Samantha Bee Wants to Use Comedy to Fight Gun Violence
Samantha Bee is getting ready to tackle one of modern culture’s most serious topics — with comedy.
On Wednesday, her “Full Frontal” program on TBS will focus entirely on the challenges of gun violence in America. “Full Frontal Wants To Take Your Guns” will air Wed. May 12 at 10:30 p.m. eastern. The opening segment will feature appearances by Regina King, Ilana Glazer and Representative Gabrielle Gifford, among others.
The comedian believes the program will help make a daunting problem seem like something that anyone can try to fight. “It’s completely overwhelming. “The moment you start down one avenue to talk about guns, you’re talking about ten different problems A lot of them seem completely intractable,” says Bee during a short interview Monday. “It’s like contemplating the cosmos.”
But her effort will be a lot more humorous than that sort of endeavor. “I will say this: We somehow have taken this very difficult, horrific issue and made a half hour TV show that is really extremely funny and doesn’t feel completely tragic from end to end,” says Bee. “This is a very, very funny special and I think that comes from a place where we feel really overwhelmed.”
“Full Frontal” typically addresses several topics across its thirty-minute running time, but on occasion the show will delve into something the staff finds impossible to ignore. “Every once in a while, an issue will emerge that requires us to dive a little more deeply,” says Bee. “We don’t have that much TV real estate, so we like to use it as judiciously as possible. This felt like a really smart use of our time.”
She has found more room in digital pursuits. “Full Frontal” also produces a podcast, “Full Release,” and is about to launch its “Not Beeing At Home” web series, which follows Bee and her correspondents as they return to what-should-be-simple routines after a year in quarantine. The program will be available via YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and follows “Beeing At Home,” which kept focus on “Full Frontal” personalities while hunkered down during the pandemic.
Bee says the digital programs give her opportunities to talk to audiences in different ways. On the podcast, she says, “I tend to lead with curiosity, and we have great guests and I’m so excited to talk to them in a longer way — get to know them better, instead of short sound bites.”
Meanwhile, after showing viewers the travails of “Beeing At Home,” the “Full Frontal” crew can demonstrate the challenges of doing the opposite. “We are trying to reintegrate into society, figure out what that means,” says Bee. Viewers can follow along and determine the answers for themselves.
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