Emmy-award winning satirist coming to SBCC Garvin Theatre


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JON VREELAND, Channels Staff

W. Kamau Bell, comedian, political satirist and host of CNN’s hits series “United Shades of America,” will host City College’s 26th annual Leonardo Dorantes Memorial Lecture.

The lecture will be held at 12:45 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 9 at the Garvin Theatre. Bell will speak about the vitality of understanding cultural differences in modern society. He will do so through his act he calls, “The W. Kamau Bell Curve: Ending Racism in about an hour.” It is a solo-performance comprised of stand-up comedy, video and audio clips,and experiential stories.

“It’s a really important lecture series we hold every November,” said Amy Collins, student program adviser. “We try and bring guests so the students can learn about racial and cultural diversity.”

The SBCC Foundation started the annual memorial in 1991, the year after Leonardo Dorantes, a Mexican immigrant and second year City College student, was murdered on State Street because of his Mexican heritage. The memorial was created with aspirations of cultivating racial and ethnic diversity in Santa Barbara, and to address serious matters such as racial violence.

“The Garvin holds 380 people, and we expect it to be a packed house,” said Cindy Salazar, one of the event’s coordinators and administrative assistant to Dr. Christopher Johnson, associate dean of educational programs.

Every year City College invites a different speaker to host the memorial lecture. Past speakers such as Father Gary Boyle, executive director of Homeboy Industries, Reyna Grande, author, speaker, and educator, and Erin Gruwell, educator and author of “Freedom Writers Diary,” are some of the most recent guests who have hosted the annual event.

Bell, who the New York Times deems “the most promising new talent in political comedy in many years,” was known for his very brief FX comedy series, “Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell.” Since then Bell has made a major impact with his new Emmy nominated series, and his writing has been published in VanityFair.com, Salon, MSNBC.com, Buzzfeed, and the Hollywood Reporter.

After the lecture there will be an hour long reception at the Garvin Theatre, where Bell will spend an hour talking to anyone who wants to talk with the comedian, who Punchline Magazine calls, “one of our nation’s most adept racial commentators with a blistering wit.”

An additional 25 chairs will be outside in the lobby for potential overflow. The doors will open at 12:15 p.m. and is free of charge.