There’s been a lot of talk show commentary about what happened in Orlando, all of it moving, all of it heartfelt. But none of it singled out like Samantha Bee’s take on the situation. As The Atlantic noted, it’s because Sam and her team were not afraid to show just how f-cking pissed they are, a testament to “her ascendency as the best political voice on late-night television”.
Louis CK points out too that while most anchors are expected to chill out, even after they get upset, Samantha rants and she rages and feels back to us our own anger and frustration and doesn’t apologise for it. What Louis isn’t saying here is that women aren’t often allowed to do that. A woman shouting on TV, getting mad? For a long time – and still in some circles – it’s considered off-putting. Why is she so shrill? Oh my god, she’s gone hysterical. How am I supposed to take her seriously?
But we take Samantha Bee seriously. Very seriously. Samantha’s Full Frontal doesn’t just challenge the bullsh-t of the news, they’re also challenging the bullsh-t of what it should sound like and look like for a woman to deliver, analyse, and satirise the news. She doesn’t have to modulate her voice. She doesn’t have to fold her hands neatly one on top of the other. She can point her finger while saying f-ck you at the camera if she wants to. And she can do it while standing with her legs wide apart and sneakers on her feet. And she doesn’t have to be soft. She doesn’t have to give out word-hugs and make sure to end on cute. The opposite, in fact. Sam’s serving up some hard ass realness and the risk of not being “nice”, not being “likeable”. I like her so much.
Yours in gossip,
PS. I am still on the road. Sorry for the interruption to the blog schedule; I’ve been at a conference and am moderating the last session this afternoon. Today is the last day though and I’m flying home on the red eye so I promise, it’ll be normal tomorrow. Apologies again for the inconvenience.