Samantha Bee Makes an Awesome Debut

Critics loving fresh perspective in male-dominated late night
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 9, 2016 12:29 PM CST
Samantha Bee Makes an Awesome Debut
Samantha Bee in the debut of "Full Frontal."   (YouTube/TBS)

Turns out, you don't need a penis or a desk to host a late-night talk show. So Samantha Bee proved with the debut of Full Frontal on TBS Monday night. The former Daily Show correspondent made her much-anticipated debut Monday with a focus on "the most deranged" election in a generation. How'd she do?

  • It was "an acerbic, bracing premiere that felt like, in the best way possible, a much-needed slap in the face," writes Sonia Saraiya at Salon. A field segment investigating Jeb Bush's lack of appeal in New Hampshire was the highlight. It "might be the greatest piece of satire made yet about the 2016 election."
  • "Finally, [Jon Stewart's] successor has arrived," writes Kevin Fallon at the Daily Beast. Bee's "kind of topical comedy that doubles as some serious journalism" puts her on the same playing field as John Oliver, but her goofiness and fresh perspective set her apart. Her "greatest asset" is that she's "willing to go for blood," Fallon writes. The best bit of the night? When Kansas Sen. Mitch Hess was named "Elected Paperweight of the Month."

  • Daniel Fienberg calls it "a Bee-plus debut." Though not all of the candidate jokes were original, they were "originally expressed," he writes at the Hollywood Reporter. Some pieces felt "flimsy," but "everything had a specific perspective that set it apart from the half-dozen guys whose shows followed Bee's lead," Fienberg says.
  • Danette Chavez agrees "the Full Frontal crew had the time to turn a sad-trombone moment into a symphony" to close out the debut show. Though Bee's approach is similar to that of Oliver and the Daily Show, it "still feels fresh, perhaps because we're finally seeing a female host lead the charge, with a female showrunner (Jo Miller) and a diverse team of writers," Chavez writes at AV Club.
(Read more television review stories.)

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