Samantha Bee hasn't given up on America. Here's what's keeping her hopeful.

Over the weekend, Samantha Bee stopped by Ozy Fest in New York's Central Park to talk about running for office ("Never! God, no!"), creating an internship program for female ex-convicts, and the restorative power of connecting with other people.

Upworthy caught up with Bee to ask how she balances being late night's most formidable player with the increasingly challenging task of staying hopeful and optimistic.


(This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.)

Photo by Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for Ozy Fest 2017.

Upworthy (UP): Speaking not as the host of "Full Frontal" but as a person who has to work in news every day, how’re you holding up?

Samantha Bee (SB): Terrible! Terribly! How are you holding up?

UP: I’m doing pretty good.

SB: Oh, you are? OK. OK.

UP: How are you coping with things?

SB: I don’t think very well. I mean, as a citizen of this country, I’m reasonably worried. The news is coming at us pretty fast. Still, I’m trying to lead a happy life.

UP: You were at "The Daily Show" when Jon Stewart left. He gave an interview around that time in which he said, "I’m in a constant state of depression. I think of us as turd miners. I put on my helmet, I go and mine turds, hopefully I don’t get turd lung disease." Are you getting turd lung disease?

SB: [laughs] Oh my gosh. I forgot that he said that! I’m totally getting turd lung disease. Yeah, I have that. I’m getting turd COPD.

UP: So what do you do to manage that, to draw boundaries around that?

SB: Well, the one thing — this doesn’t really make it totally better, but — we only make a show once a week. So we do get a tiny pause at the weekend. I mean, news never stops. There’s no getting around it. But at least we have a little bit of space between shows to breathe for a half second. And I get to go off and travel around and do things that get me really excited.

We have a bunch of pieces coming up where I went to — [laughs] as the words are coming out of my mouth, I’m like "What am I talking about?" But I went to Iraq, and that actually gave me great joy! [laughs] So we’re gonna roll out the Iraq pieces in the next couple of weeks, and that type of thing makes me, I love going out. The freedom to go out in the world does make it a little easier.

Photo by Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for TBS.

UP: Do you find that looking people in the eyes is a little bit better than reading about it in the news and hearing it recorded?

SB: A hundred percent. Yeah.

UP: What do you think is the value of that connection?

SB: I mean, just learning on the ground. I don’t think it’s just valuable from a news perspective. It’s just a good exercise as a human being, to go somewhere else and check out the scene.

UP: A lot of people are struggling with this feeling of being fatigued. But on your show, you encourage civic responsibility and you encourage people to stay engaged.

SB: It’s hard to do. People do get fatigued. I did have a feeling that once the warm weather hit, people would lose that feeling of fervor but I actually don’t think they did. I don’t think people are slowing down. When I see that, it does lift my spirit. I love it. Killing that health care bill — it felt good. Those small victories.

UP: The Democrats are having a pretty hard time coming up with a slogan to unite the party. If that was your responsibility, what would you write?

SB: Oh my gosh. I don’t know what I would write. I’m afraid to say anything because I’m afraid they’ll use it. I’m sure they’ll land on something. In 2019.

UP: Obviously the script of your show is very sarcastic, but you seem to be less jaded than most. How do you stay hopeful?

SB: You know, just that. Meeting people, witnessing people’s engagement — they really care. They’re very alive. That makes me feel hopeful. And if that’s all we have to feel hopeful about — that’s actually a lot.

It's one thing to see a little kid skateboarding. It's another to see a stereotype-defying little girl skateboarding. And it's entirely another to see Paige Tobin.

Paige is a 6-year-old skateboarding wonder from Australia. A recent video of her dropping into a 12-foot bowl on her has gone viral, both for the feat itself and for the style with which she does it. Decked out in a pink party dress, a leopard-print helmet, and rainbow socks, she looks nothing like you'd expect a skater dropping into a 12-foot bowl to look. And yet, here she is, blowing people's minds all over the place.

For those who may not fully appreciate the impressiveness of this feat, here's some perspective. My adrenaline junkie brother, who has been skateboarding since childhood and who races down rugged mountain faces on a bike for fun, shared this video and commented, "If I dropped in to a bowl twice as deep as my age it would be my first and last time doing so...this fearless kid has a bright future!"

It's scarier than it looks, and it looks pretty darn scary.

Paige doesn't always dress like a princess when she skates, not that it matters. Her talent and skill with the board are what gets people's attention. (The rainbow socks are kind of her signature, however.)

Her Instagram feed is filled with photos and videos of her skateboarding and surfing, and the body coordination she's gained at such a young age is truly something.

Here she was at three years old:

And here she is at age four:


So, if she dropped into a 6-foot bowl at age three and a 12-foot bowl at age six—is there such a thing as an 18-foot bowl for her to tackle when she's nine?

Paige clearly enjoys skating and has high ambitions in the skating world. "I want to go to the Olympics, and I want to be a pro skater," she told Power of Positivity when she was five. She already seems to be well on her way toward that goal.

How did she get so good? Well, Paige's mom gave her a skateboard when she wasn't even preschool age yet, and she loved it. Her mom got her lessons, and she's spent the past three years skating almost daily. She practices at local skate parks and competes in local competitions.

She also naturally has her fair share of spills, some of which you can see on her Instagram channel. Falling is part of the sport—you can't learn if you don't fall. Conquering the fear of falling is the key, and the thing that's hardest for most people to get over.

Perhaps Paige started too young to let fear override her desire to skate. Perhaps she's been taught to manage her fears, or maybe she's just naturally less afraid than other people. Or maybe there's something magical about the rainbow socks. Whatever it is, it's clear that this girl doesn't let fear get in the way of her doing what she wants to do. An admirable quality in anyone, but particularly striking to see in someone so young.

Way to go, Paige. Your perseverance and courage are inspiring, as is your unique fashion sense. Can't wait to see what you do next.

Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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