Samantha Bee thought she’d be telling very different stories on Full Frontal after Nov. 8.
The Daily Show alumna’s TBS show has become synonymous with scathing, satirical takedowns of the political system, but she admits that she and her team were preparing for a different world back when it seemed Hillary Clinton had the presidency in the bag.
“One of the things we thought would happen had the election gone the way that we all supposed that it would, was that we thought wed be able to do a greater variety of stories that were not election-related, which was exciting to us,” Bee told reporters during a panel at the Television Critics Association winter press tour in Los Angeles on Saturday.
“And we can still do that and we will still do that, because we’re not only passionate about this one issue.”
“As much noise is being made in Washington, everything that really matters is going to continue to happen in the states, and it’s happening really fast and nastily,” agreed Jo Miller, Full Frontal‘s executive producer and showrunner.
“It’ll be a learning curve for all of us,” Bee added.
When asked how she summons the necessary level of “outrage” to feed her show performance, Bee pointed out that there’s plenty to be outraged about.
“It’s challenging, but that’s part of the challenge of any performance anyway,” she said. “It helps me a lot, because for those 21 minutes per week and I’m very glad I only have to do it once a week it’s a cleansing and cathartic experience for me, which permits me to live my life as I wish to live it outside of that timeframe.”
Besides, she added, the outrage seems only proportional to what the world is facing. “It’s a tiring experience to go to bed at night and wake up and have a fresh new world presented to you every day, things you would’ve never expected to see,” she said. “That presents challenges as well, for our souls.”
Despite her relief that she only has to perform the show once a week, Bee teased that the show will be exploring more special episodes like those Full Frontal filmed for the Democratic and Republican conventions.
“We definitely have some very exciting ideas coming down the pike that I cannot share with you at this juncture, but shortly you will know about them,” she said. “We have all of this space within which to do more things like that which tickle our fancy just so.”
With the president-elect accusing the media of concocting “fake news” (ironic, considering some fake news writers believe their fabricated stories may have contributed to Trump winning the election), Bee agreed with a reporter’s suggestion that some cable news networks may have struggled to hold Trump to account during his campaign.
“We watched some news outlets abdicate their responsibility during the election season,” she noted. “But I do think at this juncture, there’s a feeling that they’re really coming for all of us, so it does behoove us to support one another.”
While some have suggested that Trump’s election could at least provide plenty of material for comedy, the Full Frontal team immediately shot down that notion.
“Not just because wed sacrifice our ‘fun comedy’ for the sake of the country it’s not fun, it broke me for weeks. It’s not fun covering that,” Miller insisted. “We had a blast covering Ted Cruz, that was fun. But we had daily, hourly try-and-find-our-joy exercise every day [after the election]. We find it unexpected places, so yeah, when pissgate happened, we found a little joy.”
Bee and Miller also responded to New York Times writer Ross Douthat’s column, “Clinton’s Samantha Bee Problem,” which posited that political comedy shows like Full Frontal and Last Week Tonight with John Oliver further polarize an already divided nation.
“I was so excited to be called a bluestocking feminist, quite honestly,” Bee quipped, brushing off the criticism.
“We were excited to be given attention by a celebrity like Ross whatshisname,” Miller added. “I’ve got two words: The Apprentice. We’re the problem, with our six viewers? The fucking Apprentice.”
Ultimately, Bee pointed out, haters gonna hate: “We don’t pay attention to our critics. We embrace them, we enjoy all of the feedback we receive. We love our viewers, whether they be hate viewers, they still count. We still cherish them.”
Full Frontal with Samantha Bee airs Wednesdays at 10:30 p.m. on TBS.
TBS’ parent company Turner is an investor in Mashable.