Full Frontal with Samantha Bee

TBS Mondo Samantha Bee


To hear what Fresh Air host Terry Gross called “the best rape joke ever,” dial 1-844-4-TROLLZ. This is what you’ll hear:

Hello, you have reached the Samantha Bee rape threatline. No one is here to take your call, but your offer of nonconsensual sex is important to us. So please select from the following menu:


To tell me I’m a dumb bitch that needs to be raped, press one. To tell me you’re going to violate every hole in my idiot libtard body, press two. To tell me that you’re going to do it slowly and painfully, but that a slut like me will probably like it, press three. To tell me you wouldn’t even rape me because of how old and disgusting I am, press four. Or to simply shriek the word rape repeatedly, press five. For all other menacing remarks aimed at intimidating me through the threat of sexual violence, press zero. Thank you for your call.

(Pressing any number starts a clip of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, a perfect touch.)

This piece encapsulates Samantha Bee – concise and dense with jazz riffs on a theme, in this case two entwined concepts, the idiocy of a certain kind of Internet commentary and the dull predictability of the misogyny too often found within. I laughed so hard the first time, I had to start over to catch everything, then listened twice more just for delight at the execution.

Samantha Bee is, hands down, the best performer on late night TV. Her show is a lean 21 minutes, once a week, but it’s packed with more good material, more sharply delivered (Bee has a laser-focused fury), than all of her “boys’ club” competition. She doesn’t hesitate in her monologues, often barreling over the studio audience’s applause, piling on the riffs and variations so perfectly you’ll want to watch again just to marvel at how she does it.

Structurally, the show is derivative, using the same template as The Daily Show (where Bee used to work) and its spinoffs. The first few Full Frontal episodes placed more emphasis on the edited video “interviews” its sibling programs are known for, but they didn’t work as well here because they interrupted Bee’s frenetic rhythm. The show quickly found its groove by shortening those segments and centering everything on Bee, fearless performer.

Full Frontal is not a news program, and not exactly a satirical news show (sometimes it plays like a satire of those shows.) Think of it as an op-ed delivered by the valedictorian who got kicked off the debate team. The jokes might sting if you don’t share her politics (hence the need for that rape threatline), and she does plenty of preaching to the choir – an occupational hazard. I’ll say it again: the best performer on late night TV. Check her out.