NEWARK, NJ - Stephen Colbert, host of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, recently hosted a lively on-stage tete’ a’ tete’ with Samantha Bee, host of Full Frontal, to a sold-out crowd of art supporters at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark.
Entitled "Sad! A Happy Evening with Stephen Colbert and Samantha Bee," this private conversation was the 7th annual fundraiser for Montclair Film. At the start of the evening, Montclair Film Executive Director Tom Hall delivered the rules of the Q & A, which followed Colbert’s interview of Bee.
“Stephen and Samantha are both happily married,” said Hall, who added that this was "not to each other" as a way to dissuade the audience from asking for dates.
The audience was treated to a clip from the film, which, according to Mac’s website, is “a 24-hour music
theater work about how communities are built as a result of being torn apart."
Colbert and Bee were seated on stage in a comfortable "heart-to-heart," living-room-like setting. Raised in South Carolina, Colbert lives in Montclair with his wife Evelyn and three children. Evelyn Colbert is the President of the Board of Trustees of Montclair Film.
Bee was born and raised in Toronto, Canada. She now has dual citizenship and lives in the U.S. After she was introduced by Colbert as “a voice for these specific times,” Bee said the key to the success of the show was its ability to be "nimble" and they were "bursting at the seams with content" for the upcoming show.
"It’s anyone’s guess how Monday will look," said Colbert.
Full Frontal with Samantha Bee premiered in February 2016 on TBS. The popular show offers a satirical take on weekly news and stories offering a perspective overlooked by traditional media outlets. Colbert asked Bee about her favorite piece from her time at part of Comedy Central’s: The Daily Show where she was the sole female correspondent from 2006 – 2008.
Bee shared the story of the gay penguins at New York’s Central Park Zoo to the delight of the audience. When asked to name who she would name as 2017 Woman of the Year, Bee replied it would be a woman she met in Mexico who "dived into the rubble to save people during the earthquake.”
Bee also shared stories from recent global trips as a correspondent and journalist.
“In Russia we talked to hackers and trolls before the election," she said. "I met people in disguises in secret locations who were worried about being outed in their jobs as trolls. And they have Netflix in Russia”
The dialogue turned to the past presidential election.
Bee, who has dual US and Canadian citizenship said, “This was not a great first vote for me. We had a show planned around Hillary’s victory.”
Colbert asked about Trump’s presidency, saying, “Has it been better or worse than you imagined?”
“So much worse,” replied Bee. “I’m not sure how we restore the norms.”
“I think all real hope for politics in America is local,” Colbert said. “Washington is the worst. Every time you go there it’s like ‘oh my god, it got on me again.' It is like because of Trump, honesty
suddenly seems cool."
When asked, "What does your show do?," Bee replied, “Catharsis. It is really a collaborative environment. If we show people a world they can understand, you can pull them into it.”
Regarding the recent sexual impropriety events, Colbert said, “Guys are getting busted for whipping out their [redacted]. One of my kids said, ‘If sexual impropriety were the weather, this is hurricane season.’"
Bee said, "I am happy to be alive in a moment when people are feeling free to share their stories…I wish I had a button under my desk that had sexual predators fall into a pit of crocodiles."
Colbert brought up Bee’s Tweet about a "fantasy indictment league’ and asked who would be on her team and why.
“I’m excited to hear the secrets of my best Elf on the Shelf Jared Kushner," said Bee. “I’m sad by what gives us joy now.”
Ninety minutes into the show, the audience had an opportunity to ask questions. A member of NJ11 For
Change asked for advice on how to "fully throw herself into advocacy full time," to which Colbert shared how his involvement in his sister’s run for Congress changed him.
Bee that "the moment we are living in requires that you address things in the now."
"It’s all part of the decency conversation," she said. "Play somewhat within the rules with some thoughtful out of the box thinking."
“In the time of eroding standards, the time is not to abandon your own,” said Colbert.
He then thanked the audience by sharing that doing shows like "Sad! A Happy Evening…" gives them more than an audience.
“It gives us a community,” he said.