Samantha Bee’s “Not the White House Correspondents’ Dinner”: the best and worst moments – Updated by Tanya Pai and Yochi Dreazen Apr 29, 2017, 10:30pm EDT


After months of being slammed by President Donald Trump himself for dealing in “fake news” and being a literal enemy of the American people, the media was honored on Saturday at Samantha Bee’s “Not the White House Correspondents’ Dinner” — a love letter of sorts to America’s beleaguered journalists. Or to most of them, anyway.

Bee, the acerbic host of TBS’s Full Frontal, had her event staff wear shirts that said “Free Press,” donated $200,000 in proceeds from the evening to the Committee to Protect Journalists, and gave shoutouts to the staff of small local newspapers like the Flint Journal, which broke the story of the Michigan city’s lead-polluted water.

None of which is to suggest it was an evening of highbrow conversations about the importance of a free press. There was a bit of that, but Bee also took the opportunity to joke that “CNN gives you news like your shitty boyfriend gives you orgasms.”

The entire event — recorded Saturday afternoon to air that night — had a meta vibe. Rather than be the latest in a long line of comedians to needle a president at the actual White House Correspondents’ Dinner (Trump famously skipped this year’s dinner), Bee skewered the entire conceit of the “other” event, with targets including — but definitely not limited to — the president himself.

Some of those targets were predictable. Fox chief Rupert Murdoch was described as a “sentient liver spot”; ousted Fox News chief Roger Ailes and more recently ousted Fox News personality Bill O’Reilly were described as “media titans who were snatched from us far, far too late.”

CNN, by contrast, was both praised and mocked — sometimes in the same joke. Bee did a pretaped segment with Jake Tapper and went out of her way to praise other CNN reporters like Dana Bash and Jim Acosta. Jeff Zucker, CNN’s top executive, wasn’t as lucky, with Bee mocking him for comparing news to sports and filling CNN’s airwaves with so many partisan mouthpieces that it amounted to a “pundit infestation.”

Below are the winners and losers from an at times funny and at times deeply uneven show.

Winner: CNN (the reporters)

Bee did a pretaped segment with Tapper in which he jokingly interrogated her about her agenda for the evening and whether the paltry amount of food she was providing would disqualify it from being called a dinner (more on that below). Bee also went out of her way to praise other CNN reporters, including the aforementioned Bash and Acosta. When it came to Anderson Cooper, arguably the network’s biggest star, Bee said he needed to leave CNN’s filled studios, put on one of his trademark tight black T-shirts, and get back into the field.

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Samantha Bee on the Women’s March, Moving Forward Post-President Elect, and Why She Has No Advice for You Maria Elena FernandezJanuary 19, 2017 11:05 a.m.


On Saturday, Samantha Bee and her Full Frontal team will be at the Women’s March on Washington without cameras or microphones. The show has rented a bus so the staff can travel together, but once they get to Washington, D.C., they plan to mingle in the crowd and participate in the day’s events as citizens. “I just want to enjoy the moment and be present,” said Bee during an interview with Vulture at the Television Critics Association press tour. “I would just like to add to the numbers and be there with all those great women. Add my little voice to the voices. I’ve been traveling around a little bit in the last while and people are making great pains to go there. I hope it’s big, and I hope it feels great. I think it will.”

Photo: Brad Barket/Getty Images

Photo: Brad Barket/Getty Images

As America has come to know, Bee’s liberal feminist voice is anything but little. In its freshman season, the show soared to the top of the comedy heap with its ability to make viewers laugh, cry, and think at the same time. Her blistering post-election analysis, delivered the day after November 8, focused much of her rage on white Americans, and especially, women. Bee spoke with Vulture about how she’s feeling two months after her candidate lost, and what she’s doing to move forward.

You mentioned you’re going to the march to be in a community of women. In your post-election rant, you criticized Democrats, white people, and white women in particular, for their role in electing Donald Trump. Inauguration Day is almost here. What is your perspective now on the election, and the role women played? Have your feelings changed?
I think my perspective is the same. The information is just settling in. On Monday [January 23], I think the penny is going to drop for a lot of people. I don’t know what that’s going to feel like. I guess we’ll all find out.

Have you accepted it?
Well, you have to accept it — it’s reality. Yeah, of course, I have.

You hear a lot of people still saying “I haven’t gotten there yet.”
This is the world that we live in, and we have to accept it. We actually have to. It doesn’t mean we have to be okay with it, but we have to accept that this is where we’re going to live for a long time.

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Samantha Bee is going where Jon Stewart and John Oliver never did – Updated by Todd VanDerWerff on July 3, 2016, 12:00 p.m. ET


Every Sunday, we pick a new episode of the week. It could be good. It could be bad. It will always be interesting. You can read the archives here. The episode of the week for June 26 through July 2 is the latest installment of TBS’s Full Frontal with Samantha Bee.

The most remarkable moment of the latest episode of Full Frontal with Samantha Bee wasn’t when Bee ripped into Brexit. It wasn’t when David Tennant, the former Doctor Who star, read tweets excoriating Donald Trump in his thick Scottish accent. It wasn’t even when Bee’s graphics team pasted Trump’s face onto that of a Weeping Angel, one of Doctor Who’s most dreaded monsters.

No, it was when Bee asked her viewers to visit the website for their state’s board of elections and make sure their voter registration was up to date. “Take this election seriously!” Bee implored, and it was as forceful as anything else she said during the episode.

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Sam Bee destroys the religious right’s abortion obsession – BRENDAN GAUTHIER TUESDAY, MAY 24, 2016 05:55 AM PDT


The “Full Frontal” host takes aim at the “feverish anti-abortion rhetoric” that has taken over the right VIDEO

Sam Bee destroys the religious right's abortion obsession: "There it is, in the book of Doesn't Exist — right next to the verse condemning lesbians"

“Full Frontal” host Samantha Bee last night returned to the topic of the religious right’s pro-life origin story.

“Having gotten abortion into the Republican platform and evangelical churches, religious right leaders like (Jerry) Falwell spent the next two decades relentlessly pushing the message that abortion caused everything from breast cancer to 9/11,” Bee explained. “After a generation spent successfully riling up the base with feverish anti-abortion rhetoric, it’s no surprise that the divisive issue has divided many from their own sanity.”

“Fine, let’s look at everything the bible says about abortion,” Bee responded to a clip of one of “the countless thousands” of “super annoying assholes” protesting Planned Parenthood, bible in hand. “Oh, there it is, in the book of Doesn’t Exist. Right next to the verse condemning lesbians.”

Watch the full segment below:

How Late-Night Comics Tackle the Election – By John Jurgensen and  Ellen Gamerman Updated March 17, 2016 2:44 p.m. ET


 There’s been a radical changing of the guard in late-night comedy since the last presidential race. WSJ's John Jurgensen reports. Photo Illustration: Stephen Webster for The Wall Street Journal


There’s been a radical changing of the guard in late-night comedy since the last presidential race. WSJ’s John Jurgensen reports. Photo Illustration: Stephen Webster for The Wall Street Journal

Since the last presidential race there has been a radical changing of the guard among the late-night talk shows. Of the 10 shows that regularly weigh in on politics after prime-time hours, eight of them either have new hosts or are entirely new to the schedule since the 2012 election.

Gone are Jay Leno and David Letterman, the first late-night hosts to serve as influential job interviewers for presidential candidates. It’s also the first presidential scrum without Jon Stewart since before 2000, when he put “The Daily Show” on the map with his coverage of the Bush vs. Gore battle.

Election season is a high-pressure proving ground for the late-night newcomers. The stakes are financial—with revenue from campaign ads pouring in—and cultural, providing a chance for hosts to rise above competitors and become part of the daily national conversation. Relative newcomers Samantha Bee and John Oliver have already made headway, even as the network triad of Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy Kimmel and Stephen Colbert lead in the ratings.

There is, of course, no shortage of material. Water-cooler buzz about this election is high. Despite a glut of debates, ratings are strong, even sometimes record-breaking, especially for Donald Trump and the Republicans. The challenge for comics is how to compete with the real-life behavior.

Tina Fey as Sarah Palin, Kate McKinnon as Hillary Clinton, and Amy Poehler as Hillary Clinton on ‘Saturday Night Live’ on Dec. 19, 2015

Tina Fey as Sarah Palin, Kate McKinnon as Hillary Clinton, and Amy Poehler as Hillary Clinton on ‘Saturday Night Live’ on Dec. 19, 2015 — Photo: Dana Edelson/NBC

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