Up Front

Sa­man­tha Bee, for­mer Daily Show funny lady and proud Cana­dian, on her new show and why she’s feel­ing “dan­ger­ous.”

ELLE (Canada) - - Radar -

It’s a non- stop cav­al­cade of ac­tiv­ity!” trills Sa­man­tha Bee over the phone from New York. I’ve caught the Cana­di­an­born comed­ian (fa­mously The Daily Show With Jon Ste­wart’s longest­serv­ing correspondent) deep in the de­vel­op­ment trenches of her own late-night show, Full Frontal With Sa­man­tha Bee, pre­mier­ing this month on TBS. “I can hear peo­ple howl­ing in the next room,” says Bee. “We’re hav­ing the best day comb­ing through raw footage of [Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial hope­ful] Ted Cruz and cut­ting our own elec­tion ads for him, for no other rea­son than it’s fun.”

If Bee sounds like the best boss ever, it’s no ac­ci­dent. “I’ve thought a lot about the work cul­ture I want to cre­ate at this show,” says the 46-year-old. “I want it to be a place where some­one like me thrives, and I do my best work when I’m feel­ing good.” It seems like a funny jux­ta­po­si­tion—a sup­port­ive en­vi­ron­ment for a show de­voted to skew­er­ing cur­rent events—but that’s a bit like Bee her­self. Her golly-gosh man­ner and Mid­west­ern-y ac­cent (she was ac­tu­ally raised in Toronto) be­lie a take-no-pris­on­ers ap­proach to com­edy (which she’ll need as the only woman on late-night TV).

“The show is called Full Frontal, and that’s our MO—not so much in terms of nu­dity but auda­city,” says Bee. “Some of the stuff we’re think­ing about out­putting feels dan­ger­ous. It’s tit­il­lat­ing!”

Bee says that fe­male-fronted com­edy shows are fod­der for In­ter­net-troll at­tacks be­cause, as she puts it, “When you’re a woman on tele­vi­sion or so­cial me­dia, this we know: Peo­ple will do their worst— they are the stuff of your night­mares.” She jokes that the Full Frontal team is de­vel­op­ing a “dark” way of deal­ing with it: “We’re set­ting up a so­cial-me­dia ac­count to com­pile the death threats. Then we can get an in­tern to go through them, flag the ones that seem a lit­tle more re­al­is­tic and send them di­rectly to the FBI.” She laughs and then pauses. “It’s def­i­nitely a joke where the laugh­ter trails off into a dark­ness.”

Bee grew up plan­ning to go to law school un­til an act­ing class took her life in a to­tally dif­fer­ent di­rec­tion. “My par­ents would have loved a pro­fes­sional in the fam­ily,” she says. “My mom still thinks I’m do­ing a ca­bleac­cess show. She’s like, ‘Is that thing hap­pen­ing? Will it even air?’” n

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