With her hatred of conservative megalomaniacs seemingly as strong as her love of fitted blazers, Samantha Bee and her TBS series Full Frontal is the angry late-night host who just might help liberal Americans get through the next four years.
With a move to Wednesday for her show’s second season and no shortage of political stories for fodder, Bee and her cast and crew are remaining busy despite the election having ended months ago. But they did take time to join journalists at the show’s Television Critics Association press day on Saturday in Pasadena to discuss upcoming segments, their hopes for the future of this country and which 2016 presidential candidate was the most fun to mock (hint: It’s not Donald Trump). Here are eight things we learned from the show’s panel.
“We watched some news outlets abdicate their responsibilities during the election season, but at this juncture there’s a feeling that they’re really coming for all of us,” says Bee. “It does behoove us to support one another.”
“We watched a master manipulator who was campaigning and was very good at playing the news cycle and playing the press,” executive producer Jo Miller says. “And the press probably would have done more if they had the perception that they were going to win.” (Bee suspects that Jake Tapper is wearing the Thunder Cunt t-shirt that they gave him right now).
“There’s plenty to be outraged about,” says Bee. “The only thing we really wanted from the show is that it come from a really gut place; a really visceral place. For those 22 minutes per week, and I’m happy to only have to do it once a week, it’s a very cleansing and cathartic experience for me, which permits me to live my life as I’d like to live it outside of that time frame.”
“I have to stay outraged all the time in order to get you 22 minutes,” says Ashley Nicole Black, who is both a writer on the show and appears in segments.
Bee adds that it is a “tiring experience to go to bed at night and have a fresh new world presented to you everyday with things that you never would have expected to see.”
“We definitely have some very exciting ideas coming down the pike that I cannot share with you at this juncture,” says Bee. “I’m so excited about them!”
“In a work-flow sense, in a life balance sense, it was just a better place for us to be,” Bee says.
Miller says they they’ve already seen the benefits of the schedule change; that “we were almost ready to go home on Tuesday and then Pissgate—if that had happened on a Sunday we wouldn’t have been able to respond.”
“It was a golden shower of opportunity,” Bee deadpans.
“We don’t pay attention to our critics—we embrace them,” Bee says. “We enjoy all of the feedback we receive. We love all of our viewers, whether they are hate viewers or real viewers. We are thinking more carefully of our presence in the world … it’s not something that weights us down.”
Miller says that “nobody has sent us fake Anthrax yet” and correspondent Amy Hoggart says her “secret weapon is they think I’m a Republican.”
“We still will do [packages like the school shooting drill],” Bee says. “We’re not only passionate about this one issue, we have a million ideas about different things. There are stories that need to be told.”
Field reporter and producer Mike Rubens says, at least for him, it becomes “what do these stories mean in the age of Trump? Sometimes it changes the story, sometimes it doesn’t.”
“Not just because we would sacrifice our comedy for the sake of the country, it’s not fun and it broke me for weeks,” Miller says. “Now covering Ted Cruz, that was fun.”
“No,” says Bee.
Whitney Friedlander is an entertainment journalist with, what some may argue, an unhealthy love affair with her TV. A former staff writer at both Los Angeles Times and Variety, her writing has also appeared in Esquire, Elle, Complex, Vulture, Marie Claire, Toronto Star and others. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband, son and very photogenic cat.