- Samantha Bee
- 35 years old
- Grew-up in Toronto; now lives in Hell's Kitchen
- Correspondent, The Daily Show
Are you tired of being asked about Canada? And, what's it like being Canadian?
Not at all. It's very exotic and impossible to explain.
How does your Canadian upbringing affect your comedy?
I don't know that it does. I think my love of potty humor probably informs my comedy more than anything else. Also my dazzling array of insecurities.
Are Canadians generally funnier?
Yes, if you don’t include French Canadians. They really throw off the curve.
What are the real differences between Canada and the U.S.? How about Toronto and New York City?
Soda=Pop. Check=Cheque. Metric. And just to set the record straight, we usually eat the same kind of bacon you do, okay? Sometimes we eat something called
'peameal bacon," which is different, and better, than what you commonly refer to as "Canadian bacon." What you are eating is really just thinly sliced ham. It tastes fine, but it's ham. I am sorry if this hurts you. I will never speak of this again.
After the last election, many people were looking into moving to Canada to avoid four more years of Bush. What advice would you have for all the young Americans looking to infiltrate your homeland?
It's a lot more challenging to get into Canada than you might think, and you're probably not going to like it any better. You're going to want to think that one through.
OK, enough about Canada. How did you wind-up as a correspondent for The Daily Show? Did you have to adjust your comic style, sensibility or subject matter to the show? Especially since you're the lone Canadian?
Honestly, are you obsessed with Canada? Are you? Maybe just a little? Do you want to come with me the next time I go back and stay with me at my parents' house? Seriously, I can whip you up a peameal bacon sandwich, we’ll head down to the farmers' market, maybe take in a show. It'll be fun.
Was it hard being the new girl coming into a fairly tight-knit and well-running team on The Daily Show?
Of course it was surreal at first. I was a huge fan of the show for years, and then to suddenly be a part of something that I had admired from afar for so long … thrilling, and yet slightly terrifying. I was very hard on myself at first. Eventually I learned to relax and find my own rhythm at the show. Naturally it helped that the people I get to work with are genuinely some of the finest, most creative people I have ever met.
Why the hell do these interview subjects go along with you? Are they unaware of the show? Do they not get that they're being ridiculed?
People really love to be on the TV. They really do. And listen, I’m not judging here, because I love to be on the TV too.
We always tell people the truth about who we are, and then if they are unfamiliar with the show, the onus is on them to do a little research and figure it out. That’s what I would do if someone called me out of the blue to do an interview. Maybe that’s just me.
Have you had anyone back out midway because they realize they're being made fun of?
I have not had that experience. Honestly I try to make it as painless as possible for people. People can actually have a pleasant time being interviewed by us, you know. It’s not oral surgery.
Do you think any of the 30% of Florida voters who chose district 88 congressional candidate Ed Heeney saw your interview with him? Were you quite upset that he lost? Do you think (seriously speaking, for just a moment) that your piece had anything to do with his losing? And come on … he was in on the joke just a little, no?
Wow, 30% of Florida voters chose Ed Heeney? That’s … interesting.
I really don’t think my piece had anything to do with his losing though, I’m pretty sure he was capable of losing all on his own. And as for him being in on the joke? If that’s true then he was the best actor I have ever encountered in my life.
Does your work on The Daily Show leave you any time to work on other projects?
I haven’t been pursuing other projects at all, because apart from loving my job and being really busy there, I’m also a person who loves and appreciates down time.
In Toronto you were a member of the all-girl comedy troupe The Atomic Fireballs. Do you plan to continue working with them, or now that you're all big and famous, are they simply the forgotten few you've left behind in the Great White North?
Ah yes, The Fireballs. I really want to work on something with the Fireballs. We keep talking about putting up a live show here, it just hasn’t happened yet. But since I am definitely planning to forget about all the little people back home really soon, the window of opportunity is closing fast.
How long before you crush the hearts of all your Daily Show fans by leaving for a sitcom or to become a major movie star?
I love my job and have no desire to leave it. I mean after all, I just got here. So both my fans can rest easy, at least for a while.
Ten things to know about Samantha:
Which city establishment sees more of your paycheck than you do?
That row of food stores on the Upper West Side. Oh how I love to eat.
Personality problem solving: Would you consider your personality more hysterical or more obsessive, and have you changed since living in New York; has "New York" become a part of you?
When the time is right, I'm more likely to be hysterical than obsessive, but in general I'd say I'm pretty balanced. I don't think it has really changed me all that much, but New York has definitely become a part of me. I have a lot of trouble being anywhere else now.
NYC confessional: Do you have a local guilty pleasure?
I could eat an entire box of warm chocolate cream puffs at Beard Papa.
When you just need to get away from it all, where is your favorite place in NYC to be alone, relish in solitude and find your earthly happiness? (We promise not to intrude.)
I either run in Riverside park, or put on my iPod and walk the perimeter of Central Park.
What's one thing you've done (or regularly do) in NYC that you could not have conceived doing anywhere else?
I take my beautiful dog for swim therapy every Sunday at The Dog Run. It has taken years off her age.
Assuming that you're generally respectful of your fellow citizens, was there ever a time when you had to absolutely unleash your inner asshole to get satisfaction?
Not so far. I'm pretty low key.
Describe that low-low moment when you thought you just might have to leave NYC for good.
There was a brief period of time when I first got here that I wondered if I might not make it. I was very lonely and I went on a bad "new friend blind date" with a friend of a friend. Total disaster. Mortifying, actually. I have since seen that person in the streets and run away like a terrified child.
Besides more square footage, what luxury would you most like to have in your apartment?
A door for my bedroom.
311: Help or hoopla? Have you ever put it to use?
Never heard of it. I’m kind of out of the loop.
-- Interview by Aaron Dobbs and Lily Oei