Samantha Bee Talks Feminism, Not Replacing Jon Stewart, & Being In Her IDGAF Years


If you don’t know what “IDGAF” stands for, Google it. That’s the suggestion of late night TV comedian Samantha Bee, host of ‘Full Frontal’ on TBS, who says she is comfortable adopting that attitude now that she is in her 40s. In an interview with NPR’s Terry Gross for her show ‘Fresh Air’, Sam B, one of only 2 female comedians in the late night TV landscape (hooray for Chelsea Handler’s Netflix show finally debuting!) talked about the freedom she feels being at an age where she doesn’t need to please everyone, her thoughts on not being chosen to replace Jon Stewart on ‘The Daily Show’, and who introduced her to feminism.

“Being in my late 40s has been absolutely freeing and liberating for me. I’m a married woman with kids. I’m a professional. People just can’t [put me] in a tiny box that makes sense to them, so now I just don’t care that much what people think of me … and now I do my own thing,” she said, outlining exactly the type of woman who is such a threat to certain systems and social orders which seek to keep people pigeon-holed.

She says she has also learned how to say “no”, which she also claims is part of her age.

“I’m 46 now and I’m in my IDGAF years…I’m not so concerned what people think of me now, and I do think that that’s definitely experience, but it is also age…It has been fantastic…I don’t read what people think of my outfits or my hair; I don’t care. I do things to please myself. We do the show to please ourselves. It’s an incredible feeling,” she said.

Right out of the gate, Sam and her show have become a force to be reckoned with in the late night line-up, tackling important issues like racism, abortion and wage equality, but also creating some of the most engaging and hilarious content around the Presidential election. Her mockery of some of the candidates’ antics is second to none, and she does it in a way that still allows an important message to get through.

For instance, the interview with a Texas Republican legislator on abortion was eye opening, especially because it exposed how little he actually knew about the procedure (thinking it requires “cutting”). However she does point out that the legislator in question, Dan Flynn, was well aware of what the show was about, but didn’t seem to mind that he was going to be made fun of for not knowing what he was talking about.

“He was very willing to talk to us. He’s passionate about the issue that he’s passionate about. We happen to disagree so strenuously with one another…he knew on some level that we were going to make jokes and that we were absolutely going to disagree, and we did, and it was fine…It wasn’t actually a really tense situation at all, we just literally completely disagree about abortion. We disagree on the facts of abortion, actually,” she said.

The sad part about this exchange is that Dan Flynn is no lone wolf. There are MANY other legislators across the US who have no idea about the actual data or facts around abortion, yet they are vigorously pushing anti-choice laws that do more harm than good. Here is the interview in case you missed it:

Despite being the longest serving correspondent on ‘The Daily Show’ and not being chosen to replace the hallowed outgoing host Jon Stewart, we have to express what a blessing in disguise that was because having her own show means she gets to write the rules and doesn’t have the burden of being compared to a well-loved predecessor. It seems Sam B is of the same mind about not being chosen.

“I was not surprised, and also I didn’t really care. … [Stewart] announced that he was leaving, [and] a few days after that they picked up ‘The Detour’, and then they offered me my own show, so everything kind of happened all at once, which was very lucky, because there was a feeling of panic or tension — there’s always a moment where if you’ve done a job for 12 years you think, ‘Oh, my God, what now?’ But it’s lucky in entertainment to have a job for 12 years,” she said.

As for who influenced her feminism growing up, well that would be her mother. Sam B claims feminism is in her DNA, and that today it is simply a part of who she is and who her daughters are.

“My mother had strong opinions of things. My grandmother — my grandfather left her for another woman when I was a little girl, so she was making her way, she worked when nobody else was working. My great-grandmother had gotten a divorce in the 1920s and made her way through the world on her own, so it’s just part of my family,” she said.

Being a TV personality today, Sam B can recall growing up watching certain female TV icons who influenced and shaped her view of strong women growing up, showing just how real the “you can’t be what you can’t see” phrase really is.

“I also watched female comedians killing it on television every day, because I grew up in the ’70s when you watched TV when you ate dinner. TV was your best friend and your baby sitter, but I would sit and watch ‘The Carol Burnett Show’, ‘I Love Lucy’, ‘SCTV’ [Second City TV], Catherine O’Hara, Andrea Martin — there was no shortage of strong female performers making their way in comedy,” she recalls.

And now it’s her turn to be the strong female comedy icon for a whole generation of girls to grow up watching. Having someone like Samantha Bee break the late night gender drought after Chelsea Handler left E! Entertainment in 2015 was exactly what the doctor ordered, and we can unequivocally say how happy we are to have her unapologetic feminist voice in the mainstream delivering important topics and messages in her signature way.

You can listen to the full interview with NPR’s Terry Gross below:

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  1. Pingback: How I Learned I Don't Have To Only Cast Straight, White Cis-Gendered Men As My Web Series Love Interest - GirlTalkHQ

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