Next week, Samantha Bee is charging into the male-dominated late night scene just like the centaur she photoshopped into Vanity Fair’s tone deaf photo spread. The most basic reason I’m excited for this new show is that Bee is hilarious. Her record at The Daily Show is full of smart, incisive, funny pieces. A new profile of Bee by Rebecca Traister gives me even more reason to eagerly anticipate her new project.
They’re consciously building a more diverse behind-the-scenes crew. Full Frontal is co-created by Bee and another woman, Jo Miller. They led a blind application process that has resulted in a writing staff that’s 50% women and 30% people of color, far outpacing other late night shows. Bee told Traister, “There’s a lot of people sitting around in rooms discussing how to make it happen as opposed to just, like, doing it. 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?’” The show is also working on a mentorship program to keep feeding new voices into writers’ rooms. We need these perspectives more on TV, and it’s encouraging to see people who demonstrate a real commitment to making that happen.
They’re looking at a wide range of issues through a feminist lens. Many of the current crop of late night hosts (like Stephen Colbert, John Oliver and Larry Wilmore) have admirably created sharp takes on women’s issues. Bee talks about taking on a wide range of issues beyond traditional “women’s issues,” but she’s clearly doing it with a feminist perspective. Take a story she was working on while Traister was there, on the VA’s failure to provide adequate health care for female veterans, including finding prosthetic limbs that actually fit them.
They’re exposing what happens to women when they put their opinions out in the word.
Take, for example, the show’s 1-844-4-TROLLZ rape-threat line. Callers hear a recorded message that says, in part: “You have reached the Samantha Bee rape-threat line. No one is here to take your call, but your offer of nonconsensual 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 lib-tard body, press 2 …To tell me you wouldn’t even rape me because of how old and disgusting I am, press 4 …”
I love this kind of biting commentary and can’t wait to hear more. Full Frontal premieres February 8th on TBS.