The late-night comedy world may still be a boys' club, but that's beginning to change now that Samantha Bee is back on the scene. After leaving The Daily Show last year, Bee's on TV again with her own late-night satire show: Full Frontal with Samantha Bee. Only two episodes have aired so far, and it's clear that the show is incredibly unique — and not just because of Bee's gender. Here's what you should know about Full Frontal before tuning in.
Looking for insightful yet funny commentary on Donald Trump, Bernie Sanders and all the other key players this primary season? Full Frontal's got you covered. There aren't any filler segments here. And Bee doesn't go for the easy laugh, either — it pays to be a political junkie (or at least someone capable of following the election on Twitter) to get the most out of Full Frontal.
When I first tuned in to Full Frontal, the set caught my eye right away. And then I realized what it was: There's no desk. Or chairs. There's not even a table! The only piece of furniture you will notice is a block depicting the title of the show, and occasionally Bee will walk over to it and rest her hands or body against it. Otherwise, she spends the entire show standing, walking around and embracing the physicality of the space. She's a very energetic and engaging host to watch, and I assume the lack of the traditional desk format has a lot to do with that.
When Bee spoke to New York Magazine last month, she revealed that her writing staff is as diverse as it is talented. Fifty percent of the writers are women, while 30 percent are people of color. For an industry filled mostly by white guys, this is an impressive feat.
Bee's not patting herself on the back, though. She just sees this as the work that needed to be done. “There’s a lot of people sitting around in rooms discussing how to make it happen as opposed to just, like, doing it,” she said in the interview. “Asking: ‘Do you have any 45-year-old-woman friends who you think are really talented who could submit an application to us?’ ‘Do you have any black friends who are great writers who haven’t had a shot?’”
Fans of her work on The Daily Show know that Bee's not the type to stick in the studio every episode. She likes being out in the field, interviewing people where they live and work. She did that frequently on Comedy Central and she's doing it again now, perhaps in an even bolder way than she was able to as a Daily Show correspondent. Just check out her Full Frontal segment on the Syrian refugee crisis, which took her all the way to Jordan.
In the first two weeks of Full Frontal, Bee hasn't brought on any guests for interviews. The show is still so new that it's possible that could change, but given the politically driven focus and the lack of a desk and chairs, it's doubtful that Full Frontal is going to be a show where celebrities go to promote their latest movies.
Being a woman on television is a brave and risky act. There are lots of people who wish that women like Bee would keep their opinions to themselves, and some of those people react through violent, aggressive speech. So Bee beat them to the punch and created a rape threat phone line. Yes, really.
According to BuzzFeed, if you call 1-844-4-TROLLZ, this is the recording you'll hear:
"Hello, you have reached the Samantha Bee Rape Threatline. Nobody’s here to answer your call, but your offer of non-consensual sex is important to us, so please select from the following menu. To tell me I’m a dumb bitch that needs to be raped, press 1. To tell me you’re going to violate every hole in my idiot libtard body, press 2. To tell me that you’re going to do it slowly and painfully, but that a slut like me will probably like it, press 3. To tell me you wouldn’t even rape me because of how old and disgusting I am, press 4. Or to simply shriek the word rape repeatedly, press 5. For all other menacing remarks meant to intimidate me through the threat of sexual violence, press 0. Thank you for your call."
Excited to watch Full Frontal four nights a week like all the other late night shows? Maybe next season — this first season, the show is Monday nights only. While this means you'll have to wait longer than usual to get your next Sam Bee fix, it probably also means that the writing will stay fresh and sharp for longer than if new episodes had to be cranked out every night.
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