Tonight is the debut of the final season of the Anthony Bourdain series Parts Unknown on CNN, and the first episode features another CNN host, W. Kamau Bell, who joined Bourdain on a trip to Kenya, which was Bell’s first trip to Africa.
Vanity Fair reports that now after Bourdain’s suicide, Bell is reflecting on his relationship with the celebrity chef, and about life itself.
“I learned a long time ago that you’ve gotta tell the people in your life who are important that they’re important because you never know when they’re going to disappear.”
Bell says that he and Bourdain were overlooking some of the most beautiful scenery ever captured on Parts Unknown and Bell talked about his luck to travel and learn at the side of the chef, who then confessed that he never thought he’d have made it out of his youth.
“I cannot fu**ing believe I get to do this or see this. Forty-four years old and dunking fries, I knew with absolute certainty I’d never see Rome, much less this.”
After Bourdain’s suicide, Bell says he considers it an amazing thing that this conversation was captured on film, which is bittersweet.
“He evolved into a kind of cultural anthropologist,” said Bourdain's producing partner Lydia Tenaglia https://t.co/ArChi2m59c— Variety (@Variety) September 23, 2018
Bell talked about the trip at the Tribeca TV Festival.
“For me, that moment is probably worth everything. That moment with Tony [and] being able to take him back to the guy I was, on the couch watching him and being blown away—and now I’m sitting here? I didn’t know it happened on camera, so I’m really blessed that it did. And I’m really blessed that [director Morgan Fallon] and the crew left it in there, because especially now that he’s gone, I think that’s the kind of thing that a lot of people wanted to say to him.”
Fallon says that even before Bourdain’s death, observing the conversation between Bourdain and Bell stuck with him.
“That was a really powerful moment. The crew was kind of shifting equipment, and we were resetting our cameras; that was completely off-the-cuff. That was not something that was necessarily in the context of the scene. I think it was important to show that and remind people that this is something that Tony always felt, day to day, every day: a tremendous sense of gratitude towards the world for embracing him, [and] towards the people who supported him creatively. He never forgot that.”