“Full Frontal with Samantha Bee” delighted its audience throughout Donald Trump’s campaign for president with graphically creative descriptors.
“Sentient caps-lock button.”
“Screaming carrot demon.”
“The white power movement’s orange ally.”
But, like many who supported Hillary Clinton during the 2016 election, the “Full Frontal” writing staff had hoped those jabs wouldn’t be as relevant after Nov. 8.
“We tried to get them all out before the election,” the show’s head writer, Jo Miller, told The Huffington Post. (It was a valiant effort ― check out some of their best Trump takedowns from our editors above.)
“I think we’ve gone from being satirists to being dissidents,” she said of the show as we march on toward Jan. 20, and Trump’s oath of office.
In our conversation, Miller and writer Ashley Nicole Black remembered the night of the election ― not fondly. As the staff and host Samantha Bee gathered in the office to follow closely along with the results, the mood began to shift as it did across the country when Americans realized that poll estimates had been grossly inaccurate.
“Around the time that the New York Times predictions flipped, we got writers and Sam together in the room and sat in silence, mostly. A lot of silence,” Miller said. That Tuesday, the team had to toss out much of their work that had been prepped assuming the Clinton victory predicted across the media. The next night, they had still managed to pull together a show that swathed their bewilderment at American politics in the cloak of a dark, yet punchy, comedy.
As Black explained, however, those jokes (though written with aplomb) don’t come so easy to many comic writers after the country elected a president who filled his campaign with bullying rhetoric often directed at women, people of color, the LGBTQ community and other groups that have all too often been shoved to the sidelines of American history.
“Most comedians come to comedy because they have something that makes them feel like an outsider that they want to express,” Black said simply, “and anything that makes you feel like an outsider right now feels like it also puts you in danger.”
On facing four years of finding the humor in a Trump Administration, she said, “We’re not excited.”
“Full Frontal” had been sharpening its claws, ready to go after Clinton post-election on “so much stuff,” Miller said, before the news of an impending Republican presidency threw them off course. Now, current events produce so much material to dissect for the sake of comedy ― and awareness ― that it feels “like standing in a fire hose of shit.” But the team will continue to tackle the issues that speak the loudest to their diverse group of writers.
“We follow our gut and what’s obsessing us the most at the moment,” Miller said.
“Full Frontal With Samantha Bee” returns to TBS Wednesday at 10:30 p.m. ET.