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Bringing ‘a hot poker of comedy’: Samantha Bee on ‘Full Frontal’

“Full Frontal With Samantha Bee” premieres Monday on TBS.Chad Batka for New York Times/NYT

PASADENA, Calif. — Samantha Bee was one of the most fearless correspondents on “The Daily Show With Jon Stewart.”

For 12 years she reveled in the absurdities of everything from political conventions to boardroom shenanigans and now she’s bringing that sensibility to TBS with her new late-night comedy show “Full Frontal With Samantha Bee,” which premieres Monday at 10:30 p.m.

Bee and executive producer Jo Miller recently talked with reporters about the feel of “Frontal.” Viewers will definitely recognize elements of her previous job in the series, which will heavily feature the field pieces that were the Toronto native’s “Daily Show” forte, as well as sketch comedy and filmed bits.


“That was work that I loved doing so much,” said Bee of going out into the field to report.“I’m really passionate about it, and I thought it would be a really interesting and unique thing to keep going. And we definitely are expanding that world, and we are definitely going to mix up the styles of things, and we are definitely going to evolve the medium.”

Although she is a comedian first, Bee says she loves “pretending” to be a reporter because, “I love talking to people. It’s kind of the best part of my job. I learn something from every single person I talk to. The people that we meet, they change me, and it actually means a lot to me.”

Viewers can also expect to see more segments related to women on “Full Frontal.”

“There just has not been a wealth of women in late night. So, of course, that’s going to come up” in conversation about the show, she said. “And women’s issues are extremely important to me. It’s not going to be the only thing that we talk about on the show, but it’s definitely a passion that we will end up delving into.”


Bee said topics could range from the inconsistencies in medical services for women in the VA — “At many of the VA hospital locations, there are no words in the computer system for women’s body parts such as vaginas and cervixes, not unlike in the world of late night television,” she quipped — to the rise of Islamophobia during election cycles.

If that all sounds serious, it is, but hopefully funny too.

“We’re not that interested in puncturing hypocrisy, like, ‘You said that, but then you did this, j’accuse!’ ” said Miller of the show’s tone. “Yeah, people are hypocrites, whatever, boring. Hypocrisy isn’t as interesting to us as injustice.”

“And also comedy,” added Bee. “Really, what we want to do is take stories that we don’t think receive enough attention and stab them with the hot poker of comedy.”

In addition to “Full Frontal,” Bee will be busy indeed as she is also working as an executive producer on “The Detour,” a TBS comedy starring her husband, former “Daily Show” correspondent Jason Jones, loosely based on their family life, which premieres April 11.

Sarah Rodman can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @GlobeRodman.