When her late-night political comedy show Full Frontal premieres on Feb. 8, Samantha Bee will do one thing like a man: She’ll be standing up.
“The one thing that I knew is that I wouldn’t have a desk,” the former “Daily Show” correspondent says. “I actually like using my body a little bit more. I find if I’m really stationary, sometimes all the comedy goes into my face, and then it’s a really weird performance of me pulling crazy faces.”
Bee’s mission statement for the show is straightforward: “I’d like to make a funny show that draws attention to things that are important.” But how will her gender affect what that means? Will this be an after-hours version of a daytime talk show? Can women’s issues be funny? Does being a woman pose an obligation?
Bee says her “woman-ness” will certainly influence the show’s point of view.
“[Women] see things differently,” she says. “The stories that speak to us, speak to us differently than they speak to the other shows, and that naturally flows from the gender that we grew up with.” The risque-sounding title is actually about being unflinching and even visceral — like an upcoming segment on Texas’ TRAP laws changing how abortion providers operate.
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Ultimately, “Full Frontal” will not be feminine so much as feminist. Bee points to the Zika virus outbreak and the response of medical authorities, including the Centers for Disease Control here in the U.S., warning women not to get pregnant rather than urging men to use birth control. “Full Frontal” aims to be a reminder of a simple truth: We’re all in this together.
“A story about women getting a mosquito-borne virus that creates birth defects in the womb affects men, it affects families,” she says. “These things don’t just resonate with women; they’re everybody’s issues.”
Full Frontal with Samantha Bee airs Mondays at 10:30 p.m. on TBS.