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Not My Job: We Quiz 'Full Frontal' Host Samantha Bee On Backsides

PETER SAGAL, HOST:

Our little show is but a minor player in a vast industry, the satirical industrial complex. And one of the titans in the business is Samantha Bee, former "Daily Show" star and now the host of her own show, "Full Frontal."

BILL KURTIS: Like us, Sam's been doing her show from her home, so it was easy to find her there in May. I mean, how was she going to hide from us?

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED NPR BROADCAST)

SAGAL: And now the game where we ask interesting people about things they're probably not interested in. Samantha Bee was a breakout star on "The Daily Show With Jon Stewart," and she then became the first woman to host a late-night comedy show, "Full Frontal" on TBS. She was also the first host to completely get rid of the time-honored desk on the set, which was smart because now she hasn't had to move a desk out to the woods behind her house, where she's been filming...

SAMANTHA BEE: (Laughter).

SAGAL: ...Her show for the last two months.

Samantha Bee, welcome to WAIT WAIT.

BEE: Yes, thank you. I'm so excited to be here.

SAGAL: We're so excited to have you.

BEE: Thank you.

SAGAL: And I note - we've been trying to get you for a while, and I'm just thankful that something - an incident happened where you had nowhere else to go...

ADAM BURKE: (Laughter).

SAGAL: ...So we could get you.

BEE: Well, then you're responsible for this whole cataclysm.

SAGAL: Yes.

BEE: You did this.

SAGAL: We did it.

BEE: Yep.

SAGAL: How are you doing? How are you handling the quarantine?

BEE: I mean, we are fine. I feel lucky to be working and lucky to be able to make the show in the forest.

SAGAL: This is interesting because the other people on TV - your peers like Seth Meyers and Stephen Colbert - they're in their homes. You are doing your show outside.

BEE: We are.

SAGAL: Is it the woods behind your house? Is it...

BEE: It's the woods behind my house. And, like, we really made the choice simply because we didn't have any lights. And we were, like, well (laughter), sunshine is a good - it's the best...

BURKE: (Laughter).

BEE: ...Natural light for us. So...

SAGAL: Yeah.

BEE: To be even more lo-fi, we just decided that the light of day was actually the best lighting that we could get. And so it just...

SAGAL: Yeah.

BEE: ...Was a very organic kind of function of us not knowing what we're doing and not having a lot of equipment (laughter), so...

SAGAL: It also makes you the first late-night host to ever have to worry about a rain delay.

BEE: Absolutely. And it does. We definitely have to watch - we watch the weather scrupulously. We have - our backup plan is terrible. It's - we figure we could shoot in the gazebo in the backyard. But it's noisy back there because there's a creek that runs by. So we don't really have any plan B if there's bad weather. We just kind of tape earlier (laughter).

MO ROCCA: Can I ask - do woodland creatures ever take part?

BEE: Woodland creatures take part. We have hawks that go by overhead. Sometimes you can hear turkeys in the background. There...

HELEN HONG: What?

BEE: Yeah. There's a lot of screeching wildlife.

HONG: (Laughter).

BEE: And we've had a couple of episodes where we have had (laughter) - like, as the earth is quite moist, and the gnats come out...

SAGAL: (Laughter).

BEE: So we've had a lot of gnat activity. And it was, like, buzzing around my face.

HONG: Wow.

SAGAL: That's really amazing. I did love that little moment I saw where all these chipmunks came on and touched up your makeup...

BEE: That's right.

SAGAL: ...Between takes.

BEE: That's so beautiful. They...

SAGAL: It was adorable of them.

ROCCA: Animated.

BEE: They fix the ribbons in my hair.

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: How have you been dealing with what I guess we've all been dealing with, which is going from having a nice audience that lets you know how well you're doing to not having that?

BEE: I think it speaks to how familiar I am to not having reactions to the things that I say...

(LAUGHTER)

BEE: ...That I feel perfectly fine. I feel - actually, it's not a problem for me not to have an audience. It's more a problem that I deliver every joke into my husband's eyes because he's...

SAGAL: Oh, God.

BEE: ...Holding the iPhone that we record the whole show on. It's basically just an iPhone 11. And so if something doesn't land, it just really...

HONG: (Laughter).

BEE: ...Thuds.

SAGAL: And are your kids helping out as well?

BEE: Kids are helping out as well, when they don't - because I have three school-age kids, so they're all doing remote learning right now. So when they're - finish their lessons for the day (laughter), which they usually finish kind of around 3 o'clock...

SAGAL: Yeah.

BEE: And that's around the time that we like to shoot the show. And my eldest daughter is actually very good. We have this thing called a flexfill (ph), which is just this little aluminum pan, basically, that goes under your chin and just shines some - like, reflects some nice light into your face. And she's very good at holding the flexfill. She really understands how beneficial it is to put a little golden light on mommy's face.

(LAUGHTER)

BEE: She has a real instinct for it. And I'm glad - but you can tell - there are some episodes, actually, if you look closely, she's gotten bored of holding the flexfill, and so the light just drops off my face. She's just sat down on a stump.

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: So you're married to another comedian and performer, Jason Jones. And I wonder, do you guys compete to be the funnier parent?

BEE: Jason strives to be the funnier parent.

(LAUGHTER)

BEE: I think I do a better job of it.

SAGAL: (Laughter).

BEE: It's more natural for me.

(LAUGHTER)

BEE: He's trying too hard all the time.

BURKE: (Laughter).

ROCCA: You should have a system in place - like, the parent who gets fewer laughs has to clean up after dinner.

BEE: That sounds very fair. That is a very...

BURKE: (Laughter) I think so.

BEE: ...Interesting approach.

SAGAL: Have you and your family developed any quarantine rituals or new hobbies? Have you all taken up a craft together or had a - like, oh, every Friday, we're going to dress up for dinner - various things that people are doing?

BEE: I'm so jealous of people who are productive during quarantine. We're working our way through television shows. Is that...

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: That counts.

BEE: Is that considered productive now?

SAGAL: Absolutely.

BEE: We're very dedicated to watching the show "Lost," so we're all kind - that's the one thing that we're doing. That is the one thing that we're doing - is gathering at the end of the day...

SAGAL: And watching "Lost."

BEE: ...And all watching "Lost" together.

SAGAL: The family that gets confused by "Lost" together...

BURKE: (Laughter).

SAGAL: ...Stays together.

(CROSSTALK)

SAGAL: And I have to ask, how are you finding it doing comedy - specifically, news-related comedy, current events comedy - at the current moment?

BEE: Well, we've always tackled really difficult stuff on the show. So I think, you know, it's different kind of - the context of being in the forest delivering tough material is a little more challenging in a way.

SAGAL: (Laughter) Yes.

BEE: And I would say that we are making a genuine effort now to find joy wherever we can or to find points of lightness or to find things that are...

SAGAL: Yeah - for example, have you heard about the murder hornets? They're hilarious.

(LAUGHTER)

BEE: Hilarious.

ROCCA: Do you know what could take on the murder hornet?

SAGAL: What?

BEE: What?

ROCCA: A Samantha bee.

BURKE: Oh, that is (laughter)...

BEE: What? Oh.

SAGAL: Next week's cold open right there.

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: Well, Samantha Bee, it is a pleasure to finally talk to you.

BEE: Yes. So nice.

SAGAL: I'm sorry it took a national emergency to make it happen, but we did what we had to do. Now, Sam Bee, you are the host of...

BEE: Yes.

SAGAL: ..."Full Frontal," so we have invited you here to play a game that this time we're calling...

KURTIS: Full Backtal (ph).

SAGAL: That's right.

BEE: Oh.

SAGAL: Full backtal - we're going to ask you three questions about butt doubles.

BURKE: (Laughter).

SAGAL: Those are the people...

BEE: (Gasping).

SAGAL: ...Who stand in for actors when a shot showing the posterior is required...

BEE: (Whispering) Oh, my God.

SAGAL: ...And the actor is either unwilling or unqualified to do it. Answer 2 out of 3...

BEE: OK.

SAGAL: ...Questions about butt doubles, and you'll win our prize for one of our listeners...

BEE: OK.

SAGAL: ...The voice of their choice on your voicemail.

BEE: Let's do this. I'm ready.

SAGAL: Here we go. Bill, who is Samantha Bee playing for?

KURTIS: Julio Salazar of Nashville, Tenn.

SAGAL: All right.

BEE: Oh...

SAGAL: Here we go.

BEE: I don't want to disappoint you.

SAGAL: (Laughter).

BEE: I don't want to disappoint you. OK.

SAGAL: Here's your first question. Famously...

BEE: OK.

SAGAL: ...Dakota Johnson gave way to a butt double for her S and M scenes in the movie "Fifty Shades Of Grey." It wasn't that she was shy. Was it, A, her mother, Melanie Griffith, once told her, quote, "never show them your bank account or your moneymaker?" Was it, B, the first time and only time actor Jamie Dornan spanked her, she reflexively leapt up and decked him; or C, too many butt tattoos?

BEE: I think it was C.

SAGAL: And you're right, Sam. It was.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

SAGAL: Dakota Johnson...

BEE: Oh, my God.

SAGAL: ...Has too many...

BEE: Oh, I'm so proud.

SAGAL: ...Butt tattoos. She says that that may have been a mistake.

BEE: (Laughter).

SAGAL: All right, Sam. Here's your next question. Sandra Bullock needed a butt double in the film "Our Brand Is Crisis," so filmmakers came up with a creative solution. What was it? A, they used an extreme close-up of two cantaloupes; B, they used one cheek each from two different actors, making the first composite ass in film history; or C, producer George Clooney got on set and did it himself.

BEE: I think it's B.

SAGAL: You think it's B - they used one cheek from two different actors, making a composite ass.

BEE: I'm just going to say that because I don't - that's just a guess. That's just a hard, cold guess.

SAGAL: I'm afraid it was George Clooney's butt.

HONG: What?

ROCCA: Wow.

HONG: What?

SAGAL: He just walked on set and dropped trou, and it worked. Bullock said he was surprisingly nonhairy, and it did the job nicely.

HONG: Stop it.

ROCCA: So he has a gender-neutral butt, basically.

SAGAL: Exactly.

SAGAL: Here's your last question, Sam. How did...

BEE: OK.

SAGAL: ...Liam Neeson explain why he used a butt double for the movie "A Million Ways To Die In The West?" Was it, A, body doubles need to feed their families, too; B, my pants don't drop if I'm working for scale; or C, I hate my Irish butt?

BEE: I think it's C, I hate my Irish butt (laughter).

SAGAL: You're exactly right.

BEE: Am I wrong?

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

SAGAL: No, you're right, Sam.

BEE: Oh, my God.

SAGAL: That's what it was.

BEE: Oh, thank God.

SAGAL: Bill, how did Samantha Bee do on our quiz?

KURTIS: Sam Bee knows her butts - 2 out of 3, a winner.

BEE: Yay - ring-a-ding-ding.

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: Exactly.

BEE: I did it.

SAGAL: There you go.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "DOUBLE VISION")

FOREIGNER: (Singing) Fill my eyes with that double vision. No disguise for that double vision.

SAGAL: When we come back, Barry Sonnenfeld on making movies and Karamo Brown from "Queer Eye" on making you cry. We'll be back in a minute with more of WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME from NPR. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.