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Daily Show's Samantha Bee salutes Canadian roots

Samantha Bee


Samantha Bee is proud to be America's Canadian sweetheart. Although committed to The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, the Toronto native regularly returns home to appear on Canadian programs, including Little Mosque on the Prairie and, most recently, Michael: Tuesdays & Thursdays. The guest appearances speak to the multitasking prowess of Bee, whose résumé includes forming the sketch group The Atomic Fireballs and playing the kids' anime character Sailor Moon in a stage production. In between raising three young children with husband and fellow Daily Show reporter Jason Jones, Bee is a zealous Twitterer and blogs for, a parenting website. On Tuesday's episode of Michael: Tuesdays & Thursdays, she plays the perky morning show host Wendy Slade. Bee spoke to us from New York last week.

Have you been watching Michael: Tuesdays & Thursdays?

Living in New York, I'm not able to watch it every week—there's this really thick firewall between the U.S. and Canada, you know. But I've watched it when I'm up in Canada and I love the sensibility of the show. It's unashamedly set in Ottawa and the casting is perfect.

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Was your portrayal of Wendy Slade based on any existing morning talk show host?

Not really. I don't know why, but my skill set is so peculiar. It doesn't take much for me to channel the personality of a daytime talk show host.

Is The Daily Show still the best outlet for your irreverent Canadian viewpoint?

Yeah, it's still an incredible job, which is never the same two days in a row. Yesterday I was at that Herman Cain press conference that Gloria Allred put on. It's just so weird to be crawling through a roomful of bored reporters and it's so hot and you're waiting and waiting. That's still a unique experience for someone like me. I kind of enjoy it.

Has your reportage of these events evolved in the eight years you've been on the show?

The fundamentals are still the same, there's just more reporters now. I saw TMZ had their microphone front and centre at that Cain press conference. TMZ! Right in there with all the other networks. Bless their hearts.

Is it a positive or a negative to have the same job as your spouse?

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Oh, it's good. We understand the eccentricities of each other's schedules and sometimes it can be strange. We definitely attack each day. Some days you're running madly and trying to eat a banana in the cab on the way somewhere, and some days are normal. We're never bored, I will say that.

What's the goal behind your parenting blog?

It's definitely speaks to the parenting side of me. I do the blog with Allana Harkin, one of my comedy partners from Toronto. Don't expect wisdom or advice. We're not trying to accomplish too much, but just have fun.

The recent conversation between you and your Spanx was interesting . . .

That was a sad conversation. More like an argument, really.

Why are you so drawn to Twitter these days?

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I resisted it for a long time, but now I find I'm enjoying Twitter in a way I never thought would be possible. For me, it's not so much what I'm outputting, but rather following the people that I follow. If you keep the list of people you follow pretty tight, it can be a pretty interesting journey.

I know you've had network comedy offers. Are you – or your husband – ever tempted to dive into the sitcom pool?

It's part of the whole spectrum of work you try to do in this industry. You have to keep the momentum going. Right now we're very happy where we are. We always have additional projects and The Daily Show is great about letting us try new things. Moving on is a big conversation for us.

Is part of the hesitation that you'd have to move from New York to L.A.?

We understand that at some point in our lives we may have to go to where the work is. I'm sure that in the future, we'll end up living in California for a short period or long period of time. If I could live in New York the rest of my life, I absolutely would, but it's also prohibitively expensive and you have to be working. New York is a lot nicer when you have a job.

Do you ever regret revealing that you once played Sailor Moon in a stage production?

No, because for many years I was so embarrassed by that story that it would bring tears to my eyes. It was just so burned in my psyche. So it was actually really good for me to let it all out.

But you were young, right?

I wasn't that young! Let's not sugarcoat it. I was in my 20s. I was too old to do that job. But when you're an actor, work is work.

Michael: Tuesdays & Thursdays airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. on CBC-TV.

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