year in review 2016

45 Brilliant Things Samantha Bee Said This Year

Samantha Bee. Photo: Jessica Miglio/TBS/Time Warner

When Full Frontal With Samantha Bee premiered less than a year ago, the comedian became the first female host of a late-night satirical news show (and one of the few women to host any kind of late-night show, ever). The appointment was overdue, yes, but her show couldn’t have arrived at a more important time. She started by hiring one of the most diverse writing teams in television.

In eight months on Full Frontal, Bee has brought women’s rights like abortion and child care to the forefront, examined political issues including gun control and immigration, visited a Syrian refugee camp, and lambasted Donald Trump and the alt-right. Because she was the feminist voice we needed this year, particularly after the election, the Cut compiled her 45 most memorable quotes below. (More of the best news from 2016: The show was renewed for season two.)

1. “There are plenty of people who won’t tune in because a woman’s voice bothers their eardrums. Their ear canals can’t handle the sound of my shrill voice talking at them about a subject. I guess I just don’t really care about those people.” —The Cut, January

2. On hiring a diverse staff: “There’s a lot of people sitting around in rooms discussing how to make it happen as opposed to just, like, doing it — asking: ‘Do you have any 45-year-old-woman friends who you think are really talented who could submit an application to us?’ ‘Do you have any black friends who are great writers who haven’t had a shot?’” —The Cut, January

3. Does she get tired of the feminist question? “Quite honestly before I started this process, I didn’t even know women could talk. Turns out they can.” —The Late Show With Stephen Colbert, February

4. Her list of nicknames for “vagina”: “Lady garden. Hoo hoo. Hee hee. Haha. Department of the interior. She who shall not be named. The place where I keep my keys. The chamber of secrets. The envelope, please. FernGully. The canyon of heroes. The arc of the covenent. The velour Bouncy Castle. Mrs. Bojangles. The Hurt Locker. Tavern on the Green. Sam’s Club.” —The Late Show With Stephen Colbert, February

5. “I’m gonna be like 78 years old in a bikini on the beach.” —92nd Street Y, February

6. After Antonin Scalia’s death: “Look, if you like the freedom to play violent video games, watch internet porn, and grow weed in your house without police using thermal energy to bust you, you owe a debt to Antonin Scalia. You also probably work on my staff. Whether you loved or hated his narrow literalism about a document written before machine guns and gay people were invented, Scalia was by all accounts a nice guy with a wicked sense of humor. People liked him. … Good people do have bad ideas.” —Full Frontal, February

7. On Mitch McConnell blocking Obama’s Supreme Court appointment: “Let’s just have a Supreme Court vacancy for a year because some chinless dildo wants a justice who will use his gavel to plug up your abortion hole. … Filling court vacancies is one of three jobs a president actually has: appointing justices, bombing the shit out the Middle East, and turkey pardoning. That’s it.” —Full Frontal, February

8. After Trump said, “There are wonderful things going on in women’s health” in a debate: “Hold on: Donald Trump just used the phrase ‘women’s health’ in a positive way?? The last time he referenced women’s health he was talking about the torrent of menstrual blood that shoots out of our wherevers like dragon fire. Listen up, Creamsicle, we had a deal. You open your facehole, garbage spills out, I make jokes, I get to keep my comedy job. You’re not allowed to make sense.” —Full Frontal, February

9. “You know how people are always like, ‘I wonder why there aren’t more female comedians?’ Maybe it’s because every time a woman opens her mouth to tell a joke, someone tries to put their dick in it. It’s not a lot of guys — #NotAllMen, #PleaseDon’tLeaveMeMeanMessages — it’s just a few guys getting away with harassment and assault over and over and over again.” —Full Frontal, February

10. “What is the point of encouraging little girls to dream big if any career puts them in the path of boob honkers? There’s not a workplace on land or sea or even at the bottom of a big deep hole in the ground where we’re actually keeping women safe. … Wouldn’t it be so nice if they could go to work without carrying bear spray? Except for the park ranger, she definitely needs the bear spray.” —Full Frontal, February

11. “Right now I’m actually picturing some guy saying, ‘Uh, what am I supposed to do? Stop asking women out at work because it makes them uncomfortable?’ Yes, you are at work.” —Full Frontal, February

12. On police destroying untested rape kits: “You guys are taking the Marie Kondo method a little too far: ‘Does this rape kit spark joy? No? Into the trash it goes. Thank you for your service.’ You wanna see a map of the states where police can legally incinerate your rape kit before the statute of limitations expires? You’re looking at it — it’s all of them.” —Full Frontal, March

13. “I don’t actually think that thoughtful people are voting with their vaginas. I think there’s more substance to Hillary than the fact that we have some shared body parts. I think there’s complexity there. I think it’s very dismissive to assume people are just voting with their vaginas. But, you know, we’re all very used to being dismissed, so it sort of makes sense.” —Rolling Stone, March

14. “We kept saying, ‘Oh, our show’s gonna be different … not just because it’s being hosted by a woman, but because it’s being hosted by a different human being. It’s being hosted by me, and I have a different point of view.’” —Yahoo Global News with Katie Couric, April

15. “Oh my God, conservatives, make up your minds about poor babies. We thought you wanted them to be born. Why else would you oppose free contraception, wage jihad against Planned Parenthood, fight the FDA on Plan B, and make abortion as unattainable for poor women as a ticket to Hamilton. Well, like it or not, there are a lot of poor babies, and it seems all you got for them is the same useless advice you’re giving their mothers: Keep your legs crossed.” —Full Frontal, April

16. On Harriet Tubman covering the $20 bill: “Yes! Finally, a black woman making a white man move to the back. … When we make such a dramatic change to something we have to consider the fragile feelings of white men who tragically appear on only seven out of seven bills currently in production. … I hate to break it to you, Sparky — Jackson wasn’t involved in the founding of our country because the Revolutionary War happened before Old Hickory’s pubes came in. He was not a founding father. He was a genocidal prick who forced the relocation of nonwhites and fomented populace rebellion — kind of like a Trump with better hair. ” —Full Frontal, April

17. “A blazer is just my life staple. I rock a blazer. I can’t help it. I was just wearing a blazer and running shoes at rehearsal and people were like, ‘You seem really comfortable. Do you want to wear that on the show?’ ‘Please.’” —The Hollywood Reporter, April

18. “Write for yourself. If nobody’s giving you parts, you write one for yourself and you perform it. And you see if the world likes it.” —Yahoo Global News with Katie Couric, April

19. “Shouldn’t #TedCruz have been forced to carry his unviable campaign to term?” —Twitter, May

20. “To understand how we got here we have to go back to the origins of the new religious right. For a generation they’ve been like a wasp in an airplane — they’re small and outnumbered, but everyone still has to avoid pissing them off. It wasn’t always that way.” —Full Frontal, May

21. “The best taco bowls are made by hardworking immigrants who don’t like being called rapists by a rich prick. I love inauthentic Mexican food!” —Facebook, May

22. “After a generation spent successfully riling up the base with feverish anti-abortion rhetoric, it’s no surprise that the divisive issue has divided many from their own sanity. Since 1977, self-appointed soldiers of God have visited abortion providers with 185 incidents of arson, 42 bombings, 100 acid attacks, 26 attempted murders, and 11 actual murders. You know, pro-life stuff.” —Full Frontal (using data from 1977 to 2015), May

23. “Let’s look at everything the Bible says about abortion. Oh, look! There it is, in the Book of Doesn’t Exist. Right next to the verse condemning lesbians. Abortion isn’t found anywhere in God’s law, but now it’s everywhere in our law.” —Full Frontal, May

24. On the Orlando nightclub shooting: “After a massacre, the standard procedure is you stand on a stage and deliver some well-meaning words about how we will get through this together, how love wins, how love conquers hate. And that is great. That is beautiful, but you know what? Fuck it. I am too angry for that. Love does not win unless we start loving each other enough to fix our fucking problems.” —Full Frontal, June

25. “To be fair, [Florida governor] Rick Scott did sign a law restricting personal backyard shooting ranges in crowded residential neighborhoods, which is apparently something you have to tell Floridians not to do. But he spent most of his administration relaxing Florida’s gun laws until they’re looser than the twat of an elephant who just had triplets.” —Full Frontal, June

26. Interviewer: Has it been difficult making a show with relatively few white men? [She laughs.] “We have lots of white men here — you don’t have to worry. We’re fine. We love our white men!” —Vulture, June

27. “For British bigots, the Brexit vote was like white Christmas and the day after was like racist Boxing Day, which they celebrated by harassing every person in Britain with brown skin or a Polish accent, including schoolchildren. … That is really the worst outcome of Brexit, not the breakup of the EU or the fact that you can now use the British pound as loo paper, it’s that the vote made these hateful morons think that over half the country agreed with them. This is why it’s not enough for Trump to lose. It has to be a fucking landslide, 50-state repudiation of this.” —Full Frontal, June

28. “I have literally filled my office with people who have been underestimated their entire careers. To a person, we almost all fit into that category. It is so joyful to collect a group of people who nobody has ever thought could grasp the reins of something and fucking go for it.” —Rolling Stone, June

29. “There have been a lot of hot showers that I’ve taken where I’ve been like, ‘I should speak more firmly. Like in a meeting. I wonder if everyone would appreciate it if I just made up my mind right away about something?’ … It’s so counterintuitive. Being thoughtful about things is actually really important. Everyone gets used to it. It just takes a minute.” —The Cut, July

30. On Roger Ailes: “His masterpiece — a right-wing nightmare factory powered by white resentment and relentless misinformation, churning out propaganda 24/7 and making family Thanksgivings unbearable for 20 years. Fox News is the only 24-hour news network to feature a strategically placed leg cam to showcase the most qualified body parts of its female contributors, plus a daily women’s show trading on the titillating tension between owning a harem and fear of emasculation. So yeah, turns out the guy who runs that network is kind of a creep. Who would’ve guessed?” —Full Frontal, July

31. Question: Can men be funny? “It doesn’t feel possible to me. Their voices are so shrill. Like their voices are so weird to my ears that when I hear a man say a joke, it feels grating.” —People, August

32. On Hillary Clinton’s “basket of deplorables”: “I swear to God, Hillary Clinton is the only woman I know who can trip over her own dick. What was that? Did your team just decide, ‘Hey, nothing else is working, why don’t we try insulting Americans into voting for her?’ When you see ‘grossly generalistic’ in the prompter, that’s when you take a breath and think, ‘Do I want to keep talking?’ You don’t barge ahead and torpedo your campaign with a dumb, dumb remark. That’s Bill’s job! Don’t alienate the deplorables. You can’t win a four-way race with just plorables.” —Full Frontal, September

33. “Americans know Trump is a sexist bigot, Hillary. They just don’t care. A lot of voters have decided that racism and sexism aren’t great but they’re not a deal-breaker, kind of like a sandwich with too much mayo — they think they can just scrape off the extra white nonsense.” —Full Frontal, September

34. On entertainment giants like NBC normalizing Trump’s behavior: “By ignoring that poop, NBC tacitly condoned a race-baiting demagogue. To their credit, NBC did sever ties with Trump after he called Mexicans rapists. If by severing ties you mean inviting him on their flagship comedy programs to show millions of Americans what a fun guy he is. [Rolls clips of Trump on Saturday Night Live and The Tonight Show] I guess because ratings matter more than brown people? Sure, he’s making life palpably dangerous for Muslims and immigrants, but hey, he’s good entertainment! You know, here’s a thought: When Holocaust survivors are telling you, ‘Hey, this guy gives me deja vu,’ maybe don’t invite them to your house to play with your adorable children?” —Full Frontal, September

Photo: Courtesy of Full Frontal with Samantha Bee

35. On Jimmy Fallon hosting Trump on The Tonight Show: “Aw, Trump can be a total sweetheart with someone who has no reason to be terrified of him. Huh, I noticed there were no cutaway shots to the Roots. I wonder why. Network execs and a lot of their audience can ignore how very dangerous Trump is because to them, he isn’t. They’re not going to be deported. They’re not going to live under a president who thinks of them as a collection of sex toys. They’re not racist, they just don’t mind if other people are, which is just as bad. Anyway, Hillary, next time skip the appeal to basic decency and just tell people Trump will raise their taxes.” —Full Frontal, September

36. On mansplaining: “No one has tried to mansplain to me in a really long time. I feel like the show came on the air and all of that stopped. Maybe I do it to myself now, to remember. I clamsplain right back.” —The Cut, September

37. On Trump calling former Miss Universe Alicia Machado’s weight gain a “problem” for the beauty contest: “LOL, no, you had a stunningly beautiful Miss Universe winner, but you treated her like garbage. Now you have a real problem — not only with her, but with any woman who has ever been called fat, which is all of us.” —Full Frontal, September

38. On criticism that Hillary should smile more during debates: “No one was suggesting superficial changes for Trump, like ‘Try wearing a suit that actually fits,’ or ‘Embrace your baldness proudly,’ or ‘Don’t snort your way through the debate like Jean Pierre’s prized truffle pig.’” —Full Frontal, September

39. “Look, Hillary Clinton is never gonna smile naturally enough for you. She’s never gonna be a thrilling speaker. Her oratory is always gonna remind you a little of your least-favorite history teacher’s lecture about the cotton gin. She’s never gonna make you love her. In fact, she’d probably be offended if you tried; she has grandchildren for that. But we don’t need her to be warm and vulnerable. It turns out, what America really needs Hillary Clinton to be, she is. Namely, one of the only people in the whole goddamn country who’s not afraid of a bully.” —Full Frontal, September

40. “It sounds a lot like Trump has confused abortions with bear attacks. Removing a baby from a woman’s womb in the ninth month isn’t an abortion, it’s a birth, and I’m sure Donald Trump would love to outlaw it. It makes the pussies too gross and screamy for grabbing. And while Donald may not understand how abortion works, he should be very familiar with the concept of unviable. For example: Trump Airlines, or Trump Steaks, Trump Vodka, Trump magazine, not to mention the entire Trump brand on November 9.” —Full Frontal, October

41. On Hillary Clinton schooling Trump on abortion in the third presidential debate: “Two things: Hell. Yes. Men, if you don’t get why it’s important to have a woman as a major party nominee, check your social-media feed. Actually, log in as your wife. You’ll see that all women are sharing deeply personal stories of pregnancies that went wrong. They were buying [Nasty Woman] T-shirts and warming to a passionate unapologetic feminist we haven’t seen since the ’90s, one who stood in a shower of shit and managed to do what 16 party candidates and the entire Republican Establishment couldn’t — namely, beat this dick-waving Berlusconi knockoff like a little bitch. Her name is Hillary. Ms. Rodham, if you’re nasty.” —Full Frontal, October

42. On Trump’s win: “Look, this isn’t good for anyone. Our democracy just hawked up a marmalade hairball with the whole world watching. What we did was the democratic equivalent of installing an above-ground pool. Even if we’re lucky and it doesn’t seep into our foundations, the neighbors will never look at us the same way again. In the coming days people will be looking for someone to blame — the pollsters, the strident feminists, the Democratic Party, a vengeful god. But once you dust for fingerprints, it’s pretty clear who ruined America: white people. I guess ruining Brooklyn was just a dry run.” —Full Frontal, November

43. “The Caucasian nation showed up in droves to vote for Trump, so I don’t want to hear a goddamn word about black voter turnout. How many times do we expect black people to build our country for us? White people, this is the worst thing we’ve ever — no I’m sorry, that’s a very high bar but holy shit! And don’t try to distance yourself from the bad apples and say, ‘It’s not my fault, I didn’t vote for him, #NotAllWhitePeople.’ Shush, shush, shush. If Muslims have to take responsibility for every member of their community, so do we.” —Full Frontal, November

44. On Trump appointing known white supremacist Steve Bannon as his chief adviser: Whoops, all the Jews on my staff just left Jew-shaped holes in the wall. Sorry folks, you’ll just have to make do with jokes by our black, female, and gay writers — oh damn it, they’re gone too.” —Full Frontal, November

45. “America is still a great country and it is still worth fighting for. It has Shonda Rhimes shows and peanut butter and Beyoncé and Lin-Manuel Miranda rap-weeping at awards shows, and it has the beautiful U.S. constitution, which we should probably start teaching in schools. We still get to take pride in the peaceful transfer of power. And if Ms. Rodham’s not in the White House that’s okay — one of those girls is going to be. We still have millions of Nasty Women who aren’t going away, and as long as women over 25 are still allowed on television, I’ll be here, cheering them on.” —Full Frontal, November

45 Brilliant Things Samantha Bee Said This Year