'Totally Biased': W. Kamau Bell gears up 'the machine' for a nightly show
"A year ago, I had never done a weekly show, and I was filled with fear," Bell said Friday (Aug. 2) at the TCA summer press tour. "I was like, I've just got to run at it and see what happens. I ran at it and saw what happened.
"Now they're like, 'OK, now can you a daily show?' 'Oh, you want to fill me with fear again just when I started to feel like I can do a weekly show?' ... Let's see what happens."
The transition to a nightly show, which starts Sept. 4 -- and goes along with a transition to a new channel, FXX, debuting two days earlier -- has meant tripling the production staff of "Totally Biased," Bell says.
"The machine has to be a lot bigger to pull that off," he says. In front of the camera, you'll see some of the show's writers and semi-regular contributors doing more of the man-on-the-street bits that Bell used to do himself.
"I'm excited about that, because I feel like what 'Totally Biased' can be, I've only seen a little bit in the first 26 episodes. I feel like if we're on a daily show, we'll get there a lot faster."
The daily show will run Monday through Thursday nights on FXX, with a "best-of" show airing each Sunday. Bell says episodes will tape a few hours before they air, allowing him to be timely with his jokes and commentary.
"The thing with a weekly show is sometimes you have too much time to think and you talk yourself out of a dangerous idea that you would have just done if you had to do it that night," he says. "The daily show gives us more chances to plan but less time to think, which for comics ... is generally a good thing."