Samantha Bee Full Frontal

With Full Frontal, Samantha Bee Is the New King of Late Night

It all started with a glass of milk.

When Full Frontal With Samantha Bee premiered on TBS on Feb. 8, 2016, its Werner Herzog-esque documentary piece on Jeb Bush quickly went viral by likening the Republican presidential candidate to the “not fantastic” white beverage that’s “a source of calcium and protein, mucus and flatulence.”

Samantha Bee Jeb BushThe deeply weird specificity and gleeful gross-out humor of Jeb? Ein Film Für Full Frontal — which included an extreme closeup of a bearded man guzzling the white beverage ’til it dribbled down his chin — set the tone for a show that, after just five episodes, is already delivering the the bravest, ballsiest political humor in all of late-night.

Bee, the former Daily Show correspondent who films her Monday-night show standing in front of a live studio audience, is unapologetically feminist and frequently mad as hell — excellent qualities in the news-satire game — but also informed by a giddy energy of a woman who’s living the dream of saying exactly what she wants, when she wants and how she wants to.

Samantha Bee Midterm elections rhinocerosTake her recent rant against liberals and moderate conservatives for their low turnout during the 2010 midterm elections — set against the backdrop of a video featuring a rhinoceros in the middle of an epic bowel movement. “The newly elected [Tea Party] lawmakers and governors [unclenched] their legislative sphincters and [passed] every shitty idea from deep in their bowels,” Bee declared. “Bankrupting school systems, redrawing congressional districts and doing everything short of bronzing pregnant women to block access to abortions — all the things that directly affect your life a million times more than the presidency!”

Bee’s interviews — a hallmark of her Daily Show days — are equally scathing, like her horrified/horrifying chat with a former Israeli army member who now teaches grade schoolers how to turn the tables on school shooters using supplies from their desks. Better still was her the way she cut to footage of Game of Thrones‘ “Red Wedding” after “uterus expert”/Texas state Rep. Dan Flynn, who sponsored legislation that has forced all but 10 Texas abortion clinics to shut down, opined that Draconian regulations on clinics are necessary because the procedure involves “cutting on people’s body.” The host’s incredulous reply — “you don’t seem to know anything specifically about abortion really at all, and yet you did all this with building regulations” — even got Flynn to crack a smile himself.

Remarkably, each episode of Full Frontal has been stronger than the one before it. Bee’s nearly seven-minute eulogy for the Republican Party on Monday left no fool unpunished, taking swings at Donald Trump Jr.’s elephant hunt, Mitt Romney’s condescending anti-Trump speech and Senator John McCain’s indignation about Trump’s foreign-policy qualifications. “The guy who gave us Trump 1.0,” Bee seethed, looking at a photo of McCain and his vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, “does not get to complain about the latest upgrade!” Wiping fake vomit off the camera lens, Bee hilariously concluded that “The party of Lincoln has completed its long journey from ‘a house divided against itself cannot stand’ to ‘you should see how my pocket Donald looks when I masturbate with my totally normal-sized hands.'”

With the wearying thought of the long and ridiculous election season in front of us — Bee took special joy this week in pointing out the absurdity of Democrat Bernie Sanders’ vow to “end institutional racism” (¡!) — it’s a comfort to know that Full Frontal is delivering late-night change we can believe in… and laugh at.

Are you all in on Full Frontal With Samantha Bee? Do you agree she’s the new King of Late Night? Hit the comments with your thoughts!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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19 Comments
  1. HAP says:

    It appears you have unilaterally dethroned John Oliver.

    • tyranthraxus says:

      I think they both work well. I love that these different stations are giving us all these excellent programs.

  2. Andrew says:

    “Samantha Bee Is the New King of Late Night”

    But… the show airs in primetime. This has been driving me nuts ever since the show premiered. Late night is a genre defined by its timeslot. I will die on this hill. Words mean things!

  3. Chris says:

    Bee is killing it right now, as is John Oliver. Unfortunately, they are both exposing what a lightweight Trevor Noah is. Maybe if he only had to do 1 show a week he would be better, but there just seems to be so little bite to his stuff in general.

    • peterwdawson says:

      True. While he’s a decent host he’s lacked a little something. Probably the best segments of his so far have been his real recap of his medical emergency, Jon Stewart’s return (where while understandably overshadowed he did at least manage to stay present and play off the old host well), and The Good Guy With a Gun coverage (which was Klepper’s). But yeah, part of the thing is with multiple shows a week it can be hard to deliver the dynamite every week, it’s why most weeknight hosts tend to take a year or more to really find their groove (see also: Jay Leno, Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Fallon, Jon Stewart, etc.)

  4. Craig Riley says:

    Really great show. Even giving Oliver a run for his money.

  5. Monica4185 says:

    I totally agree with this article. Samantha Bee came at the right time.

  6. art riley says:

    Calling her ‘king’ seems to me like you have the biggest balls ever….making you King! Or maybe you’re the Queen and she is The King. King or Queen or Whatever…. -she is great.! Can’t quite understand why everyone needs to judge Noah. Daily is harder than weekly. Trevor is just the head of a ‘team’. a the Daily show deserves a chance to be a good show without comparison to
    one of a kind Stewart. Seems like Stewart’s team is rather split up. I personally think they should have worked their asses off forever. Maybe some of them ran out of ass. Thank them all!

  7. Phun says:

    Samantha Bee was awesome at The Daily Show and she is just as awesome in her own show.

  8. TJ says:

    I thought it took John Oliver a while to figure out his strengths. He tried to put a weeks worth of Daily Show into 30 mins and it didn’t work. Now his show is fantastic. I’m guessing Samantha Bee learned from that. She has been great right out of the box. Her team is much stronger than Noah’s to me. Willmore is still trying to find the grove. I really like the discussion panel when they really discuss something vs just making jokes. I liked getting the different opinions after hearing Larry’s take on it earlier. When he gets an expert in on the topic, it’s really good.

  9. DLS says:

    Amazing right out of the gate. Wish she was on more than once a week.

  10. Dopetty says:

    I had high hopes for samantha, learning under the (mostly) unbiased jon Stewart… But her show is just another sexist anti white male piece of propaganda garbage. Please note: I have facts to back that up; not just as hominem.

  11. Nancy C3 says:

    How did The Daily Show pass on Sam Bee?

  12. BarryFlash says:

    She seems like a horrible person!

  13. Frakkin' says:

    Love John Oliver and Samantha Bee. Both shows are great. Take in one. Take in the other. Works just fine.

  14. Wendy says:

    I am loving Samantha Bee and John Oliver. I barely watch the Daily Show anymore and just watch the clips.

  15. Rachel Kenyon says:

    Yay for Full Frontal! I love the feminism and the irreverence. She is giving voice to my thoughts – but funnier and more articulately.

  16. Karen O says:

    Samantha Bee is fearlessly brilliant!

  17. Dale says:

    No I’ll keep it simple for you, it sucks! Tbs would get better ratings showing reruns of a 20 year old comedy.