'Hollywood, The Sequel,' Episode 9: 'Two Comedians Walk into a Pandemic...with Samantha Bee and Ramy Youssef'
Welcome to our podcast. It's where we asked some of the entertainment industry's brightest minds how Hollywood might fix what's broken as it comes out of the pandemic. late-night show full frontal, which debuted in two thousand sixteen Samantha B offers a satirical and feminist take on the news. But more than laughs. She's also showing her audience how to become agents of change. Recently, she's done segments on saving the US Postal Service, fighting voter suppression and addressing hunger exacerbated by cove nineteen for her own industry be says, this is what a better future might look like. So many more voices will be brought to the table. So many different types of shows so many different filmmakers and female filmmakers, people of Color who are just given opportunities in the space that and more. People color who become show runners link just really more show runners alone is a huge step in the way that we tell stories in kind of broadening the kinds of stories that we tell. What about hiring on your level? Maybe more women on late night is that a possibility? Well, we've had that and then we regress terribly but please hire more. please. Air More women in this space for God's sake. Oh There are so many stories to tell and we you know we just get like locked into these patterns all the time. But it's. We don't. Don't have to have those patterns anymore. We don't have to just accept it that way storytelling takes all forms. I. Think we all can see that. My kids, watch Tiktok I'm sure your kids. Watch. The level of comedy on Tiktok is off the charts and it looks completely different from anything. I would ever even imagine and I love it like it just watching a girl on tiktok describing the fish and men's photos makes me laugh my ass off I don't know what television will look like. But it like if the old dinosaurs keep trying to make it the same way, it's just going to be a failure. Just a failure. Old People like me. We have to bend our mind around a new reality I'm ready to do that. I don't know what TV will look like, but I'm excited to find out. I'm not fearful of that I. Think you know it's like losing that fear When production halted the first question for Samantha B was could weekly show continue with no studio no audience, and it staff all working from home and then should it We didn't know what we would even say the news was just like. Everyone was just drowning in news and everything on the ground was changing every second. So we took the following week's show off the schedule and just did a pause and I e there was a moment where I was like doing. Should we do a show I? Don't I don't know should we even do a show but then we're like well. We should try because this is going to go on for a really long time and we really not want to be saying our peace during this time. This big lead up to an election this huge pandemic like we're a topical news show, there's never been a larger story than this thing that's happening right now all of us so. We should plant a flag in this. Somehow I think we can do it and we just started lightly filming some content in the backyard. I'm Samantha B and I'm just hanging out at my house fully made up. You know if there's one takeaway from the videos, the other late night house put out that they have incredible homes but I can do you one better. I've got a woodshed why? Because I've been preparing for something like this for years. So you have this big backyard that's quite forested. It seemed like the perfect drop we thought we could do things in I lo fi way. Literally just using the Sun as the light that we use. So we didn't have like hung lights or any. There's no electricity back there. So everything's on batteries. I'm GONNA give you daily test for how to survive and thrive while also social distancing this is being at home. And we got everybody on board, and once we had this page of concept the network was like you should try and everybody at the show we all wanted to just try to make a show because. This is what we do I mean this is literally what we do and what are we going to do for not making a show so the logistics are one thing and then the content is another thing and I keep thinking about this concept of what my kids call doom scrolling, where you're kind of looking through what has gone wrong in the world every day and when you Think about your own doom scrolling and how you react to it as a person, and then how you react to it as somebody who has a show how much do those things overlap and how much are you thinking in real time about how you're positioned to react to things that are happening in the real world I think doom scrolling is very apt and I do think. I'm always thinking about the show. It's never really never very far from my mind but I think we're all kind of human beings I in this moment so. You know there's a lot of crossover there always as there always has been since the beginning of the show right now I would that I leaned more towards like the preservation of humanity. Then thinking about content for the show content for the show flows out of that full anxiety that we're all experiencing in our various quarters like literally everyone from the show living in their own apartments. I mean, we could build the show anyone of twenty-five different ways every week. But. We're building it on a very survival basis like what can we talk about without? Getting. So wrapped up in the sadness that we actually can't make comedy like, what are we capable of saying right now? Do you think that's fundamentally different than before the pandemic that question of what is and is not funny what you can and cannot add to the conversation I? Think it is different. I mean we've always listened. We've always wrestled with like material that no one else had any interest in me anywhere. That's just that's nothing new, but this global anxiety and this the specter. Of the pandemic is that's I mean, obviously, that's wildly different sounds like you have some home schooling going on. Yeah. There's a lot of education happening right now. So. You. Hi Welcome to full-frontal I'm Samantha B protestors are taking a stand against the horrors of police brutality and to show how not brutally violent they are. The police have responded with. Absolutely brutal violence. When you're thinking about what you're going to do on a certain episode obviously, you're choosing a topic and then choosing what it is you're going to say about it and I was just watching your episode about police brutality against Black Americans, and at the end of that episode, you said their names, which is reciting the names of black Americans who have died at the hands of the police. Also need to be talking about. Tony mcdade. David Makati. Michael Lorenzo Dean. Eric reason a touch Yana Jefferson so when you're thinking about. How you give. Some sort of shape or commentary or even an occasional laugh to something that isn't really funny. How do you try to figure out what that balance is and what your path is as a storyteller and a comedian to share that information? Well, that is a long process. You know that is not just Sam be like. Out there on her own like. That episode every episode of the show represents the work of