‘Full Frontal with Samantha Bee’ offers fresh take on late night | TV Review

Samantha Bee
Samantha Bee hosts her new late-night show "Full Frontal with Samantha Bee." (MTSU Sidelines / FILE)

When Jon Stewart left the Daily Show last year, fans wondered if anyone could replace him.

Finally, after six months of waiting, that void has been filled.

The aptly titled Full Frontal with Samantha Bee, which premiered Feb. 8 on TBS, delivered the type of smart and edgy satire one would expect with a seasoned pro like comedian Samantha Bee at the helm.

Right off the bat, Bee addressed the elephant in the room — her position as the only female late night host — with a faux press conference where she was asked what it took for her, as a woman, to make the show a reality.

“Hard work, a great team. Maybe just a little bit of magic,” she replied with a wink before the camera cut to a shot of her possessed by evil powers. Back at the press conference, she tells the horrified reporters, “It’s true: We’re all witches.”

That sarcastic brand of humor is a big part of what made her so successful as the longest-serving correspondent on The Daily Show, and it’s nice to see it followed her to Full Frontal.

The only apparent disadvantage is the show’s schedule. Instead of a nightly broadcast, Full Frontal is a weekly show, leaving Bee and the writers to deal with stories that have been picked apart by everyone else.

Despite that, though, Bee still managed a fresh take on the news. For instance, in the first segment recap of the candidates various activities in New Hampshire this past week, she cleverly compared Chris Christie’s attacks on Marco Rubio to the bear attacking Leonardo DiCaprio’s character in The Revenant. It seems like such an obvious comparison, yet she was the first to put it out there.

A lot of credit has to be given to the writers, as well. The staff, which contains former writers for shows like the Late Show with David Letterman and websites like College Humor and The Onion, perfectly sculpts the material to match Bee’s style of presentation.

And a unique style it is: Unlike every other late-night host, she doesn’t sit behind a desk, which fits her more physical performance (and truly encompasses the name Full Frontal).

Another notable part of the show’s debut was a field piece on Jeb Bush’s campaign shot in the style of a German documentary. The piece showcased the somewhat bleak feel of Bush’s campaign and even went as far as showing a turtle, the mascot of the Bush campaign, being eaten by an alligator, a large-mouthed animal obviously representing Donald Trump.

Though nobody could ever truly take the place of Jon Stewart in the world of political satire, Bee certainly has the best shot. She offers the same wit and clever commentary that Stewart did but from a fresh perspective, adding a bright light to the monotonous field of late-night hosts.


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To contact Lifestyles editor Tanner Dedmon, email lifestyles@mtsusidelines.com.

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