She's a BUSY BEE, that Samantha Bee. The former "Daily Show" comic is about to launch a whole new venture -- a hair-raising prospect, some might say. Our Serena Altschul tracked her down:
As stylists pinned back Samantha Bee's hair and placed a stocking on her head, she quipped, "Oh, here it comes, the beauty shot. Oh, yeah!"
To promote her debut as one of the few women on late-night TV, the former "Daily Show" correspondent had to become one of the boys.
"Oh my God, that looks so good," she said of the "Conan" wig on her head.
"Finally, a woman in the boy's club of Late-night Television," Conan O'Brien said, though he added, "The hair -- that's kinda MY look."
And O'Brien had a seriously personal way of welcoming her to his network, TBS: "I do a lot of tongue," he said, laying one on her.
Just about a week from now, Samantha Bee launches her Monday night program, "Full Frontal," as TV's only female late-night host. Her show won't feature interviews or comedy sketches. It's not a talk show; instead the focus is satire.
And yes, there'll be the usual targets, but with her own twist, as see in the promo video below (kids, cover your ears!:
The roll-out has not been without a few bumps:
"Someone tweeted me a photograph that was in Vanity Fair, which was all of the male late-night hosts all kind of poised on chairs with martini glasses and drinks, and just welcoming you into their world," Bee said. "But, I mean, there were like 150 of them. And I wasn't in the picture. And I felt like there was a space where it would've been so easy to also put me in the picture."
"And you were already publicly going to be in that landscape?" asked Altschul.
"It was pretty public! So I just put myself in the picture. I happened to have a photo of myself as a centaur with laser eyes!"
And how did people react? "They just sent it around. It just became a whole thing. I mean, it became a thing in a very unanticipated way. And I felt so gratified by that. I was like, All right, that's good. Well, I have tapped into a feeling."
Late-night television has long been a man's world; few women succeeded. No matter, says Bee: "I'm definitely not creating the show and thinking about the weight of that. I don't think I could make a single joke. It would be paralyzing."
You might call Bee's comedy divinely inspired. Growing up in Toronto, she went to Catholic school where she developed a serious crush: "I wanted to marry Him so badly," she said, recalling herself scribbling in her notebook "Mrs. Jesus H. Christ." "I don't think you're supposed to put the H on it. It's just that my dad would say that!"
Which may account for her response to a photo of Robert Powell, who played Christ in the mini-series "Jesus of Nazareth."
"(Gasps) Yeah! No. Yeah! That's Jesus of Nazareth! That's my husband. That's my alt-husband!"
To her real husband, Bee noted, "You're a strong second choice. There's nothing, no shame in being the runner-up."
"To Jesus, yeah. Solid number two!" remarked actor and producer Jason Jones. They met 20 years ago. It was Jones who convinced her to join a sketch comedy troupe.
"And I did it, and I loved it," said Bee.
"Daily Show" producers came to Toronto looking for new talent. She signed on as one of its "comedic reporters" in 2003. Jason Jones came on board two years later.