3 reasons to watch Samantha Bee. Besides being in love with her soul.

There are already plenty of current event comedy shows out there. What would set one apart and make it worth DVRing religiously?

Samantha Bee is one of the alumni "correspondents" from "The Daily Show." Like John Oliver, Stephen Colbert, and Larry Wilmore, Samantha perfected her chops in the ad-lib lab that Jon Stewart's show cultivated. She was one of the crowd favorites for a shot at replacing Stewart when he retired from the show, but it was not to be.


GIF from "The Daily Show."

So she got her own.

Like all wonderful things that sometimes spring from dreams deferred, here are the top three reasons you ought to be watching Samantha Bee's new show, "Full Frontal," which premiered last night.

1. She's off-the-charts hilarious.

This has to be the first reason to commit to any comedy show, but I know, I know: Humor is subjective and that's a big promise to make. I stand by it.

Samantha Bee has honed her delivery skills — the comedic timing, the physicality required for certain bits to work. The writing is piercing and targeted. And she takes pot shots at all sides: Democrats, Republicans, little old white-haired men, and steely, tenacious women. No one is off limits.

Here is a one-minute clip where she shines in making fun of the Democratic party presidential candidates:

2. She makes diversity in her writing team sound easy. Because it is.

A recurring issue for late-night show hosts is not only a lack of diversity in front of the camera (heyo, ya think we might have enough white male hosts?), but also a lack of it in the writers' room and production roles.

GIF from "The Daily Show."

But not "Full Frontal." Not only does the show already buck the trend by having a female host, but Bee and executive producer Jo Miller specifically set out to have a great mix of people from different walks of life on the writing team. They achieved it. The writing staff is 50/50 male to female, and a full quarter of them are people of color.

Bee pokes a little fun in her interview with the L.A. Times about how convoluted others tend to make it:

"There's a lot of conversations about the Oscars, and studios have a lot of sitdowns with think tanks, and they consider how they're going to get people of color into things and what they're going to do. Sometimes you just have to go, 'You're hired.' How about if you hire someone? How about if you just, say, greenlight something? You can do that too. You have the power to do that. Just hire somebody. Just start there and just hire people. You don't always have to go the same places to find your interns, OK?"

3. If you find yourself missing Jon Stewart, Samantha Bee may be the surrogate you're looking for.

It sometimes seems like, while other shows that have sprung from Stewart's laboratory of wit are also good, there's a certain something you can't put your finger on that they're missing. "Last Week Tonight" with John Oliver is one of the closest to that biting, withering, caustic yet reassuring je ne sais quoi, but he's on HBO (inaccessible to some), and he often does pretty deep dives.

I can't say that Samantha Bee's show will ever quite be all the things "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" once was, but its quick, accessible, easily-digestible bits and wickedly astute writing leaves viewers feeling a little less lonely.

The feeling I used to get when watching Jon Stewart break down the day's events was, "So I'm not the only one who noticed that — there are other people in the world who wonder what on earth is going on with these outrageous people!"

Just like Stewart, Bee makes the viewer feel a camaraderie, a likeness of mind, and relief at being able to have a hearty laugh at current events that might otherwise make one cry, or at least get permanent worry lines.

GIF from "The Daily Show."

Unlike the penis pumps she discovered Medicare pays for, "Full Frontal with Samantha Bee" doesn't suck even a little bit.

Image from "The Daily Show."

Courtesy of Amita Swadhin
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In 2016, Amita Swadhin, a child of two immigrant parents from India, founded Mirror Memoirs to help combat rape culture. The national storytelling and organizing project is dedicated to sharing the stories of LGBTQIA+ Black, indigenous people, and people of color who survived child sexual abuse.

"Whether or not you are a survivor, 100% of us are raised in rape culture. It's the water that we're swimming in. But just as fish don't know they are in water, because it's just the world around them that they've always been in, people (and especially those who aren't survivors) may need some help actually seeing it," they add.

"Mirror Memoirs attempts to be the dye that helps everyone understand the reality of rape culture."

Amita built the idea for Mirror Memoirs from a theater project called "Undesirable Elements: Secret Survivors" that featured their story and those of four other survivors in New York City, as well as a documentary film and educational toolkit based on the project.

"Secret Survivors had a cast that was gender, race, and age-diverse in many ways, but we had neglected to include transgender women," Amita explains. "Our goal was to help all people who want to co-create a world without child sexual abuse understand that the systems historically meant to help survivors find 'healing' and 'justice' — namely the child welfare system, policing, and prisons — are actually systems that facilitate the rape of children in oppressed communities," Amita continues. "We all have to explore tools of healing and accountability outside of these systems if we truly want to end all forms of sexual violence and rape culture."

Amita also wants Mirror Memoirs to be a place of healing for survivors that have historically been ignored or underserved by anti-violence organizations due to transphobia, homophobia, racism, xenophobia, and white supremacy.

Amita Swadhin

"Hearing survivors' stories is absolutely healing for other survivors, since child sexual abuse is a global pandemic that few people know how to talk about, let alone treat and prevent."

"Since sexual violence is an isolating event, girded by shame and stigma, understanding that you're not alone and connecting with other survivors is alchemy, transmuting isolation into intimacy and connection."

This is something that Amita knows and understands well as a survivor herself.

"My childhood included a lot of violence from my father, including rape and other forms of domestic violence," says Amita. "Mandated reporting was imposed on me when I was 13 and it was largely unhelpful since the prosecutors threatened to incarcerate my mother for 'being complicit' in the violence I experienced, even though she was also abused by my father for years."

What helped them during this time was having the support of others.

"I'm grateful to have had a loving younger sister and a few really close friends, some of whom were also surviving child sexual abuse, though we didn't know how to talk about it at the time," Amita says.

"I'm also a queer, non-binary femme person living with complex post-traumatic stress disorder, and those identities have shaped a lot of my life experiences," they continue. "I'm really lucky to have an incredible partner and network of friends and family who love me."

"These realizations put me on the path of my life's work to end this violence quite early in life," they said.

Amita wants Mirror Memoirs to help build awareness of just how pervasive rape culture is. "One in four girls and one in six boys will be raped or sexually assaulted by the age of 18," Amita explains, "and the rates are even higher for vulnerable populations, such as gender non-conforming, disabled, deaf, unhoused, and institutionalized children." By sharing their stories, they're hoping to create change.

"Listening to stories is also a powerful way to build empathy, due to the mirror neurons in people's brains. This is, in part, why the project is called Mirror Memoirs."

So far, Mirror Memoirs has created an audio archive of BIPOC LGBTQI+ child sexual abuse survivors sharing their stories of survival and resilience that includes stories from 60 survivors across 50 states. This year, they plan to record another 15 stories, specifically of transgender and nonbinary people who survived child sexual abuse in a sport-related setting, with their partner organization, Athlete Ally.

"This endeavor is in response to the more than 100 bills that have been proposed across at least 36 states in 2021 seeking to limit the rights of transgender and non-binary children to play sports and to receive gender-affirming medical care with the support of their parents and doctors," Amita says.

In 2017, Mirror Memoirs held its first gathering, which was attended by 31 people. Today, the organization is a fiscally sponsored, national nonprofit with two staff members, a board of 10 people, a leadership council of seven people, and 500 members nationally.

When the pandemic hit in 2020, they created a mutual aid fund for the LGBTQIA+ community of color and were able to raise a quarter-million dollars. They received 2,509 applications for assistance, and in the end, they decided to split the money evenly between each applicant.

While they're still using storytelling as the building block of their work, they're also engaging in policy and advocacy work, leadership development, and hosting monthly member meetings online.

For their work, Amita is one of Tory's Burch's Empowered Women. Their donation will go to Mirror Memoirs to help fund production costs for their new theater project, "Transmutation: A Ceremony," featuring four Black transgender, intersex, and non-binary women and femmes who live in California.

"I'm grateful to every single child sexual survivor who has ever disclosed their truth to me," Amita says. "I know another world is possible, and I know survivors will build it, together with all the people who love us."

To learn more about Tory Burch and Upworthy's Empowered Women program visit https://www.toryburch.com/empoweredwomen/. Nominate an inspiring woman in your community today!

Officer Stagg meeting Sherry Smith on WISH-TV.

Indianapolis Police Officer Jeff Stagg selflessly maintained the roadside memorial of Shelby Smith, who had been killed by a drunk driver. He picked up trash and placed little plastic flowers, figurines and rocks around it to keep it presentable. Though Shelby died nearly 22 years ago, Officer Stagg didn't want her to be forgotten. And now, his act of kindness won't be forgotten either.

Passerby Kaleb Hall (@kalebhall00 on TikTok) noticed the officer cleaning up the site and asked him what he was doing here. Kaleb had already thought the behavior a little uncharacteristic, "a cop cleaning up trash in the hood," so he went over to inquire.

After explaining that Shelby's memorial was in his patrol area and that he guessed her family had moved away, Officer Stagg told Kaleb, "no one's keeping it up anymore, so I just wanna make sure it stays kept up."

Stagg had noticed the memorial had become surrounded by overgrown grass, weeds and trash. After driving past it every day, Officer Stagg thought enough was enough.


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When a pet is admitted to a shelter it can be a traumatizing experience. Many are afraid of their new surroundings and are far from comfortable showing off their unique personalities. The problem is that's when many of them have their photos taken to appear in online searches.

Chewy, the pet retailer who has dedicated themselves to supporting shelters and rescues throughout the country, recognized the important work of a couple in Tampa, FL who have been taking professional photos of shelter pets to help get them adopted.

"If it's a photo of a scared animal, most people, subconsciously or even consciously, are going to skip over it," pet photographer Adam Goldberg says. "They can't visualize that dog in their home."

Adam realized the importance of quality shelter photos while working as a social media specialist for the Humane Society of Broward County in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

"The photos were taken top-down so you couldn't see the size of the pet, and the flash would create these red eyes," he recalls. "Sometimes [volunteers] would shoot the photos through the chain-link fences."

That's why Adam and his wife, Mary, have spent much of their free time over the past five years photographing over 1,200 shelter animals to show off their unique personalities to potential adoptive families. The Goldbergs' wonderful work was recently profiled by Chewy in the video above entitled, "A Day in the Life of a Shelter Pet Photographer."