Taking a break from her always hilarious work as the most senior correspondent on THE DAILY SHOW, Samantha Bee was in her hometown of Toronto last week to publicize her new memoir, I know i am, but what are you? What follows are a few questions she was kind enough to answer to a group of adoring fans, including your very own TV Addict, during a Q&A at Indigo bookstore.
What made you want to write a book?
Samantha Bee: I don’t really know what I was thinking when I undertook this project because it was a very busy time. It was September of 2008 when I started the book so basically what I did was I made up my mind to half-ass certain very important parts of my life, compartmentalize them for a year and then I did this. I had just given birth to my second child, and the [US] Elections were coming us. I know I wrote it because I did, but I don’t remember the actual writing of the book except to say it was very pleasurable, I did it all in my spare time, and it took a long time.
When you do those prepared spots where you interview people, I’m always amazed that the people don’t see you coming, how come they don’t?
Well, I don’t know actually, that is a question for them. The people we interview have a lot of advance warning, interviews are usually set up about a week ahead of time, they know where we are from — THE DAILY SHOW WITH JON STEWART, on Comedy Central — and you would imagine that would provide enough clues for people to go home, look things up and do their due diligence. Yet it’s surprising how many people don’t do that, which I think is really crazy. But also, when we’re interviewing someone we’re usually interviewing them for a reason, because they feel passionate about something. So they usually have a point that they want to make and they believe in their hearts that they will be able to make that point. And say… their point of view intersects with something that we might find comedically useful… we all win!
Do you have any advice to aspiring DAILY SHOW correspondents?
I have good advice for aspiring DAILY SHOW correspondents. Which is to say first of all, you have to be active in writing your own material and being comfortable performing. But also you do have to apply for the job! It seems like such a mysterious and otherworldly process, but actually the truth is that anyone who wants the job basically has the job until they walk in the door. The show really wants people who are good and they’re always looking for people who fit what they’re looking for. It was not difficult for me to get the job in that sense. They came to town, they had regular auditions, I did a regular audition, I got a callback, I did the callback and then I got the job. It was a very boring process in a way that had huge stakes. I think people don’t think to send in a tape because they think it’s so out of reach, but actually it’s as out of reach as any acting job. It’s possible to get, I got the job and I don’t know how. I just think I looked “reporter-y.”
The show has cultivated a lot of great talent that has gone onto so many different things (See: Steve Carell, Ed Helms, Lewis Black and Stephen Colbert) Is anything like that in store for you?
I don’t know, that’s not precisely up to me. Jason [Samantha Bee’s real-life husband is fellow DAILY SHOW correspondent Jason Jones]…. I wrote a book! What do you want! What more can I do to please you? Jason and I work as writing partners, we’ve written lots of projects together and we are of the opinion that we need to just throw a bunch of stuff on the wall and something eventually will stick. That kind of seems to me how the business works. Because we do realize that we’re not going to be at the show forever. God knows when the joy ride will come to an end, we don’t have any insight into that. But we can’t stay at doing the same show forever — I’m not going to be 82 at THE DAILY SHOW — although I might still be there, but the show probably won’t. i’ll just show up to work with a microphone trying to do “Man on the Streets” with no camera. That will be my dementia.
If you could sum up husband Jason Jones in one sentence.
Any opportunity to be in his underpants in national television is something he embraces with gusto.