Samantha Bee is globetrotting again.
While the travel plans of any of TV’s late night hosts may not be of high interest to the average person, Bee’s viewers may take note. In previous outings, Bee has journeyed to Russia and Jordan among other places, to eye-popping effect: She met with people in the former who actively spread misinformation on social media hoping to confuse Americans and discovered in the latter Syrian refugees who wanted to come to America.
On Wednesday night at 10:30 p.m. eastern, she will be at it again. Her “Full Frontal” program on TBS will this evening kick off a two-part look at a recent trip she made to Iraq, where she – surprisingly, perhaps – found a few things to laugh at, including a young boy named Trump.
Traveling “is a critical piece of the show that I would never want to do without,” said Bee in an interview, and a reason why she would not want to do a daily program. “It would really deprive me of the opportunity to go places and do field pieces and learn about the world. It’s a nice opportunity to go places and travel on someone else’s dime. I’m only half kidding.” During her reporting, Bee also met with female soldiers and people at refugee camps.
Her journeys are becoming a bigger part of TV’s regular late-night hijinks, where several of the genre’s most popular hosts have discovered that exploring far-flung places can result in work that stands apart from the pack. Conan O’Brien, Bee’s TBS colleague, has over the last few years traveled to Cuba and Armenia, among other places. HBO’s John Oliver has raised eyebrows by visiting Edward Snowden in Russia and the Dalai Lama in Tibet. And CBS’ Stephen Colbert recently flew to Russia, and the segments he devised created a week’s worth of material.
Bee, field producer Razan Ghalayini and a crew spent about four days shooting material in Iraq (Ghalayini, who has proven instrumental in finding people on the ground to interview in past travel segments, was there for several more days). In tonight’s segment, Bee discovers Iraqi Kurds love President Trump – so much so they are willing to name their kids after him.
Producers were trying to track down one child with the name they had seen on CNN, Ghalayini said, but security reasons prevented them from getting to find him. Instead, she says, “we were tracking down four or five babies.” Among Kurds, “it’s a real buyers’ market for babies named Trump,” Bee joked, noting that no one was trying to buy a child.
“We really started to figure out that the Kurds loved Trump,and so we thought we should make our first pro-Trump field piece,” said Ghalayini.
Bee and her producers and crew spent two-plus hours in 110-degree heat to get man-on-the-street interviews only to find they were not able to talk to any women. None made an appearance on the darkened street they were on, said Bee. “It was a very pleasant outdoor summer evening scene,” she said. “It was just completely free of women.” Her program, ”Full Frontal,” is decidedly not.