In one of the first clips from the forthcoming Full Frontal with Samantha Bee, the former Daily Show correspondent sits down with a female veteran to learn more about the effect of the military approving women to serve in combat.
Bee's interview subject, who lost a foot, got a prosthetic - albeit one made for a man. As it turns out, the VA hospital doesn't even have prosthetic feet for women, so doctors shaved off the toes of it, and gave it an extra knee. Worse, Bee discovers that the VA barely provides OB/GYN services, or even words for female body parts in its computer system.
"So, the VA is the one place you can't find a woman's vagina online," Bee deadpans, prompting the official to respond, "We're on the faster side of slow." It's uncomfortable, funny infuriating and insightful all at the same time - an approach that sums up the Samantha Bee experience. Of course, it's a style that is familiar from her Daily Show days, a similarity that she doesn't mind embracing.
"It's natural," Bee said at the winter Television Critics Association gathering Thursday. "I loved doing that so much. But we're expanding that world and going to mix up the styles and evolve the medium." Bee's show, a weekly newsmagazine, will rely less on timely news clips in favor of a new type of storytelling. There won't be guests, but instead, a lovely "grab bag" third act. She won't be behind a desk, but roving between screens and media on a set that's still being built.
While Bee is looking to stretch the format, she's not shying away from the obvious: As a woman on late-night, she is the exception to a white male rule. Much has been said about that fact, of course, and while she has no plans to make Bee a "woman's show," she's happy to keep talking about it. "I could never tire of that," she says. "It makes complete sense to me that it would be part of the conversation. Women's issues are completely important to me. But it's not going to be the only thing we talk about on the show."
Bee will lean heavily into the big issues of the day - so much so that the show poached a large number of journalists from Al-Jazeera to join its staff. In fact, Bee recently traveled to Jordan for a segment about an American acculturation program that Syrian refugees must undergo as they look to settle in the United States. "I learn something from everyone I talk to. The people I meet change me and it means something to me."
That said, she has no intention of becoming the next Christiane Amanpour. "I don't at all feel like a reporter, but I enjoy pretending like I can do it," she says. "We want to take issues that don't receive enough attention and stab them with the hot poker of comedy."
Full Frontal with Samantha Bee premieres Monday Feb. 8 on TBS.