Nasty comic Samantha Bee vainly entreated U.S. Presidential hopeful Marianne Williamson to appear on “Full Frontal,” Bee’s lively TBS series, and to officially drop out of the 2020 presidential race. Bee failed.
Williamson savvily got the better of Bee’s smarmy invitation to join the presumptive losers’ table. The Democratic candidate went on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” instead. With a sneaky-ironic-bemused wink, she posted a behind-the-scene photo of herself on Instagram while inside the CBS lair of Stephen Colbert, Bee’s way-more-famous talk-show competitor.
Bee pounced first. She said, “Marianne Williamson is our favorite Marianne Williamson running for president, but sometimes there can be too much of a good thing. So Marianne, come drop out on Full Frontal! We love you! #TheDropouts.”
In this tweeted promo video, Bee instantly preyed on Williamson’s demure performance during the first Democratic primary debates against the likes of Senators Kamala Harris, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and former Vice President Joe Biden.
.@marwilliamson is our favorite Marianne Williamson running for president, but sometimes there can be too much of a good thing. So Marianne, come drop out on Full Frontal! We love you! #TheDropouts pic.twitter.com/kypAMLoRqW
— Full Frontal (@FullFrontalSamB) July 22, 2019
Cooing directly to the camera, Bee called out: “I am so loving your vibe, so I wanted to invite you over to my show to a very chill, very serious campaign dropout party. We can have tea, throat lozenges, agave, and whatever else you use to make your voice sound so angelic. I’ll even let you read my aura!”
Williamson declined the offer via Instagram. Her guest spot on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” was the perfect response. And she took a quick and witty jab at the female comic: “Samantha Bee put out a video today saying that I should come on her show and drop out. Ha ha. Thought I should do Stephen’s show instead, and stay in…and win….”
View this post on Instagram
In the green room waiting for hair and make up, doing the Stephen Colbert show tonight. Taping at 5:30 ET. Send good vibes please! Samantha Bee put out a video today saying that I should come on her show and drop out. Ha ha. Thought I should do Stephen’s show instead, and stay in…and win…☺️
Off all Democratic candidates to presume and declare as losers-on-arrival, why go after Marianne Williamson at all?
A few weeks before Samantha Bee sent out a blast of social-media pleas and video promos happily inviting “all Democractic candidates” to come forward and “to officially drip out of the race on live TV.” Those quoted words come from the press release Bee’s people put out.
It continued: “Now that all eligible candidates have had their chance to debate the important issues like healthcare, immigration, and if Zendaya is really Meechee, it is time for the party to begin to coalesce around one singular candidate who can take on President (Predator) Trump.”
Noting that to stick out in an overcrowded cable-news field, Democratic “campaign announcements have had to get creative” by often forcing many Democrats to officially announce their candidacies on late-night TV show, Samantha Bee’s unheeded proposal offered the reverse.
Given that Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand chose to enter the presidential race by appearing on “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert,” why not exit the race via “Full Frontal With Samantha Bee” and create breaking news through that latter route?
“Honestly, I’m not sure all the candidates can even fit on my set,” said Bee. “But if they can stagger the dropouts, I’d love to throw them each the biggest, most kickass dropout party you’ve ever seen. Plus there will be a cake of their choosing! Except for red velvet—red velvet is for closers.”
To sweeten the pot, the TBS star and her team promised to shower the dropouts “with balloons, music, and a live studio audience!” “It’ll be a party that the whole country can be proud of,” they added. “Plus, it’s a great place to get rid of all their campaign’s unused merch.”
In this dropout party, Bee said that she would also provide the unsuccessful Democratic presidential hopefuls what she called “acceptable reasons why you’re stepping aside, such as ‘spending more time with my family,’ ‘party unity’ or ‘I am Tulsi Gabbard.’”
With a strong tinge of hostility in her voice, Bee ended her original plea with this: “If you drop out instead with Stephen Colbert, I will crush that nice man’s glasses.”
Bee’s full-on mean-girl dismissal of Williamson’s campaign backfired in other ways. On social media and in TV reviews, Bee herself got dismissed with thumbs way down. “Hey Samantha Bee, why don’t you drop out of your show?” wrote Cockburn in Spectator US, adding that the reviewer “detects the desperation in the plea from Bee, whose previous career highlight was calling Ivanka Trump a “feckless cunt.” (See this clip.)
Bernie Sanders’ press secretary Briahna Joy Gray tweeted a revealing comment in which she suggested that Bee seems to have a pattern of speaking out against progressive female candidates. To which other people agreed and tweeted: “There’s something about hearing Bee do her shtick accompanied by a complete, desolate absence of laughter that just feels… appropriate.” Another tweet agreed: “Bee went after Jill Stein with the same ferocity, there is a pattern here.” Stein, if you remember, was the Green Party‘s nominee for U.S. President in the 2012 and 2016 elections.
There’s something about hearing Bee do her shtick accompanied by a complete, desolate absence of laughter that just feels… appropriate.
— Sean Bell (@SeanCMBell) July 22, 2019
Lest you accuse Biahna Joy Gray of speaking out of place, the truth was that she was not alone. Spectator US wrote about being “baffled at Bee” and asked: “Why is she going after the anti-war left-of-center female candidates? Especially when, in celebrating her Emmy nomination, she wants people to ‘#voteforawoman’?”
If the goal was not only to mock Williamson’s status as a spiritual leader but also to ridicule Williamson as politically irrelevant, what actually happened was to alert potential voters of Williamson’s rising popularity. In a critique of Bee’s actions, Fox News TV reporter Joseph A. Wulfsohn pointed to a recent poll out of New Hampshire that apparently showed Williamson outranking Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., and former Rep. Beto O’Rourke, D-Texas.
If Bee’s career-minded aim on the other hand was to stand out as a woman in today’s male-dominated field of latenight talk-show host comedians, the needy jester m.o. she used against Williamson ended up reminding viewers why none of the Democratic presidential candidates had ever bothered to appear as guests on her TBS series in the first place.
During her Colbert appearance, Marianne Williamson defended her right to run for president despite never having won elected office and spent ample time advocating for a Department of Peace. “My critique of our national security agenda is not a critique of the military,” said Williamson. “It’s a critique of politicians who have based our national security agenda as much on short term profit maximization for defense contractors as it has on any agenda for creating peace.”
Williamson garnered some of the night’s largest applause during the second set of Democratic primary debates. Williamson argued for paying financial reparations to black Americans, criticized the panel of her competitors for corporate funding and displaying an out-of-touch “wonkiness,” and accused President Trump of emboldening a “dark psychic force” of “collectivized hatred” among the American people.
Given Williamson’s intelligent Earth Mother persona, let’s play with identity politics for the moment. It is doubly curious to emphasize what kind of Democratic candidates Samantha Bee seems to approve or not approve of as her comic targets. In addition to making vicious jokes at the expense of progressive anti-war women candidates, Bee’s “Full Frontal” laugh tactics seem to also convey an instinctual comic-reflex aversion to nonwhite female presidential dreamers, even those who had served as U.S. combat veterans.
So when she joked that one acceptable reason to step aside the race would be that “I am Tulsi Gabbard,” what Bee had in effect done was to dismiss outhand the first female combat veteran ever to run for the presidency. (A Hawaii Reprentative, Gabbard in 2012 became the first Samoan American and the first Hindu member of the U.S. Congress.)
We’re standing outside John Stewart country when we move “Full Frontal.” As hoary political jokes come and go in the runup to the 2020 Elections, Samantha Bee’s latest talkshow antics would have probably made for a sharp satire had they been relevant as well as remotely funny. Here’s to hoping that kicked-ass queen Bee would not have to host her own #TheTalkShowDropout party.
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