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After Hurricane Maria tore through Puerto Rico last fall, Samantha Bee knew she had to do something. During a Wednesday appearance on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert, Bee spoke about her February trip to the island, where she filmed a Full Frontal With Samantha Bee special dedicated to helping those in need.
“[The United States’] response to the hurricane was so disastrous and continues to be disastrous,” she told the fellow late-night host. “We just kept pitching stories: ‘What if we followed up on this? What if we followed up on that?’ And then I decided, why don’t we just do the whole special [there]?”
Adding, “It just happens to be a beautiful place where we could go in February. We went on the road and I’m really proud of it.”
Though Bee described filming the special — which airs Wednesday on TBS at 10 p.m. ET — as a “joyful” experience, she was disheartened to see that many Puerto Rican citizens are still without power more than six months after the natural disaster.
“We met so many people who still don’t have power. It’s so interesting because you can go into a town that would appear [fine],” she said. “You know, the Outback Steakhouse is operational. The Walgreen’s is open for business. People are driving around and conducting their business.”
The Emmy winner added: “But if you go up the hill a little way in a mountainous area, the people in their homes don’t have power. It’s really incredible to think of how you have to re-order your life.”
Despite Puerto Rico’s troubled state, Bee told Colbert that she witnessed locals making the most out of their dire situation during a “laundry party.”
“One thing we did is we went to a laundry party. In this town in the mountains, a laundry company sponsors a tour bus and they have washers and dryers on it, and they drive into a parking lot and people bring their laundry. And, of course, it’s Puerto Rico, so they make a party out of it. There’s a DJ and there’s food. And there’s someone giving haircuts and beard trims and stuff like that,” she said of the bash, where she sang an original song urging partygoers to vote in future elections.
“People just sit there and they bring their quarters and they do their laundry. Then they go back home. It’s crazy. They’ve had to adjust themselves in ways that are insane,” she concluded. “It was my pleasure to go. They gave me more than I gave them, believe me.”
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