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Samantha Bee turned to South Korean import and progenitor of many a bemused thinkpiece The Masked Singer to cover the government shutdown on Wednesday night.
In a segment on the longest-ever government shutdown in U.S. history, the TBS show staged a spoof of the Fox singing competition, which challenges audiences and panelists to guess the identity of its contestants, each of whom wear full-body, deliberately ridiculous costumes and are public figures of sorts. The format is based off of that of King of the Masked Singer, which airs on South Korea’s MBC channel. So far, NFL players Antonio Brown and Terry Bradshaw and comedians Margaret Cho and Tommy Chong have been revealed to be Masked Singers.
In Full Frontal‘s version of the competition, called The Masked Federal Worker, anonymous furloughed workers provide interviews about why their day-to-day work matters, and producer and correspondent Allana Harkin tries to guess which agency they are affiliated with.
“Many federal workers are scared to speak out. So how do we give them a voice without compromising their careers? The same way they get out-of-work celebrities to do it on my new favorite hallucination-as-TV show, The Masked Singer,” Harkin said to introduce the segment.
In interviews, the contestants discussed their agencies’ importance to national parks, hurricane and fire season preparation and government oversight. The contestant “Mister Ms. Lion,” for instance, gave the clue that “in my agency, we usually fight fire with fire.” The “Narwhalicorn” said that his organization made sure “the toilets flush.” Other contestants included “Feather Queen,” “Bumblebird” and “Golden Warrior.”
“What keeps me up at night is knowing that some of the oversight bodies of government who help make sure that the government operates safely and in accordance of the law are largely in hibernation right now,” the Golden Warrior said.
Watch the full segment below.
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