It is no big secret that I haven’t been a fan of “Full Frontal with Samantha Bee.” With so many veterans of “The Daily Show,” we’ve seen that the shtick that worked well when Jon Stewart was there as a fail-safe option doesn’t always translate into something that can carry a full show. Her show and Trevor Noah’s “The Daily Show” aren’t really comedy shows. They are political rallies with well-rehearsed talking points masquerading as jokes and cheers of agreement standing in for laughter.
Obviously, there’s a market for it or TBS and Comedy Central wouldn’t keep them on the air. However if they merely tweaked the formula a little and acknowledged that non-liberals have cable subscriptions too, that market could grow.
This is still a pretty safe interview for Bee, largely because Beck is rapidly becoming the thing that television executives love most: someone who became famous as a conservative who is now willing to publicly bash other conservatives and/or Republicans. I call it “Gergenization.” She manages to be funny here though because it’s a bit of a departure for her, and the lack of a partisan live audience seems to have forced the writers to pay more attention to the material. There’s even a little self-effacing humor, which isn’t often seen in the current late-night genre. This interview is also quite weird, but I get the feeling that was the intention all along.