Samantha Bee Claims She’s an ‘Independent,’ Ignores Criticism About Show's ‘Salty Language’

Full Frontal host Samantha Bee joined the set of Wednesday’s PBS NewsHour to promote her TBS show and in the process, she claimed to be an “independent” despite being “excited for Hillary” and defended her show’s near constant use of “salty language” despite a drove of critics (which she argued she ignores). 

Co-host Gwen Ifill first broached the subject on Bee’s political leanings by asking if she was “a Democrat, Republican or neither” to which Bee comically responded: “I would, I mean, I definitely I think my leanings are very clear from the show but I prefer to think of myself in a more independent way, I think.”

Ifill followed up by wondering why Bee doesn’t “just embrace” her lefty beliefs, but Bee maintained that she does seeing as how “I’m excited for Hillary” and boasted as all liberal comedians do that “I like to be able to make jokes about both sides of the aisle.”

Co-host Judy Woodruff sought to expand upon this dubious claim by asking what her thoughts were on joking about Hillary Clinton seeing as how, in her own words, Clinton’s opponent Donald Trump has been a “godsend” for her. Needless to say, Bee admitted that mocking Hillary and the Democratic National Convention (DNC) has been difficult:

Well, it is a little more challenging, actually. I mean, definitely last week we found our self with such an abundance of material, I mean, from, Monday to Thursday it was incredible, it was an overflowing basket of goodies for us to choose from....This week is — we're finding it, but, it is a little bit more — you know, we're having to find a sliver of a way to get in. It's little more nuanced. It's not — it’s not just a banquet for us to select from, so we’re having to be a little more careful and a little bit — and digging a little deeper for sure. 

Turning to what Ifill dubbed Bee’s “salty” and “tough language,” she asked not about that but remarked and pandered that its behavior “people are not used to hearing from a woman.” 

With the hosts curious about any blowback Bee receives, the TBS host responded by claiming that doesn’t “engage with it” since she’s “doing a show that comes from my heart” and the inappropriate language “comes from a place of passion and interest and we use salty language because that's the language we feel like using to express our thoughts and concerns and it's really cathartic for us.”

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“I don’t listen to critics all that much. I don't read about myself. It's actually paradise, if I may. You can live in a bubble in which you think you're doing a good job all the time if you don't read what other people say,” she added. 

In a brief word about Bee stating that she doesn’t absorb any criticism, she has repeatedly responded to tweets from both NewsBusters and this writer about our postings calling out Bee’s atrociously lewd behavior seeking attention and recently told Rolling Stone that she knows “people love to hate-watch” with one such site “transcrib[ing] our show every time it airs” including “unflattering” “stage directions.” 

Hmmm, I wonder who she’s talking about.

The relevant portions of the transcript from the PBS NewsHour on July 27 can be found below.

PBS NewsHour
July 27, 2016
7:46 p.m. Eastern

GWEN IFILL: Would you say you're a Democrat, Republican or neither?

SAMANTHA BEE: I would, I mean, I definitely — I think my leanings are very clear from the show but I prefer to think of myself in a more independent way, I think.

IFILL: Why? Why not just embrace — 

BEE: I do embrace it. I mean, I'm definitely — I’m excited for Hillary. I don't think there is any question about it. I like to be able to make jokes about both sides of the aisle, so I tend to — I like to give myself a little freedom, you know?

JUDY WOODRUFF: What kind of material, though, does Hillary Clinton provide? I mean, if Donald Trump is the gift that keeps on giving, what about her? 

BEE: Well, it is a little more challenging, actually. I mean, definitely last week we found ouselves with such an abundance of material, I mean, from, Monday to Thursday it was incredible, it was an overflowing basket of goodies for us to choose from and in fact, we do a show that's three acts long and 21 minutes and we ended up writing six acts of comedy and just doing everything — doing all of the extras as web extras and putting them up on the web. This week is — we're finding it, but, it is a little bit more — you know, we're having to find a sliver of a way to get in. It's little more nuanced. It's not — it’s not just a banquet for us to select from, so we’re having to be a little more careful and a little bit — and digging a little deeper for sure. 

IFILL: Your show is tough. You use tough language. 

BEE: Thank you.

IFILL: We could not really air it here.

BEE: I know. I know. It's a salty show. 

IFILL: It’s a salty show, which women are not used to hearing from — people are not used to hearing from a woman. 

BEE: No, they're not that used to it. 

IFILL: What kind of feedback do you get? 

BEE: I don't — you know, I think — I stay out of the feedback loop to be honest. 

IFILL: Really?

BEE: I don’t — I don't engage with it too much because I know that I'm doing a show that comes from my heart. We're doing a show that comes from a place of passion and interest and we use salty language because that's the language we feel like using to express our thoughts and concerns and it's really cathartic for us, and I tend to not drop into the criticism of that. I tend to just — I prefer to do my own thing. I prefer to steer my own ship and not — you know, I think anytime you try to create comedy or you try to create a piece of art by consensus, I mean, it's impossible to do a quality product, and I think — so I don't — I don’t — I don’t listen to critics all that much. I don't read about myself. 

IFILL: Good [INAUDIBLE]

BEE: It's actually paradise, if I may. You can live in a bubble in which you think you're doing a good job all the time if you don't read what other people say. 

WOODRUFF: Samantha Bee, you’ve expressed views on how few women there are doing what you do, doing late-night comedy or any kind king of comedy, having their own show. Why aren't there more women doing that? 

BEE: I wish that I had a great answer for that. I wish that I had a funny and creative answer but the truth is I just — I really don't know and I do think that will change and I certainly hope that it will change. I would love to have a sisterhood of late-night comedy hosts. 

WOODRUFF: Do you think it puts more pressure on you? 

BEE: It doesn’t — well, as I said, I stay out of that feedback, so the pressure, I don't allow that pressure to really infiltrate. I let that conversation be held by other people outside of my realm. 

IFILL: Let me ask you this. There — diversity in newsrooms certainly is a big issue. What you see on the air is often reflective of the interests of the people who are deciding that they're going to tell you what you need to know. In a comedy writer's room, how is that reflected? Do you have more women? Do you have more people of color than we normally see? 

BEE: We do. We do. I believe we do and we certainly made an absolute effort to — we wanted to create a diverse workplace. That was one of our missions from the very start because you know, the show owner Jill Miller and myself are both women who we feel like we didn't naturally — we didn’t fall into comedy and comedy writing in an — in an obvious way.


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