Samantha Bee Interview

Whether you know her from her long run as a Daily Show correspondent, or from her award-winning show “Full Frontal with Samantha Bee,” there is no arguing Samantha Bee is a grade-A host, entertainer, and charismatic. For the first time, Bee is taking her wit and comedy on tour with her first-ever national tour “Samantha Bee: Your Favorite Woman.” The tour comes to Cleveland’s Playhouse Square on Thursday, May 11. Bee took time out of her day on the way to a show to talk to Cleverock’s Delaney Canfield about prepping for a tour, finding what content speaks to her, and some upcoming projects as well!

Delaney Canfield: This is your first national tour, which is a bit different than hosting your own television show. How do you prepare differently for doing standup versus your typical projects?

Samanta Bee: “Well, the difference is, I guess that I mean, the biggest difference and this is such a like it’s such a funny, weird difference is that when I was in the process of making a TV show, the show changed every week…It was like always brand new, fresh show with, you know, tracking like what’s in the news and kind of tracking the news cycle in a different way. So creating something that is evergreen, it’s actually a much different experience. It’s really fun and it’s different in the sense that you kind of like refine it over time as opposed to like when you’re making a weekly show, you’re always like, you work really hard and it’s like really crazy and then you do the show and then you will never see that material again in your life. laughs Which is actually really sad! It’s just if you really love something, it’s hard to let it go. So it’s actually really nice to, like, live with it for a little while and see how it’s resonating with me as I progress through time and see how it resonates with different audiences all over the place. So it’s like flexing a totally different set of muscles and I really do like it. I really like it a lot.” 

DC: Was it difficult to pick topics and subject areas that you felt were going to be evergreen?

SB: “No, because, you know, I mean, it really is. It’s organic to me. And I really did have to think about, you know with the show ending I had to think about like, what are the things that I would like to talk about now? Like what is the thing that I feel like I need to say, but I never really got to fully say on television? Like, I think it’s been, it’s been a different exercise in another way, which is like, ‘what do I feel like I need to say right now? ‘Or ‘what do I personally need to talk about right now’ as opposed to like, what is the news cycle dictating to me? Or this requires our attention. So I’m enjoying it from that perspective too, because I feel like I feel like called to do this show in a way… it’s a deep urge within myself.”

DC: That must be so fulfilling!

SB: “It is! I feel like it’s like…because I’ve been a public speaker or like a public presence for such a long, long time. And so I feel like when you retreat from the kind of like the regularity of that, like I kind of only want to talk about things when I feel passionate about them. Like if I’m not going to speak from the heart moving forward then really, what am I doing? Like, why bother? I don’t want to go do a game show. I want to like speak from the heart when called to speak from heart, and then just like, not speak, if not called to do it (laughs).”

DC: That’s so beautiful. I love that!

SB: “It’s like a pretty good set of criteria, I think. It’s working for me.”

DC: I would say! How has the audience responded to that?

SB: “I think really well, I think you can you know, you can really sniff it out when it’s an inauthentic experience. And so I feel like the audience is real, it’s really there.  So far they’ve been really along for the ride. And I hope that Cleveland is the same. I’m pretty excited to come back there. I’ve spent so much time in Cleveland over the years through The Daily Show and we filmed there and then there was the political convention.”

DC: Well, we are very excited to have you back! It’s always a lot of fun. One of the things that I loved, that I think was in your press release, but it was a quote that says “Segments on Full Frontal focused on making complex issues more accessible.” And I think that is such an exciting line to have in almost a comedic way as well. So I’m curious how you’ve like kind of dove into that idea of making these things more accessible.

SB: “Well, you know, it’s funny because it’s what I like. You know what I mean? I don’t know how else to say it, but it’s like what I need as a civilian and a citizen, and as a viewer of television. Like, I’m very motivated by the news. I’m very interested in what’s going on in the world. But I don’t always want to… I don’t always want to receive my information in the form of a very dry biscuit.  Like, it’s helpful to me when someone analyzes something or breaks an issue down in a way that is really digestible to me. So like, I think part of what we did at Full Frontal was literally break it down for ourselves. We were learning as we went and those were always the most fun segments I guess, like when we were breaking apart an issue and like kind of learning the contours of what would not seem to be a really humorous issue and like making it interesting for ourselves, making it kind of an adventure, making it like a narrative …so that we could have a takeaway. And then…everything was very scrupulously fact-checked, etc.  And of course, if it peaked your interest and you wanted to carry forward your knowledge, go for it, I mean, that’s great. But sometimes you just need an entertaining introduction to something, or sometimes you just want to hear a different alternate opinion or someone else’s take to just like help you kind of figure out what your own feelings are about something. I certainly learned…it’s not like I came into every ounce of subject matter on Full Frontal and was like, ‘I have a pre-cooked version of this subject…I think I know everything about this.’ Like I was also learning and also figuring out what my opinion is on something, you know? That’s fun! That’s actually, cool. And also having my mind changed is the greatest.

DC: That’s what I was just going to say. As an audience member to watch somebody go through that is really cool. To see someone like you on stage or even on TV saying that makes me feel like, ‘Oh hey, they are just like me.’

SB: “Yeah, we gain new knowledge and we get new perspectives. And that’s the learning journey. I feel like life would be very boring if an issue was imprinted on us when we were five years old and we never had the opportunity to learn more or grow a new opinion or like gain further perspective. Like, what in the world are we doing? I just think it’s so weird that politicians are like, ‘Oh, flip-floppers’ if they change their mind about something. I’m like, ‘Please change your mind about things!’  Allow us to help you change your mind about things. It’s so vital that people change their minds.”

DC: Yes, absolutely! Absolutely. The last thing I wanted to ask you, just in case people who are reading this don’t have the chance to catch your show on tour, is I know you’re launching a podcast as well, so I’d love to know more about that since it’s a new world you’re diving into!

SB: “I’m really excited because, you know, one of the things that I just loved to do at Full Frontal and just in general from years and years of being in the world of news-based entertainment is, I love to interview people. I really, really love it. I will say I truly, truly miss that. So I’m extending that into a podcast. It’s going to be called Choice Words. It launches on June 1st and so far I’ve had some really great guests. We’ve had some great conversations already.  I’m excited. I want to talk to people …because I’ve just made some huge life choices that are very different from what I might have expected. And so I’m talking to cool people about, the huge life choices they’ve made, like the big swings, swing and a miss or a swing and a home run. I want to talk to people who are like pivoting in their worlds as well.

While you can catch Samantha on her podcast starting June 1, tickets are still available for her Cleveland show on May 11th! Tickets can be purchased RIGHT HERE. Meet and Greet packages are also available with part of the proceeds benefiting Noise for Now.

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