Among the Bill Maher’s, Stephen Colbert’s, John Oliver’s and Trevor Noah’s of the world of political comedy, Samantha Bee is doing something different. While many of these shows nowadays do indeed point out issues and problems that seemingly can only be addressed through this medium, much of it still hinges on getting in a punchline or maintaining a joke. But as John Doyle from “The Globe and Mail” writes about Bee: “Honourable, righteous anger is her thing. There are all manner of U.S. comedy shows covering politics big and small these days. There is a lot to mock as Donald Drumpf went from rogue candidate to winner. But Bee doesn’t really do funny. She does enraged. Outrage is what drives her engine.”
Granted, “Full Frontal with Samantha Bee” is a comedy show through and through. There is a certain panache that Bee has when she dashes onto her stage, decked out in smashing, colorful blazers and pants. She doesn’t linger. She gets on with the issues at hand. The “comedy” part of her show comes from her delivery of emphasizing how absurd the real news actually is. She champions women’s rights and stamps on the patriarchy of governmental systems. She relentlessly holds the media accountable for preventable mistakes and turning a blind eye to difficult stories.
During the previous political election season (i.e. much of 2016), Bee rightfully attacked many, if not all, of the hopeful Presidential candidates. In a searing, side-splitting segment on Ted Cruz (who she especially despised), Bee and her team found ultimate-cringe footage of Ted Cruz’s college performance in “The Crucible” and relentlessly plugged it throughout the segment. She had a seemingly endless “Trump Thesaurus“, and scathingly criticizes Republicans – arguably her best quote being, “So this is where we are? The party of Lincoln has completed its long journey from ‘A house divided cannot stand’ to ‘You should see how yuge my pocket Donald looks when I masturbate with my totally normal-sized hands.'”
“Full Frontal with Samantha Bee” also tackles women’s issues – as the name of her show describes – upfront. With “Rape Kit Backlog,” Bee jumps into just one example of overt patriarchy within our country. “The Huffington Post” (which Bee also deems “almost like a journalistic organization”) summed up the highlights of Bee’s episode by reminding viewers that 1) It’s legal to destroy a rape kit in every state of the U.S. before the statute of limitations is up, 2) In February, Georgia state senator Renee Unterman blocked the Pursuing Justice For Rape Victims Act that would require a timely processing of rape kits, even though the bipartisan bill passed unanimously in the state House, and 3) Idaho sheriff Craig Rowland said that “the majority of our rapes that are called in are actually consensual sex,” and that therefore the state legislation should not have any say in how his department handles the backlog of untested rape kits. Phew. That’s a lot to unpack, kids. But there’s no one better than Samantha Bee to do it.
And I know guys, I know, that A Jeb in Winter was posted in February of last year, but it is pure cinematic gold.