Samantha Bee’s Writing Staff Is Extremely Diverse

A fully formed Full Frontal tease by New York magazine writer at large Rebecca Traister.

Imagine what Samantha Bee might have done with the topic of Kristen Stewart, whose Jan. 25 video interview comments from Sundance were misreported by Variety as being related to the hot topic of Hollywood film and TV industry diversity. The actress was pilloried on social media before it was clarified that her remarks were in fact about gender equality.

Bee’s satirical program Full Frontal debuts Feb. 8, and among the very best ways to get excited about what the TBS show will deliver is Rebecca Traister’s feature interview in this week’s New York magazine. Within the ranks of the show, there is laudable diversity:

Bee and [showrunner Jo] Miller have worked hard to create a diverse production staff, carefully crafting a blind application process to make it more accessible to people who have not traditionally spent any time in writers’ rooms. The result is a writing staff that is 50 percent female and 30 percent non-white. It’s a mix of experience levels as well; there is one writer who was previously at Letterman and another whose last job was at the Maryland DMV. “If we don’t do anything else right, we hired incredible people across the board,” says Bee. “Our hiring process was great.”

Diversity is a problem the industry has faced for ages but has had a hard time addressing practically. “There’s a lot of people sitting around in rooms discussing how to make it happen as opposed to just, like, doing it,” Bee says. “Asking: ‘Do you have any 45-year-old-woman friends who you think are really talented who could submit an application to us?’ ‘Do you have any black friends who are great writers who haven’t had a shot?’”

Bee and co. have also enlisted playwright Winter Miller to develop a Full Frontal mentoring program. There’s so much more to savor in Traister’s piece; read, bookmark here.