Asked which comedians she admires, Toronto native Samantha Bee names Jon Stewart (surprise!) and Betty White. "She's so vicious, and she looks so sweet and adorable, and she says the most horrible things. I guess I really admire that," Bee says of the former Golden Girl . But sweet, adorable and vicious also describe Bee, who has become the most senior of the senior correspondents on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart since joining it in 2003. We caught up with her at the Daily Show office as she celebrated daughter Piper's first birthday with husband and fellow correspondent Jason Jones.
Are you enjoying the birthday celebration?
I hate birthdays. I thought that I only hated my own birthday, and then I realized that I hate my children's birthdays too. I spent last night writing in a journal and weeping, thinking, "I'm so much closer to death." It's all about me. It's all about my own mortality. It's horrible.
How's balancing motherhood and a career working out for you?
Oh, perfectly. I'm Superwoman.
How did you meet your husband, Jason Jones?
We met doing children's theater. We started dating 10 years ago, but we met maybe a year or two before that. People that work in children's theater are bitter, and we were no exception to that. That's what brought us together, really. Once you discover that the people you're working with hate the show as much as you do, everybody relaxes. It was just a dreadful, dreadful show. And the children didn't even like it, so we weren't alone. But we felt like we were alone.
Did you get Jason his job at The Daily Show ?
No, contrary to popular belief. I don't know if there's a television show in the history of television shows in which you could actually do that. "Yeah, you know what? My husband's really good. Can he have a job?" "Sure!" Like it's so easy to get jobs in television, you can just like nominate someone and then they get the job.
Do you like working together, or do you see each other too much?
Actually, we kind of like working together because it's really the only time that we're together without the baby, although we do have the baby here today, so I shouldn't say that. So, needless to say, there's a lot of making whoopee at work. We like to christen every room. Everyone just gets out of our way. They part like the Red Sea when they see us coming.
Out of all the stories you've shot, which was the most difficult to keep a straight face during?
It rarely feels funny in the moment. It rarely does. We work hard . I think I laughed at someone once. I laughed at this guy who was talking about the advancement of the gay agenda, and how gays made him feel "homonausic," a phrase that he coined, and I laughed. I laughed out loud at him, but he thought I was choking-he thought I was coughing. I literally did one of those shameful laugh-coughs, and he totally bought it. So it all worked out okay.
How did you get your job on The Daily Show ?
I was just so lucky. They actually came to Canada . They were looking pretty specifically for a woman, and I was a woman, and I was in Canada , and so I just very luckily snagged an audition for it. And that was really it: I auditioned in Canada and then did a callback in New York ". And then I got Jason the job. I said, "Listen, my husband's pretty funny, he's a real cut-up," and they were like, "Let's hire him."
You're The Daily Show 's first non-US citizen correspondent. Have you ever faced discrimination in the workplace?
I have faced people's mockery and their derision". Sure, I think people think less of me because I'm from Canada , I'll say it. There's no question about it. But I have two strikes me against me because I'm also a girl, so it's just been a battle royale for me, big time. But now the whole place is littered with non-Americans, so I'm in good company.
Could you see yourself following in Stephen Colbert's footsteps and starting your own show?
Well, if anyone's reading, that would be great . Of course I would love that. I've got the chops. I've got a whole bunch of information in my head that would be hilarious. I've got a whole lot of junk going on up here that I'd like to get out." I'm enjoying my time here, but who knows what will happen to this. Shows don't last forever. I don't know. It would be nice if the show lasted forever. I don't know what the plan is. Nobody tells me.
Were you interested in politics before you signed on at The Daily Show ?
Yeah. I would say on a scale of one to 10, maybe I was a five. It's not that interesting in Canada , I hate to break it to you. People in Canada would disagree with that, but the political system, it doesn't have the-it's not a roller coaster ride, put it that way. There aren't the fireworks and the big, big personalities. So it's a bit of a different scene down here. It's a bit more of a carnival atmosphere, which is a lot easier to wrap your head around.
Do you think The Daily Show influenced last year's midterm elections?
Absolutely not. I really don't. There may be some people who would argue that point, but honestly, I'm just going out there trying to get people to say stupid shit. It's pretty hard to take responsibility for that. If we tried to, I think we would cease to be a comedy show. I mean, it can't be possible. It just can't be. God, please! People need to take control of their own lives and their own political system. Come on!