CultureSaturday 02.26.22

Making a Doc About Bill Cosby Was Scary: W. Kamau Bell

Before W. Kamau Bell decided to tackle Bill Cosby’s legacy in his new documentary series We Need to Talk About Cosby, he worried that dredging up the topic might damage his career. In this segment of Hell & High Water with John Heilemann, Bell talks about the risk he took of becoming radioactive by scrutinizing such a beloved figure, who used to be known as “America’s Dad.” The subject, he explains, is particularly loaded given America’s racially fraught history and Cosby’s image as a positive role model for Black people. He also speculates as to why many of the comedians he reached out to declined to appear in the series.

Click here to watch and learn more about W. Kamau Bell’s documentary, Cosby’s role in integrating primetime television, on-screen and off, and more broadly as a progressive force in American race relations; his unexpected late-career pivot into a hectoring, respectability politics scold; and Bell’s assessments of some of today’s greatest working stand-up comics, including Chris Rock and Dave Chappelle.

Hell & High Water