says:

    Hi W. Kamau Bell,

    It’s your best friendly pest, BFP! I still live in the Pacific Northwest but I travel down back home at least once or twice a year or more when I can. I will try to plan my next trip to see your stand up show again. Remember, my friends and I sat in the first two rows at The New Parish in Oakland for my birthday, around March 21st! You are really incredible. It just seems like every word out of your mouth is what I would have said or want to say! I know you’re doing three gigs up here in Seattle finally!! They are all at Bumbershoot over Labor Day Weekend. One each on Fri, Sat, and Sun. But can you tell me what time of day or evening you will be there?

    I still would like you to come and perform at Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute in Seattle as well. I really think you would draw a great crowd there. But please contact me if you can and want to meet up after one of your gigs at Bumbershoot. Some of us want to get together with you, have dinner and discuss the future possibilities of you doing a gig at LHPAI!

    I will email your agent as well. I miss you and can’t wait til Labor Day weekend!

    Thx so much,

    Abbie White
    Originally from Berkeley :))
    Now in Seattle, WA

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