For a long time, W. Kamau Bell’s fear was that he would complete his career in comedy and remain anonymous. Then, Chris Rock took notice of his one-man show, and they teamed up to create the television series Totally Biased. Bell moved across the country to New York with his wife and baby for his new job. But the show was cancelled after a year and a half.
Bell realized staying in New York with his family would be a struggle. “We were living in an apartment that was rented by a guy who had a TV show, and suddenly when that guy didn’t have a TV show, it was like, ‘We can’t afford this apartment.’”
Now, back in the Bay Area with his wife and two young daughters, Bell is in the midst of rebooting his comedy career, which has required time away on the road. He is weighing what kinds of career sacrifices he’s willing to make for his family, while being realistic about the money he needs to bring in. “My personal challenge of 2015 is to figure out a way to work hard enough to earn more money than I did in the previous year, but also still feel like I’m an attentive parent and husband,” he told me.
Bell and his wife Melissa Hudson Bell will be at our upcoming live show for RadioLoveFest at BAM in Brooklyn on May 8.