No Two Ways About It, Samantha Bee Should Get The Daily Show0 Comments

By admin
Posted on 11 Feb 2015 at 2:07pm

Jon Stewart is leaving The Daily Show. In my mind, this story has only one happy ending: Samantha Bee succeeding him. This isn’t about getting any old XX chromosome on late night. I’m not going to make a list of women who could cut it, nor am I going to hint that Chelsea Handler might stop returning Netflix’s calls and swoop in. No. It must be Bee, for so many reasons:

Seniority. First and foremost, Bee is the correspondent with the longest-running Daily Show tenure. She’s paid her dues. She knows her stuff. She is essentially grizzled. If this was a real newsroom, they’d already be working out her benefits package.

She’s not Stewart lite. Conventional TV HR wisdom favors non-interruption, which means Comedy Central is right now looking seriously at shortish sarcastic white guys who’ve been known to drop a funny but cutting political screed now and again. Problem is, nobody does that better than Stewart. Bee’s vibe is a bit zanier (see: Passion and Intrigue on The Five) and boasts a sneakier sting (see: Federally Funded Penis Pumps. No, really, see it, it’ll make your day.)

samantha-bee

Having a woman on the desk presents all sorts of new opportunities—the comedy kind, not the life kind. The Daily Show was founded as a to-the-letter satire of evening news programs; to that end, having a male anchor was part of the game. But we are living in a moment of enormous conversation about female leadership, workplace gender dynamics, and working moms—and we don’t have nearly enough fun with it. (Cue Bee intermittently checking in with her real life husband and Daily Show colleague Jason Jones, newly reinvented as “Piper’s Dad, stay at home dad correspondent.”)

OK, it presents life opportunities, too. I promised I wouldn’t dwell, so I won’t, but I just want to say: It would be nice to break the no-women-in-late-night spell with a match that doesn’t feel forced in the name of progress.

No, no—we shouldn’t be talking about Daily Show expats abandoning their new posts to return. First-instinct speculation on a Stewart replacement focused heavily on the idea that Larry Wilmore, who just launched The Nightly Show With Larry Wilmore, pr John Oliver, who decamped to HBO last year to host Last Week Tonight With John Oliver, could come back to TDS. That would be a silly waste of time and resources invested into two programs that have broadened TV’s perspective. We don’t exactly have a lot of African American guys like Wilmore in late night, and Oliver’s show, with its shockingly good journalism, is practically breathing down 60 Minutes‘ neck.

Bee’s schtick would be like a Red Bull shot for the interview portion of the program. As The Daily Show became a more frequent home of Important Moments, Stewart’s Q+As with his guests became more genuinely newsy. The persona Bee has established would allow her to reclaim some more humor in that space—she’d fall somewhere between Stewart’s straight man and Colbert’s character.

It makes sense for Comedy Central right now. The network has quietly become more female-skewing with appointment television like Broad City and Inside Amy Schumer—and there’s more female-driven programming on the way. Not to put too fine a point on it, but: the regime could use a Queen Bee.

And let’s not forget: She was hosting a fake news show long before Stewart. That’s right: Bee made up her own fake news show when she was six, as she told our editor-in-chief, Cindi Leive, in the video below. Side note: I am not opposed to Comedy Central renaming The Daily Show with the title of that program, News for Goofs.

Photos: Courtesy of Comedy Central
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