The segment could have been straight out of "The Daily Show": Samantha Bee, fake journalist, pokes at the truth with pointed humor as she spotlights the very real disgrace of women U.S. veterans left to use prosthesis made for men.
"Here's you mistake," she told her interview subject, a woman who was given a prosthetic foot intended for a man. "You went to the VA thinking your problem was a missing foot when really your problem was a missing penis."
The bit offered vintage Samantha Bee, who helped define "The Daily Show" as an often blunt, sardonic source of news-driven satire during her 12-year run, the longest – and one of the strongest – of any correspondent.
The prosthesis clip is being used to promote her new weekly program, "Full Frontal with Samantha Bee," which debuts at 10:30 p.m. Monday on TBS. The show marks Bee’s welcome return to the air while addressing TV's own disgrace of a late night comedy landscape devoid of women hosts since Chelsea Handler’s E! show ended nearly 18 months ago.
Bee's new gig also represents the latest offspring of the Jon Stewart-era "Daily Show," which helped launch news parody programs from Stephen Colbert, Larry Wilmore and John Oliver, whose “Last Week Tonight” returns for a third season on HBO Feb. 14. After Stewart stepped down in August, he turned over the Comedy Central show to Trevor Noah, a smart young South African comic, who is doing a fine job so far.
The Canadian-born Bee left "The Daily Show" in April as a well-practiced expert in the art of deadpan, while proving equally adept at flashing TV-reporter-like looks of empathy before swooping in with punch lines that exposed hypocrisies. Perhaps her greatest moment came at the 2008 Republican National Convention when she used the pregnancy of Bristol Palin to lure conservatives into sounding nearly liberal when discussing reproductive rights ("There’s a word I’m looking for... I think it rhymes with 'voice?'" Bee prodded).
Clips touting "Full Frontal" offer more examples of the "Daily Show"-style correspondent approach as well as showing Bee in the host’s role, giving her take on the Iowa caucuses ("State color: white people," she said of the Buckeye State).
The recent barrage of promos – which include an elaborate "Star Wars" spoof – suggests that Bee’s aiming to produce social media friendly material that will attract some of "The Daily Show" crowd, along with new fans.
Jere Hester is Director of News Products and Projects at the City University of New York Graduate School of Journalism. He is also the author of "Raising a Beatle Baby: How John, Paul, George and Ringo Helped us Come Together as a Family." Follow him on Twitter.