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Just in time for spring break, Samantha Bee aired her travel special from Puerto Rico on Wednesday night, which surveyed the work still to be done on the island since Hurricane Maria and investigated why the U.S. didn’t do more to help.
Bee kicked off the segment with a fantasy sequence with Javier Munoz, the actor who played Hamilton‘s Alexander Hamilton from summer 2016 to early 2018. “I am the spirit of Puerto Rico, coming to you in a dream,” Munoz told her. “Sam as the spirit of Puerto Rico, I want you to shoot a special in my land.” When Bee asked if this request came because of the hurricane, Munoz assured her, “We are so much more than that,” before launching into a song called “Go, Go, Go.”
The X-Files David Duchovny made a cameo in a segment that tried to get to the bottom of why so many residents were complaining about a lack of help from FEMA. “Before the hurricane the U.S. only sent Puerto Rico enough water to last for two days. No human can survive on that. But aliens can,” Duchovny joked. He also questioned why the U.S. government claimed the famously broke Puerto Rico had enough money to deal with the disaster and why victims were told to apply for aid by phone or online when they didn’t have electricity or internet.
Bee attended a “laundry party,” an event where tour buses carrying laundry machines stop in a parking lot for those without power. Puerto Ricans have turned these laundry days into parties, with the one Bee attended hosting a DJ, barber and food. She also met with electricians who learned their trade after the hurricane, in order to supplement aid to the island.
Correspondent Allana Harkin visited the Arecibo Observatory, which she learned used its helipad to welcome helicopters bringing in food and supplies in the wake of Hurricane Maria. The observatory also used its crews and machinery to clear roads and gave up to 14,000 gallons of water per day to locals. Duchovny made another appearance during her segment, after she asked an employee whether the observatory had witnessed aliens (who said no).
“Oh, man. Well, can I at least skateboard down it?” Duchovny asked while in pads and putting on a helmet.
Full Frontal‘s Ashley Nicole Black went to El Local, a hipster bar that offered power, food and water to locals after the hurricane. When she attempted to sing “Despacito” on the bar’s karaoke night and the bar booed her, she said in voiceover, “This was a place so kind and welcoming our producers had to force the crowd to boo me for this joke.”
Bee announced the travel special in January, when her show was doing an “Apology Race” segment touring the world to “apologize” for the actions of President Trump. But the inspiration for the segment came much earlier, Bee told Stephen Colbert on The Late Show on Tuesday night, when the island was hit by Hurricane Maria in the fall of 2017.
“[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]?”
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