W. Kamau Bell, a new CNN host, joined Don Lemon on his program on Tuesday to poke fun of the Iowa State Fair. Lemon touted Bell's "visit to one of the whitest places in America." The former Current TV correspondent, who hosted a show on the FX network named Totally Biased, cracked that people at the fair were "taking pictures of me. I don't think it's because I'm famous. It's because I'm a black dude." [video below]
Bell, a "socio-political comedian," led his pre-recorded segment from the annual event (in a state that's 91.3 percent white, according to the 2010 census) with his pictures remark, and continued with clips from his encounters with Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee and Democratic presidential candidate Martin O'Malley. Bell asked Huckabee, "I'm a black dude from Berkeley, California – sell me; sell me." He also pointed out that O'Malley has "had his own problems connecting with black voters....So, I'm going to try to help him out by teaching him a black man hand shake."
The new CNN personality spent the rest of the segment walking around the livestock portion of the fair (where he found "Ku Klux lambs") and sampling the "inappropriately deep fried" food. At the end of the pre-recorded segment, Lemon turned to Bell and asked, "In all seriousness, what was it like being at the fair as, probably, the only – one of the only black men there?" He joked, "Well, no, there were seven I was told. Everybody said there were seven black people in Iowa. We just weren't allowed to hang out together. Apparently, there's an ordinance against that." He added that "they're all very nice people. They eat a lot of that food. That food slows you down. And they need to start to look at things like Jeb Bush and go, that makes sense. Donald Trump, that makes sense."
After Lemon asked about if there was "support for Trump" at the state fair (the new host labeled the billionaire the "the Kanye West of Iowa"), the anchor ended the interview. Bell signed off with a joking "miniature black power fist."
Back in October 2012, the former FX personality mocked Mitt Romney on CNN's Starting Point program, and gushed that President Obama is "like a Swiss army knife. There's rock star Barack. There's Professor Barack. There's singing Barack. There's sexy Barack."
The full transcript of W. Kamau Bell segment from Tuesday's CNN Tonight:
DON LEMON: Tonight, a visit to one of the whitest places in America, maybe – and here to take you there is the newest member of the CNN family, W. Kamau Bell, socio-political comedian – socio-political comedian-
W. KAMAU BELL, SOCIO-POLITICAL COMEDIAN: That's right-
LEMON: And host of upcoming CNN series, 'United Shades of America.' I want you to take a look at this.
BELL (from pre-recorded segment): Here we are at the Iowa State Fair. They never have 'Kamau.' They never have 'Kamau.'
BELL (voice-over): People are taking pictures of me. I don't think it's because I'm famous. It's because I'm a black dude. There's apparently – like, livestock walking around. It's all about the food and the politics.
Now that I'm with CNN, I get my first assignment: interviewing one of the Republican presidential candidates. Nope, not Trump – I'm the new guy.
BELL (on-camera): Waiting for, I guess, Mike Huckabee to come out here.
BELL (voice-over): But, before I make my CNN debut, I make my C-SPAN debut.
BELL (from C-SPAN footage): I'm a black dude from Berkeley, California – sell me; sell me. (Huckabee laughs)
MIKE HUCKABEE, REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I believe in treating everybody the same, regardless of who they are and where they come from. And I'd love to have your vote.
BELL: You'd love to have my vote?
HUCKABEE: I'd love it-
BELL: I'm going to think about it. I'm going to think about it.
HUCKABEE: If you think about a lot-
HUCKABEE: And, you know, you just engage, I can see what happens. You're going to say that's my guy.
BELL (voice-over): Hmmm, let me think. Nah.
MARTIN O'MALLEY, DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE (from campaign rally at the Iowa State Fair): We are Americans-
BELL: Next, a Democrat, Martin O'Malley – he's had his own problems connecting with black voters.
O'MALLEY (from Netroots Nation conference): Black lives matter, white lives matter, all lives matter.
BELL: So, I'm going to try to help him out by teaching him a black man hand shake.
BELL (on-camera): Finish off the handshake – if you're going to hold it, we got to do this, and this, and this, this. All right – there we go; there we go.
BELL (voice-over): Man, that was awkward.
Now, off to see some livestock – who are soon to be dead-stock.
BELL (on-camera): Apparently, we got some Ku Klux lambs.
What is the competition that I'm in the middle of exactly?
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN 1: So, you were at the market lamb show.
BELL: Market lamb show-
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN 1: And what we are doing is we're showing the lambs, and we're looking for muscle quality for lambs that go into the food market.
BELL: These are food lamb?
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN 1: Yes. You're going to eat this.
BELL: I mean, I like them a little bit more well done than this. I was like, oh, this is like the adorable lamb show.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN 1: This is your dinner.
BELL: This is dinner lamb?
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN 1: Yes.
BELL: And now, it's time for something inappropriately deep fried. Are they heart healthy?
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN 2: Oh, yes! They're the best!
BELL: They're like – they're kind of like kale a little bit I hear?
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN 2: Yes, yes! They're the best, number-one weight loss food ever!
BELL: Okay! (laughs)
BELL (voice-over): While politics divides us, food shoved on sticks brings us all together. Pork on stick 2016.
BELL (on-camera): What do you have to say about the Iowa State Fair?
UNIDENTIFIED CHILD 1: It's awesome.
BELL: Are you – are you going to eat anything? (laughs) Yay!
UNIDENTIFIED CHILD 1: That's why I'm going to eat!
LEMON (live): So, I know you thought the food was good. I can see the expression on your face. But, seriously, what was – in all seriousness, what was it like being at the fair as, probably, the only – one of the only black men there?
BELL: Well, no, there were seven I was told. Everybody said there were seven black people in Iowa. We just weren't allowed to hang out together. Apparently, there's an ordinance against that. But, you know, they're all very nice people. They eat a lot of that food. That food slows you down. And they need to start to look at things like Jeb Bush and go, that makes sense. Donald Trump, that makes sense.
LEMON: (laughs) Was there a lot of support – was there support for Trump? I've got to run quickly. Was there any support for Trump there – a lot?
BELL: Oh, yeah, he's – he's the Kanye West of Iowa. He's a rock star.
LEMON: (laughs) All right. I appreciate it. Thank you, sir.
BELL: Thank you. Miniature black power fist-
LEMON: (laughs) Thank you, W-
BELL (holding up fists): This one is for Don – here, we'll do it – this one is for Don; this one is for me.
LEMON: All right. Thank you, brother. I appreciate it. And again, welcome to CNN, and we'll see you here on CNN soon.