At one point, Samantha Bee was hailed as Jon Stewart’s heir at The Daily Show — and quite honestly she probably should have gotten that job. Instead she ended up bolting Comedy Central for TBS, where she injected her sardonic brand of faux journalism into a format largely dominated by men. But just as with all late-night “comedy” shows, the Trump years turned her and her fellow hosts into progressive scolds and their audiences into clapping seals.
I coined the phrase “Late-Night Group Therapy for Libs” to describe what these hour-long sessions continue to be, as they ignore the follies of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris in favor of mouth-agape admonishments of the former president.
Seth Meyers, John Oliver and even Jimmies Kimmel and Fallon have borrowed some tricks from The Daily Show — and Stephen Colbert now simply acts as a Democratic Party pinch-hitter.
The field is too crowded, and someone, at some network, was inevitably going to be butted out of the group. That person turned out to be Samantha Bee, the only female host, as TBS canceled her show this week with limited fanfare.
It would be inaccurate, however, to credit Bee’s transformation from sarcastic comedian to angry and insufferable harridan as the main source of her downfall, or the driving force of her ratings cratering over the past couple of years.
Bee’s primary sin was alienating her woke audience through her and her husband’s (former Daily Show comedian Jason Jones) activist actions around education and school choice in New York City where they reside.
Bee’s actions fighting school integration, which would have seen her children attending the same schools as children of poor and in some cases minority parents, drew ire from even progressive media. As Slate notes, New York schools are notoriously some of the most segregated in the country.
“The Upper West Side is another place where the ‘rights’ of rich parents are being pitted against the reality of the neighborhood’s demographics. The current battleground is the sought-after P.S. 452 on West 77th Street, a stone’s throw from the Museum of Natural History,” writes Laura Moser. One of the leading voices against this proposal was Jason Jones, who warned his allies to “stop talking to the press. This is a private matter, I think, from our community. This story doesn’t exist without your quotes.”
The hypocrisy was astounding. Bee and Jones were just another pair of celebrity frauds. The explosion of race and equity issues in cities like New York in the wake of the George Floyd riots sealed Bee’s fate amid a clip-happy media that stopped sharing her devastating owns of Trump.
Bee’s show wasn’t canceled because of poor ratings. Several cable infotainment shows hover around the same figures Bee had. Her problem was that her audience, which demands political fealty in its comedic therapy, had abandoned her and refused to defend her.
The lesson here is to never step out of line and never go against the mob. Stephen Colbert would never abandon the woke the way Bee did. Kimmel will keep poking fun at Ted Cruz or something. John Oliver will elicit agreeable chin strokes from the media elites and Jimmy Fallon has paid his penance for ruffling Donald Trump’s hair in 2016. Yet Bee never outright addressed her objections to school integration, and her audience simply went away. Good riddance.