Girl is killin' it on multiple fronts!
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.
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.
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.
Unlike the penis pumps she discovered Medicare pays for, "Full Frontal with Samantha Bee" doesn't suck even a little bit.