Samantha Bee, comedian, actor, writer, producer (born 25 October 1969 in Toronto, ON). A whip smart and scrappy comedian with an acerbic and aggressive edge, Samantha Bee is perhaps best known as the longest-serving correspondent (2003–15) on the satirical comedy news program The Daily Show. A winner of three Canadian Comedy Awards, she has also acted in numerous films and television series. Her own late-night comedy series, Full Frontal with Samantha Bee, debuted in February 2016.
Education and Early Career
Samantha Bee studied for a year at McGill University and then attended the University of Ottawa’s theatre program before returning to Toronto to study acting at the George Brown College Theatre School. While playing the lead in a stage production of Sailor Moon at the Canadian National Exhibition, she met her future husband and frequent collaborator, Jason Jones.
After appearing in Jones’s comedy troupe, The Bobroom, Bee became involved in the sketch comedy wave that was rolling over Toronto in the 1990s. She performed with the group Catch 21 and co-founded the all-female Atomic Fireballs. The latter got her noticed by producers of Comedy Central’s The Daily Show, who invited her to audition.
The Daily Show and Full Frontal
In 2003, Bee became the first woman and the first non-US citizen correspondent on The Daily Show, which famously blurs the lines between news and entertainment with its sardonic take on national and international events. Based in New York and airing in more than 80 countries worldwide, the show featured the scrappy, whip smart Bee conducting “real” interviews with real public figures for a “fake” news program. By playing the straight woman in interviews, Bee would turn her interviewee into the comic and, exposing its absurdity, the news piece into the sketch.
In 2015, after 12 years as The Daily Show’s longest-serving correspondent, Bee left the program to host her own late-night comedy series, Full Frontal with Samantha Bee. The only contemporary late-night comedy series to feature a woman host, the show debuted on TBS to positive reviews in February 2016.
Bee has appeared in numerous television and movie roles in both Canada and the US. She has had guest spots on the CBC TV series Little Mosque on the Prairie and Michael: Tuesdays and Thursdays, and a regular role on Ken Finkleman’s series Good God, where she parodied a conservative news anchor. In the US she has appeared opposite Tina Fey and Amy Poehler in the hit comedy Sisters (2015), and in such TV series as Law and Order, Bored to Death, Rescue Me, Bob’s Burgers, Sesame Street and The Michael J. Fox Show.
Her book, I Know I Am, But What Are You? (2010), is full of autobiographical humour about her fractured family and growing up in its wildly different, and sometimes eccentric homes in Toronto. Bee and her husband Jason Jones have three children together and became US citizens in 2014.
Best Performance by a Female – Television (The Daily Show), Canadian Comedy Awards (2005)
Best Performance by a Female – Film (Coopers’ Camera), Canadian Comedy Awards (2009)
Crystal Award for International Achievement, Women in Film & Television Toronto (2011)
Canadian Comedy Person of the Year, Canadian Comedy Awards (2015)