8:29am PT by Katherine Schaffstall
Samantha Bee Airs Political Parody of Car-Based Talk Show Segments
Samantha Bee knows the way to get an audience's attention in 2018.
So when she wanted to get viewers to pay attention to the political journalism of The New Yorker's Masha Gessen, she decided to incorporate some car-based comedy into her episode of Full Frontal.
The segment began as a Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee parody, titled "Comedians in Cars with Dissidents Getting Coffee," starting off with a familiar close-up of the car they'll be driving, as well a narration explaining the vehicle. "This is a 1984 Russian Lada. It's tiny, ugly and a relic of the Soviet era," said Bee. "It's the Vladimir Putin of obvious car metaphors."
"I did everything that you said, Masha. I stayed the hysterical woman in the room. No one invites me to parties anymore. So what's next?" asked Bee after they started driving.
"Well, so I think he's going to keep pulling out of international institutions and treasons. It's just like there's no NATO and there's no Warsaw Pact," responded Gessen about Trump. "And then there's blanket detention. There's blanket deportation. The denaturalization task force." After Bee said she was not familiar with the denaturalization task force, Gessen explained that they are looking in the past of unsuspecting people to see if they have any reason to be kicked out of the country.
Bee groaned and asked, "Am I going to jail?" Gessen responded that she's probably safe because she's blonde. While Bee isn't naturally blonde, she said that she'll keep her hair color because she can't go back to Canada. "I quit my job at Tim Hortons in such a f—cked up way," she said.
After declaring that she needs a drink, Bee pulled out a flask and poured alcohol into her coffee. When Gessen told her that she can't drink and drive, Bee responded, "I haven't been driving this entire time. How do you think this works? Didn't you notice we're shooting a completely different show right now?" It was then revealed that the car was hooked to a tow truck.
The camera then cut to show that the driver of the tow truck is actor Jason Alexander. "Hi. I'm Jason Alexander and this is 'Actors in Trucks Towing Comedians with Dissidents in Cars Getting Coffee,'" he said. "This is a 2006 tow truck. It tows stuff all over the place." After detailing the vehicle, he said, "Let's see Seinfeld top that with a goddamn tow truck."
The clip then cut back to Bee asking Gessen how journalists are supposed to cover the Trump administration. "The problem is journalism isn't suited for talking about things that pretend to be real, but aren't but maybe are and we have to have a different way of writing about it." When Bee asked how to do that, Gessen responded, "I don't know."
While discussing family separations at the U.S.-Mexico border, Bee said that she wished she could help. Alexander then appeared in the backseat of the car and asked, "Did someone say karaoke?" Bee responded, "No. No one did."
The segment then cut to "Public Domain Carpool Karaoke." Because their song choices were limited, the group sang "America, The Beautiful,' "Yankee Doodle" and "You're a Grand Old Flag."
Following the karaoke segment, the women discussed their self-care routines. "I'm incredibly fortunate. I'm a journalist," Gessen began. Bee cut her off and said, "I've never heard anyone say that before. That they're incredibly fortunate to be a journalist." Gessen explained, "It gives me the illusion of doing something." Bee responded, "That's nice. My job is to turn my tears of grief into yelling on TV."
The segment quickly transitioned into "Full Frontal Cash Cab." When the riders asked what they win, Gessen responded, "The truth." Bee then asked the passengers questions including how to stop authoritarianism and how panicked they should be about certain topics like NATO and abortion rights.
"Well, we tried to make you care about the crumbling of democratic norms and we think we did a pretty good job. Right, Jason?" Bee said in a voiceover at the conclusion of the segment. Alexander responded, "And you have an Emmy nom?"