Full Frontal with Samantha Bee is an American late-night Talk Show and news satire program that airs on TBS, hosted by comedian Samantha Bee, a former correspondent on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.
Bee served as a correspondent on The Daily Show for 12 years, becoming its longest tenured correspondent, before leaving in 2015, shortly before Jon Stewart's own departure. Bee and her husband, fellow Daily Show correspondent Jason Jones, pitched television shows to networks, and their scripted series, called The Detour, was picked up by TBS in February 2015. TBS then decided to extend their relationship with Bee to develop a late-night talk show to pair with Conan.
The show has segments that focus on news headlines, field pieces, and "grab bag" segments. Also, a number of guest actors have appeared in various segments.
On July 25, 2022, it was announced that the show was cancelled as part of a series of cutbacks as a result of the Warner Bros.-Discovery merger.
Most of the episodes have been made available on the show's YouTube channel.
Tropes associated with Full Frontal with Samantha Bee include:
- Affectionate Parody: Quite often, they've done parodies of other shows or films, including The West Wing, The Man in the High Castle, and The Handmaid's Tale alone for the Not the White House Correspondents' Dinner (and a parody of All the President's Men had to be cut for time from the broadcast), and The Matrix for an episode's segment about Russian hacking.
- Amazonian Beauty: Sam likes to imagine HERSELF as one.
- *Bleep*-dammit!: A very unusual case where the censorship and lack of censorship happens to the same word. To honor his rebellious sass against the Donald Trump White House, Samantha presents CNN's Jake Tapper with a "Thunder Cunt Award" (named after a Twitter Insult Backfire she received during the election) and accompanying T-Shirt. The spoken word cunt is uncensored, as is when it's written out when the offending Tweet is shown, but when they show Jake's T-shirt the word is pixellated (it's TV censorship rather than part of the design, as you can see the blurred pixels move).
- Bread, Eggs, Breaded Eggs: In the segment on forensic science, Sam remarks that America's favorite pasttimes include baseball, apple pie, and baseball pie (cue graphic of a pie with baseballs in it).
- Celebrity Resemblance: Sam noted that Donald Trump's Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin looks an awful lot like John Oliver, leading her to dub him John's "evil twin". John himself later adopted this joke on his own show, giving self-serving compliments to Mnuchin whenever he mentions him.
- Conspiracy Theorist:
- During the 2016 election, the show started a (fake) conspiracy that Donald Trump was illiterate, using much of the same logic that extreme right-wingers use against Hillary Clinton.
- Shortly after Sean Hannity was revealed as Michael Cohen's secret third client, the show devoted an entire segment to claim that Sean Hannity is actually a serial killer.
- Country Matters:
- The show had the Seattle councilwomen who were targeted for denying to give harbor terrain for a new arena being referred as the "Seattle SeaWards" (the blooper reel has one of the women saying the word out loud).
- Also, one of Hillary Clinton's instructions by PBS before a debate are "don't be c*nty." ("Oh, that's the same thing TBS told me before we taped this one! What is 'canty'?")
- And one of the show's commercials does a Bait-and-Switch. ("Sam, most people think you're unfit to talk about America due to being a C-word. Canadian.")
- Played completely straight when discussing a picture Ivanka Trump posted with her child, after Bee discussed Trump administration policies involving separating children from their illegal immigrant parents: "Let me just say, one mother to another, do something about your dad's immigration practices you feckless cunt!"
- In the fallout from the ensuing controversy, this trope is given a nod in this follow-up segment in a Bait-and-Switch:Sam: Wow, who knew conservatives were so sensitive about the C-word?note I should make a note of that.
- Courteous Canadian: During a segment on the upcoming Canadian 2019 general election, Sam and Alana politely ask other Canadians to vote, exclaiming that making demands will piss Canadians off. So, they politely ask Canadians to vote, then switch to a thick Canadian accent and threaten to unleash the hockey goon in Alana. Sam pleads with Alana to “hold yourself off eh!”
- Distaff Counterpart: To Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, another news satire series starring an immigrant who used to be a correspondent for The Daily Show. Both shows air once a week and tend to do longer-form segments that do deep dives into overlooked political issues - and in fact are shot in the same studio with the same director. Could also be an Alternate Company Equivalent, aside from the fact both HBO and TBS are owned by Warner Bros. Discovery.
- Expy: The "Sam Squad" are Daily Show correspondents in all but name. Given her prior experience on Jon Stewart's run, this is not unexpected.
- Flipping the Bird: One of the correspondents who sent in an "Apology Race" for all Trump had said decided to pick up a souvenir for Sam... and came out with a middle finger.
- Friendly Enemy:
- For Christmas 2016, Sam spent a Christmas dinner with Glenn Beck, who stated that, while he's pretty sure that his followers probably hate Sam's guts, he regrets the way he expressed his opinions in the past.
- As part of a report about sexual harrassment, Sam interviewed Gretchen Carlson (who left Fox News after accusting its CEO Roger Ailes of sexual harrassment), which Sam admitted was a good sport on her part after Sam had mocked her for many years at her previous job.
- Genki Girl: She's certainly one of the most energetic late night hosts ever.
- Historical In-Joke: Some skits set in different time periods tend to have this. One example is of Sam at the 1968 Democratic National Convention. At first is seems to be only deliberately centered on the values of the time, such as Sam (or "Sammy B") having to thank her husband for allowing her to report there, before she announces that Hubert Humphrey won the nomination, which starts a riot in which she gets caught. That's right, Sam got caught in the 1968 Chicago riots.
- Hurricane of Puns: In a segment about votor supression, Sam argues that the 2013 Supreme Court decision on Shelby County v. Holder gutted the Voting Rights Act of 1965, calling it that year's most upsettng decision, which Sam says is "impressive, considering that same year, Michael Douglas decided to claim he ate so much pussy it almost killed him."Explanation Sam then goes on a list of puns about Douglas's filmography.
- Insult Backfire: At times, Sam will feature insulting Tweets directed at her and show they don't work. Some even became official merchandise, such as "ThunderCunt".
- Insult to Rocks: After Rep. Peter King compared Steve Bannon to a "disheveled drunk", Sam declared it "a sobering, rock-bottom moment for the disheveled drunks of the nation."
- Joisey: In a segment about Syrian refugees living in New Jersey, Samantha pokes fun at the fact that they actually find the place quite delightful (the fact that it's not ground zero for an apocalyptic holy war might have something to do with that), observing with mock pity that they're so new to the country that they don't know they're supposed to hate it.
- Le Film Artistique:
- Jeb? Ein Film Für Full Frontal (or A Jeb in Winter), a faux documentary about Jeb Bush's campaign in New Hampshire narrated by a man affecting a German accent (in a characteristical "depressing as hell" style) who sounded an awful lot like Werner Herzog.
- One segment about crisis pregnancy centers featured a short film called F for Abortion, presented by Patton Oswalt, which was a sendoff of F for Fake by Orson Welles (here's Oswalt◊ in F for Abortion, and Welles◊ in F for Fake).
- The Maiden Name Debate: Played for Laughs at the Not the White House Correspondents' Dinner, where Sam did several skits in which she roasted several Presidents at several White House Correspondents' Dinners since Woodrow Wilson, where she is credited as the custom of the time, progressively going from "Mrs. Jason Jones" to "Samantha Jones" to "Samantha Bee-Jones" before finally being able to go simply as "Samantha Bee". And then in the "2018" preview that takes place in a future in which Mike Pence became President, she reverts back as "Mrs. Jason Jones", appears dressed as a handmaid and apologizes profusely to President Pence for appearing on TV as a woman.
- Mysterious Informant: "All the President's Leaks", cut for time from NTWHCD.
- Narration Echo: From a Black History Month skit about John Robinson and the Italo-Ethiopian Wars:Narrator: In 1935, Italian dictator Benito Mussolini invaded Ethopia, because he was a little bitch.
Mussolini: I'm-a gonna invade Ethiopia, 'cause I'm-a little bitch!
- "Not So Different" Remark: While discussing mega-donor Tom Steyer's campaign for impeaching Donald Trump (and how short-sighted it actually is), Mike Rubins realizes that Steyer is also a media-savvy billionaire insisting only he knows precisely what's wrong with American politics and that he can somehow fix everything. Needless to say, the show wasn't surprised when Steyer presented himself as a presidential candidate during the 2020 Democratic primaries.
- Precision F-Strike: There's no censorship on swearing, so Sam employs it frequently.
- Real Life Writes the Plot: After Sam moved the tapings of her show to her extensive backyard during the COVID-19 Pandemic, she would use a wooden shed in particular to present the show's musical acts (albeit as a segue rather than actually having them perform at the shed, due to said pandemic's quarantine). However, the shed was later destroyed when a tree fell on it (apparently during a tropical storm), which Sam integrated on the show while still making a joke about it, as Sam "discovered" the shed was destroyed when she was just about to present the last surviving Beatles, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr.
- Rhymes on a Dime: In the segment about Brett Kavanaugh, Samantha gets her Dr. Seuss out:You must not rape folks on a boat; you must not rape folks in a moat. You may not, must not after dinner; you cannot, even if you're a good swimmer. You must not rape a woman or man; you can quote me, Sam-I-Am.
- Running Gag: The show often plays a clip of Ted Cruz shouting "Why am I persecuted!?" from a stage play Cruz did in his college days.
- The Snack Is More Interesting: Sam asked Dick Cavett about her interview with John Dean, the White House Counsel for Richard Nixon who became a key witness for the prosecution during the Watergate scandal (as Cavett interviewed Dean in 1978), to which Cavett chided her for at one point eating a banana instead of paying attention to the interview. Sam was unrepentant.
- Soft Glass: Parodied in her interview with Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren. Sam comes across way too many obstacles on her way to meet Senator Warren, including a Sheet of Glass. She confidently marches through it with nary a scratch... only to feel all the pain afterwards. She does scratch her hand on a piece of glass in her hair later.
- Special Guest: She's gotten a number of impressively high-profile guests at times. Allison Janney reprised her The West Wing role as C. J. Cregg for the Not the White House Correspondents' Dinner episode, which also had Will Ferrell reprise his role of George W. Bush from Saturday Night Live. CNN's Jake Tapper also stepped in for a role as The Comically Serious. Another particularly noteworthy segment had David Tennant show up to read Scottish Twitter insults of Donald Trump. Other guests have included Gloria Steinem, Patton Oswalt, and Jon Stewart.
- String Theory: The Puerto Rico special had David Duchovny (who has experience playing someone who could use a pegboard) give a masterclass in conspiracy boards.Duchovny: Why does conspiracy yarn only come in red?
- Take That!: The show basically runs on it. For instance:
- One of the show's commercials had Sam going to an exposition of portraits of late night show hosts (showcasing how all of them were men), before being offered sausages by a waiter (it was a sausage party), who describes some of them as "mild" (as a picture of Jimmy Fallon, host of The Tonight Show is shown) and "I have no idea what that one is" (as a picture of James Corden, host of The Late Late Show is shown), though he says that he "has heard good things about the English banger" (as a picture of John Oliver, host of Last Week Tonight is shown), before she says that she's "done with sausages."
- The GOP's convention in Cleveland was stated to have taken place at the "Wrong Side of History Arena".
- When Sam went to Kurdistan to interview the growing population of Donald Trump supporters there, she came across a couple who named their child Trump. When she tousled the kid's hair, she said "Am I normalizing you?", clearly taking a shot at the controversy of Jimmy Fallon tousling Trump's hair when Trump was a guest in Fallon's show.
- Of course, not all takedowns have to be exclusively political. One example is in a segment about voting difficulties during the 2020 election, specifically Sam's reaction to reports that in Georgia people were in line for up to ten hours to vote.Sam: Ten hours?! You could watch two seasons of Friends from College just waiting to vote, and no one should be forced to do either!
- Trash the Set: When the show started its hiatus in summer 2018, Sam not only attacked her set with a crowbar, she blew it up with a viking funeral.
- Worthy Opponent: Namedropped. When discussing Ana Nevarro calling out Trump for failing to live up to GOP values, she wryly comments that she should run for office so that Hilary Clinton would have an opponent worthy of her.
- Writer on Board: Of all the Daily Show alums, Bee is definitely the most openly anti-conservative. She pretty much never has anything positive to say about anyone on the right. (It is, however, worth noting that when she had Glenn Beck on [see Friendly Enemy above], they were mutually respectful.)