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.”
The 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.
Take 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!