TV Review: ‘Full Frontal With Samantha Bee’

Full Frontal with Samantha Bee Review
Courtesy of TBS

Under Jon Stewart, “The Daily Show” had an enviable track record in developing talent, with many of the baby birds flying off to bigger solo ventures. Enter Samantha Bee, a bright light as a correspondent, who makes a relatively easy leap into the unfortunately named “Full Frontal,” a weekly half-hour on TBS. Although somewhat misleadingly billed as breaking up the late-night boys club (she actually airs in primetime, before “Conan”), Bee delivered a promising and pointed debut, demonstrating that when it comes to political satire, she can sting with the best of them.

Introduced with a multi-network launch on the Turner properties, “Full Frontal” doesn’t exactly try to reinvent the wheel. Indeed, about the only difference between her one-woman-with-clips shtick and that of John Oliver’s HBO program is that he sits, while she stands.

Still, a show like this is defined by its zingers, and as Bee noted near the outset, the current political cycle has provided her with a target-rich environment. In the opener, that included telling Hillary Clinton to “f— off” for saying she didn’t anticipate running for president; saying Bernie Sanders looked like he was “trying to flag down a waitress” during their last debate; and labeling the Republican primary field “a banquet of all-you-can-eat crazy.”

Like Oliver, Bee brought considerable edge (and several un-bleeped expletives) to her barbs, chiding candidates for using their children as props and telling Marco Rubio’s kids – who looked a little shell-shocked watching their father get cuffed at the most recent debate – “Cheer up: Daddy’s coming home soon.” And just when it seemed like Bee’s direct-to-camera material might begin to grow a bit wearisome, she closed with a cheeky field piece focusing on Jeb Bush’s campaign, essentially built around the clip of the GOP contender rather sheepishly asking an audience to “Please clap.”

With “The Daily Show” having lost some of its cultural sizzle as Trevor Noah seeks to fill Stewart’s sizable shoes, there appears to be more room for these offshoots to operate. And a weekly format seemingly allows the hosts to zero in on the choicest cuts from the previous week, without having to rely (in the premiere, anyway) on a celebrity stumping for a movie to flesh out an episode.

Admittedly, nobody was really crying out for another show just like this, but funny is funny, and there’s a whole lot of time for Bee to work this terrain between now and November. When she closed the show by telling the audience that she’s “excited to go on this ride with you,” the comic seemed to let her faux news guard down enough to sound genuinely enthusiastic. And if “Full Frontal” can sustain the energy she brought to the premiere, the feeling could well be mutual.

TV Review: 'Full Frontal With Samantha Bee'

(Series; TBS, Mon. Feb. 8, 10:30 p.m.)


Produced by Jax Media and TBS Prods.


Executive producers, Samantha Bee, Jason Jones, Jo Miller, Miles Kahn, Tony Hernandez; supervising producer, Pat King; director, Paul Pennolino. 30 MIN.


Host: Samantha Bee

Filed Under:

Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 22

Leave a Reply


Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

  1. Tom Seekamp says:

    Not funny at all except in her own head…..What a waste of air time…..needs put out to pasture with the other Heifers……

  2. C Morgan says:

    How is she allowed to air these offensive commercials?! I would never watch her show and I should not have to endure her commercials that I find so horrendous. She is awful and her offensive rhetoric should not be permitted.

  3. Don says:

    Full Frontal is TV at it’s worst. It is not funny and I’m sick of seeing the commercials.

  4. Kim A Ryman says:

    I am sick of watching commercials for Full Frontal insulting our New President, it is disgraceful, and I will not be watching anymore.

  5. Joseph Colucci says:

    You are so bias for Hillary it’s sad that you don’t give equal time to bring up some of the many faults of Clinton. Her platform of bringing in more Muslims into her sanctuary cities, increasing tax on the middle class, shady findings, her battle with Parkinson’s, amnesty for all illegals, being sued by a relative of a diplomat who was killed on her watch to name a few. It’s obvious that liberals and democrats have a serious problem with the truth. If you can’t help yourself from being bias you should drop the political segment all together.

  6. Pam Courtney says:

    It really is not funny to make fun of the republicans all the time and not a word about democrats. I think leaving politics out better you have people of both parties and it’s a bit offensive

  7. Bill Miller says:

    More tired lib drivel. Boring and unfunny. It won’t last long.

  8. The other Tim Olyphant says:

    Pathetic! Spreading lies, figured I would give it one more shot, first episode was horrid. This one was just sad. How about going back to a Stewart like show, early days, hammer both sides and try and be honest.
    Tivo, lead me elsewhere. Next!

  9. Howard Cooper says:

    My wife and I were looking forward to Full Frontal. We were very disappointed, instead of great wit and insight, a sycophant for Hillary appears. The whole show is slam Trump, not a supporter but compared to voting for a felon/apparent. Too bad, same direction Stewart went as he was getting off the air. Sure would be nice to have a bi-partisan ridiculer. Oh well, delete record from DVR find something more intellectually honest to watch.

  10. dee says:

    catchy and pedantic jokes are just not funny…when are these hacks going to realize this? maybe they would get higher ratings if they weren’t so deliberate? i swear this has something to do with stewart comedy … act hard/over act on delivery and everyone will think it’s hilarious …. well it will force them to laugh if you force the ‘comedy’ …. i wish jon stewart was never born to be honest.

  11. Dave says:

    Funny? More like garbage. Not nearly enough talent to carry a show herself. Stick too the 3 minute bits. Beyond that your just tedious

  12. Kam says:

    She sucks and is not funny. Full of herself and thinks her shit don’t stink.

  13. demsco says:

    Sorry, I watched 10 minutes and flipped it. She looked uncomfortable, out of place and missed her cues. I know it’s a hard job but it wasn’t tight or well written. To me it seemed like another attempt to say it’s all about political satire when, in fact, it was all about taking it easy on Democrats and ripping Republicans. Tried, tested and boring especially since you got a liar, possibly soon to be indicted, Hillary and a socialist running on the left. Really, after Trump and Cruz, none of the other serious Republicans don’t provide much material. Anyhow, a waste and I like her.

  14. terry g says:

    This show is a waste of time and she’s not funny

  15. Scandler7 says:

    I don’t know why the author considers the title “unfortunate.” Unless they believe it refers to “full frontal nudity”… I believe it may actually refer to “full frontal assault,” which the show certainly is.

  16. awilife43 says:

    It never fails to amaze me when talented female comedians rely on being vulgar, and us sexually explicit expressions, in an attempt to be funny. It’s distasteful. I will not be watching Full Frontal.

    • Jfr says:

      It could be Full Frontal because she is standing which gives the viewer a full frontal view of the host. Nothing vulgar there.

  17. Ken says:

    Entertaining…and ruthlessly funny on occasion.

  18. fredw says:

    Brilliantly funny. It is so damned good to see great political satire again.
    The Jeb Bush doc was black humor at its best.

More TV News from Variety