Samantha Bee on 'Full Frontal's' Donald Trump Coverage, Sending Shepard Smith a "Thunder C—" T-Shirt

"It's a very cleansing and cathartic experience for me," she says of hosting her weekly TBS talk show.
Myles Aronowitz/Turner Entertainment Networks
Samantha Bee

Samantha Bee is back for the second season of her critically acclaimed talk show, Full Frontal — and she's determined to look beyond Donald Trump.

With expectations that Hillary Clinton would be the next U.S. president, Bee had planned to do a greater variety of stories that were not election-related. "We can still do that, and we will still do that because we're not only passionate about this one issue," said Bee during a panel for the TBS show at the Television Critics Association winter press tour on Saturday. "It's going to be a continuing pursuit of the show."

When asked by a reporter how much she blames cable news networks for the election results, Bee acknowledged that the media wasn't at its best during the campaign. "I certainly think that we watched some news outlets abdicate their responsibility during the election," she said. "But I do think, at this juncture, there is a feeling that they’re really coming for all of us. So it really does behoove us to support one another moving forward."

The former Daily Show correspondent revealed that she has plenty of "Thunder C—" T-shirts lined up to give out to journalists who are doing an above-average job covering the political sphere. CNN's Jake Tapper was the first to receive the gift, which she handed out to him "for making cable news bearable."

Executive producer Jo Miller let it slip that the Full Frontal team also had sent a shirt to Shepard Smith ("On the DL," added Bee) after the Fox News talking head defended CNN's Jim Acosta after Trump refused to take his question at a press conference, citing CNN's propensity to promote "fake news."

And when it comes to finding the energy to be as incensed as Bee appears on her show at times, it's not really hard for her. "There’s plenty to be outraged about," she stated, adding that all she wanted to do was make a show that came from a "gut, visceral" place. At the same time, she acknowledged that it's tiring to go to bed and wake up to a "fresh, new world presented to you every day with things that you would have never expected to see." She adds: "That presents challenges for our souls."

But she described the talk show as a psychological and emotional purging of sorts. "It actually helps me a lot because, for those 21 minutes per week," she continued, noting that she's thankful she only has to do 21 minutes a week, "it's a very cleansing and cathartic experience for me, which permits me to live my life as I wish to live it outside of that time frame." Something that's made work-life balance easier for her was the show's recent move from Monday night to Wednesday night.

In terms of more one-off episodes, Bee admitted that they have some "very exciting ideas coming down the pipe," but that she wasn't at liberty to reveal specifics about them just yet. "We certainly enjoyed being able to do our convention episodes and our bus episode," she said. "Those are really fun for us, and we have all of this space to do more things like that that just tickle our fancy."