On Wednesday night at a New York promotional event for her new memoir "I Know I Am, But What Are You?," Samantha Bee fielded questions from the audience about her book, life as a mother, and career as a correspondent for The Daily Show. I asked Bee to comment about the perception that television writers' rooms are largely "boys clubs" that have no place for funny females. I wondered what her experience had been like as the lone female face on yet another late-night show that appears to be heavily male-dominated.
Bee's answer was extremely telling. She said that she's enjoyed her time with the show and hasn't run into any difficulties because of her gender. She credited several reasons that included the facts that a) the show has two female writers; b) their style is not to be over-the-top or crude; c) she has a dirtier mind than all of the men who work for the show; and d) they're prepared to hire another female correspondent.
Little did I realize that Bee's last point was alluding to secret news that the show had hired Olivia Munn as its newest correspondent, at least on a trial basis. Munn made her debut a few minutes ago and, unsurprisingly, she was unexpectedly joined by the show's other correspondents in her first assignment. It was their way to welcome her to the mix, while also demonstrating what she can expect staff meetings to feel like. They pretended to be nervous that Munn was going to force one of them out of their jobs. But it was Bee's appearance that really grabbed my attention.
Bee emerged first from to deliberately interrupt Munn's debut performance. It was a clever way to welcome Munn to the team - by faking contempt for her and her good looks. Bee jokingly explained that "this show already has a sexy news bunny" - her. Munn sold the sketch with her feigned outrage that Bee and her cohorts had crashed her party. "I'm not here to replace anyone," Munn finally stressed to them before shooing them all away. It sent the message that Munn was not going to be treated any differently, even if she's a more high-profile name who can attract a younger demographic.
Munn will surely have her chance to show off what she can do, comedy-wise. Clearly, her new colleagues are there to welcome her and show her the ropes. Bee seemed as excited during Munn's first sketch as she did last night while subtly referencing Munn's hiring. It had to be easier on Munn tonight to know that she had at least one fan behind her...and then notably beside her.