Samantha Bee’s Staff Is Full Of ‘People Who Have Been Underestimated’

07.05.16 3 years ago 4 Comments
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Full Frontal with Samantha Bee is one of the few female-helmed late night shows on the air in a boys club full of them, and the articles keep rolling in about how host Samantha Bee is kicking ass with her brand of satirical political coverage. Many of this coverage has highlighted how Bee is having the last laugh in yet another male-dominated entertainment niche, and a Rolling Stone profile continues that thread, chronicling how Bee’s show is made up of a creative staff that’s been traditionally marginalized.

Specifically, the Rolling Stone article details what Bee did in choosing her writing staff:

“I have literally filled my office with people who have been underestimated their entire careers. To a person, we almost all fit into that category. It is so joyful to collect a group of people who nobody has ever thought could grasp the reins of something and f*cking go for it.”

When it comes to hard numbers, 50 percent of Bee’s writers are women, and 30 percent are people of color. One of her hires was working at a DMV before swinging onto Full Frontal. The show was able to hire a staff like this mainly because Bee leveled the playing field by putting out an application that actually leveled the playing field. For example, her application offered explicit instructions on what samples were supposed to look like. This motivation likely comes out of Bee and her showrunner being underestimated at the Daily Show, where it was widely perceived that Bee was passed over as Jon Stewart’s successor, and thus using that feeling to find people who could bring an entertainingly angry perspective to her show, as described against her peers:

Where John Oliver is affable/caustic and Jon Stewart indignant/bemused, Bee is quite literally outraged. “She happens to be one of those rare people who is able to see the urgency of things when others may not,” Stewart tells me. “Especially when it’s something that she really feels connected to. She is invested — she’s there for a reason.”

This has resulted in memorable segments like Bee’s take on the Pulse nightclub shooting, and in another segment where she lays bare the travesty of various police departments’ rape kit backlog. The rest of the Rolling Stone profile is also great, including the lead anecdote involving Bee convincing a bad-news boyfriend to break her hand after she missed high school exams in order to spend time with him.

(via Rolling Stone)

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