Samantha Bee Has Been Warning You About the Assault on Womens Rights For Years, And Its All Coming True
Anyone who’s watched “Full Frontal with Samantha Bee” has has been well aware of the erosion of women’s rights, and how this right-leaning Supreme Court was ready to overturn Roe v. Wade, despite it being the law of the land for nearly 50 years. Nonetheless, when word of an impending verdict came out, it was still shocking. “Full Frontal” happened to be on hiatus that week, giving the show time to prepare its reaction.
“I feel like the tagline to our show should be ‘predicting the overturn of Roe since 2016,’” Bee says. “Because we really have. But it’s not a joke. We’ve covered it so much through the years, we’ve talked about it so much always with an eye to, this is a real war against women. It’s a real backlash against people who are female. And I really feel it. And we’re all so sad. I’m actually glad that we didn’t have to do a show that exact week. But of course we’re covering it, among other things.”
Bee spoke to Variety’s Awards Circuit podcast about hosting a topical show in an era where the news is so bleak. She also talked about the adjustments her show made during the pandemic, some of which have become permanent. And we talk about the segments she’s been most proud of over the past year, including deep dives on women’s health and gun safety. Listen below!
Bee admits that the country is moving to such a dark place, with assaults on the basic rights of women, People of Color and LGBTQ+ citizens, that it’s sometimes hard to cover. “We’ll somehow make jokes and try to make ourselves feel better, try to self soothe, but I don’t see a lot of goodness on the horizon,” she says. “I’m talking to a lot of people now who are quite hopeless, like people who I would turn to for advice, or people who I would turn to to make me feel better. Sometimes if you’re just talking to like the right blend of experts, you’ll kind of walk away going, ‘now I know more than I knew when I initiated that conversation. And I do feel a little better, because I think somebody’s got it under control. It’s going to be fine.’ And no one I’m talking to is offering me that comfort right now.”
The hope, of course, was that the news cycle would calm down after Donald Trump left office in 2020. But the damage has been done, as we now live in a world where Republican politicians can openly share racist, sexist and homophobic viewpoints. “He definitely pulled some really big levers that have undergone a lot of the gentleman’s agreements that this country was really built on,” Bee says. “And so we’re living with the consequences of that. And also emerging from a full two plus year pandemic, which has been so gripping in dealing with this massive national grief and our rights are being stripped away, seemingly from under us. And so there’s a lot to contend with. And then you make jokes on top of that, to just try to achieve some kind of catharsis or something or just like, find some common ground with people who feel the same way as you do that the world is so crazy. And you have to sometimes just share your laughter or your anger or whatever it is with people who are like minded.”
She adds: “We’re still just observing the news cycle. It’s not necessarily affecting us every moment of the day, the way that it is affecting everyone else. But we can’t turn our eyes, we can’t turn our attention away from the news and what is happening out there. So giving yourself a pause, stepping back from social media, stepping back from the news cycle, it feels like it feels like a precious gift. So you have to take those opportunities where you find them. And on hiatuses. I’m always like, ‘please, nobody Slack. Just stop communicating. You don’t need to have like a great idea when you’re on vacation, you could write them on a pad. And then you can share them on Monday on the Monday when we get back!’”
Variety’s “Awards Circuit” podcast, produced by Michael Schneider, is your one-stop listen for lively conversations about the best in film and television. Each week “Awards Circuit” features interviews with top film and TV talent and creatives; discussions and debates about awards races and industry headlines; and much, much more. Subscribe via Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify or anywhere you download podcasts. New episodes post every Thursday and Friday.
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