“The world is dark, but tonight we are going to bukakee it with joy,” Samantha Bee declared at the start of her “Full Frontal” holiday special, “Christmas on ICE.” “And your hearts are going to swell with good will towards your fellow humans if it’s the last f—ing thing I do!”
Like a foul-mouthed Santa, the late-night cable host was true to her word and delivered the goods during the two-hour taping at New York City’s PlayStation Theater on Dec. 17. The 30-minute edited version of “Christmas on ICE” will air (commercial free) Dec. 19 at 10:30 p.m. on TBS.
Bee uprooted her show to a new stage — complete with an ice rink, 18 decorative Christmas trees and oversized wrapped boxes — for a worthy cause. As implied by the cheeky title, the special takes aim at the United States Immigrant and Custom Enforcement team that has been separating immigrant families at the border. A portion of the proceeds from the tickets and merchandise raised money to benefit KIND’s (Kids in Need of Defense) family separation response team, and she provided a phone number for viewers to text donations. In a taped segment, Bee herself visited a refugee center in McAllen, Texas.
As Bee noted in her pointed monologue, “This is a tremendously difficult time to be an immigrant in America. … The Trump administration is doing everything it can to make it more difficult for refugees. I’m worried that we have lost our compassion.” She also referenced seven-year-old Jakelin Caal Maquin, who recently died in Border Patrol custody in New Mexico, showing a Fox News clip in which a presidential official blamed the girl’s parents for her death.
To further “Full Frontal’s” charitable efforts, the show donated a six-bedroom house to El Refugio, an organization that works with detained immigrants and their families, providing visitation to immigrants at Stewart Detention Center, as well as free lodging and meals to friends and family members visiting their loved ones.
Laughs, of course, were part of the festivities, as well, though. In one segment. Bee and Olympic ice skater Adam Rippon provided salty commentary as ice skaters reenacted potential ICE threats. Bee’s husband, fellow “The Daily Show” alum Jason Jones, played the role of an obnoxious hockey goon — while her dad cracked up in the front row of the audience. Celebrities such as Jeff Goldblum, Brooke Shields and Jon Stewart also appeared in pre-recorded skits.
Bee, a native Canadian, had a running gag about her inexperience on skates. “If I die tonight,” she joked during the warm-up, “please write that I looked like a skating angel before I passed.” (Spoiler alert: She laced up and didn’t even trip.)
Self-deprecation aside, Bee was sincere in revealing how much “Christmas on ICE” meant to her. After wrapping, she teared up thanking her staff, family and friends by name. The night, she shared, was a “labor of love.”