For years now, The Daily Show has been a veritable factory for successful comedians. The last decade has seen the likes of Steve Carrell, Stephen Colbert, Ed Helms, John Oliver, and more graduate from Jon Stewart’s nightly news program, making it the place to start your career in the industry. With Stewart himself now leaving for greener, more serious pastures, his team of correspondents have likely been evaluating their own careers as well, and none more so than their longest-tenured member Samantha Bee.
Bee started out at The Daily Show back in 2003, making her the seasoned veteran of the crew at 12 years. One-by-one, she’s seen her cohorts at the show leave to pursue their own careers. Carrell has turned himself in a Hollywood mainstay, Colbert has accrued a massive legacy in his own right, and John Oliver found instant success on HBO with Last Week Tonight, a show many describe as even better than The Daily Show. Now it’s Bee’s turn after over a decade to make her own way, having signed on to host and executive produce her own show on TBS with husband and fellow correspondent Jason Jones.
Details on the show are limited to a press release from the network, describing it as “inspired by their [Bee and Jones’s] own experiences with family getaways … star(ring) Jones as the head of a family taking a road trip to Florida.” It’s unclear how that will fit into Bee as a host “apply(ing) her smart and satirical point of view to current and relevant issues,” but it appears as though the ink is dry and everyone is committed.
The million dollar question in the midst of all this is whether Bee can achieve the same success John Oliver did in his Daily Show departure. Oliver’s came about in finding a way not only to mimic Jon Stewart, but to improve and innovate on the format, turning it into something entirely his own. Bee and Jones will have to do the same, taking the time-honored “we’re making fun of the news” strategy and shifting it into its own animal. It’ll be a precarious balance of using the elements that are proven to be successful, and infusing enough new ones to create something truly new and exciting.
Oliver managed to do just that on HBO in the face of initial skepticism, making any territory Bee ventures into far from unexplored. Combine that with her considerable talent that’s been on display as a correspondent for the last 12 years, and there may be a recipe for success. She’s consistently shown she’s not afraid to shy away from hot button issues in her tenure, tackling reports on rape in the military, women’s rights during the election cycle, and LGBT discrimination, never backing off from asking the hard (if sometimes hilariously inappropriate) questions.
It’s been a long time coming, but Samantha Bee is finally getting the opportunity to spread her creative wings for a show that at least initially sounds like something unique. When it first hits the air, it’ll give us a version of Bee that puts her in direct control of her vision, hopefully making her the next Daily Show alum to make waves out in the world on her own.