On Saturday, Samantha Bee and her Full Frontal team will be at the Women’s March on Washington without cameras or microphones. The show has rented a bus so the staff can travel together, but once they get to Washington, D.C., they plan to mingle in the crowd and participate in the day’s events as citizens. “I just want to enjoy the moment and be present,” said Bee during an interview with Vulture at the Television Critics Association press tour. “I would just like to add to the numbers and be there with all those great women. Add my little voice to the voices. I’ve been traveling around a little bit in the last while and people are making great pains to go there. I hope it’s big, and I hope it feels great. I think it will.”
As America has come to know, Bee’s liberal feminist voice is anything but little. In its freshman season, the show soared to the top of the comedy heap with its ability to make viewers laugh, cry, and think at the same time. Her blistering post-election analysis, delivered the day after November 8, focused much of her rage on white Americans, and especially, women. Bee spoke with Vulture about how she’s feeling two months after her candidate lost, and what she’s doing to move forward.
You mentioned you’re going to the march to be in a community of women. In your post-election rant, you criticized Democrats, white people, and white women in particular, for their role in electing Donald Trump. Inauguration Day is almost here. What is your perspective now on the election, and the role women played? Have your feelings changed?
I think my perspective is the same. The information is just settling in. On Monday [January 23], I think the penny is going to drop for a lot of people. I don’t know what that’s going to feel like. I guess we’ll all find out.
Have you accepted it?
Well, you have to accept it — it’s reality. Yeah, of course, I have.
You hear a lot of people still saying “I haven’t gotten there yet.”
This is the world that we live in, and we have to accept it. We actually have to. It doesn’t mean we have to be okay with it, but we have to accept that this is where we’re going to live for a long time.
Are you still upset with women?
I’m trying not to be. It’s 2017. I’m just trying to look forward. Like, what’s done is done. We can build on this. Actually, there’s a small part of me germinating that’s getting excited by how civic-minded I feel people are becoming. I actually do feel in some small way that people are waking up a little bit, and this could represent a really special and exciting time. I hope so. I really do.
For many, it’s been a hard thing to overcome. Last week, Black-ish dealt with the election aftermath in an excellent episode. By any chance, did you watch?
Oh, I didn’t.
There was a conversation between a black woman and a white woman where the black woman calls out the white woman for not getting Hillary Clinton elected — she says, black people did their part to elect Obama but white women didn’t for Hillary. And the white woman responds that it’s because white women hate each other. What do you think about that?
Oh, I don’t know if I agree with that. [Pauses.] I have to think about that a little bit.
Also last week we had the difficulties of the Obama farewell …
That, I could not watch. That, I did not watch.
Because it makes you sad?
I was very busy. I was very, very busy doing other things. So it actually released me from feeling sad [laughs]. Yeah, I did not watch that. I will, though. I’ll probably watch it on the plane or something. Joe Biden, though, getting his Medal of Honor.
You did see that?
I just saw the photographs. The photographs alone made me well up. His face.
We went from Obama’s address one night to Trump’s press conference the next morning. We are living in very strange times.
We have a hot breakfast on show days, and the person who came in to deliver the hot breakfast said, “I’ve never walked into an office before where so many people were screaming at their TVs.” Very true. We all were. We were all watching.
On the TCA panel, Full Frontal With Samantha Bee showrunner Jo Miller mentioned the staff is making an effort to find joy. It sounded like it was a daily exercise or something. What are you doing?
Well, it’s not like that. You know, it really is a barrage of bad news. Not just bad news, but news you never would have expected to hear — things that are stunning. Astonishing things that never would have emerged from your imagination. So, within that, in order to do a comedy show, you can go crazy from it. It’s a lot of information; it’s a lot of negativity being in your face all the time. We do need to think about where we can find moments of joy. We’re actually trying really hard to think, Okay, well, what tickles my fancy? What is the thing that just makes us straight up laugh? — and to include more of that in our life. Because things can be can be very dark. You’re trying to look through the news feed. You’re trying to look for the things and the opportunities to do something that is silly. You try to look for something silly to hang on to, so you can have moments of lightness. It can’t all be darkness. We have to be able to laugh. We are a comedy show.
Would you give that as advice to just a regular person who’s feeling really stressed out?
You know what? I don’t know that I have any great advice. That’s what we’re trying to do. You can’t really bury your head in the sand, but you have to live your life also.
You really have no advice?
Sorry, I have literally nothing for you. Look at us! We’re just sitting here sadly, nodding our heads.
I was counting on you.
I know, I know. Everyone’s like, ‘What do I do?’ I’m like, I don’t know! I’m struggling! You tell me. Take a bath. A hot bath. Start with a healthy breakfast.
This interview has been edited and condensed.