Samantha Bee Tackled Sexual Harassment In The Comedy World & It Was Major

Photo: Courtesy of TBS.
During last night's episode of Full Frontal, which continues to be absolutely excellent, host Samantha Bee did a segment titled "Samantha Bee's #Roar, You-Go-Girl Job Fair for Future Women. Lean In!" That optimistic title was ironic because, as Bee went on to illustrate, being a woman in the workforce frequently sucks. Women who work as Park Rangers in the Grand Canyon are harassed, she says, as are women who work on cruise ships, and — oh yeah — women in comedy.

Yes, Bee righteously excoriated her own industry. It was a bold move that proved she holds everyone (not just politicians) accountable, and does not consider any institution — even one to which she is tied — sacred.

"How about a job in the city? Oh, hey, comedy!" she said gleefully. That infamous Vanity Fair photo of male late-night hosts flashed on the screen behind her. "That's my career!" Remember, Bee tweeted out a Photoshopped version of that image, in which she was prominently displayed as a centaur with laser eyes.

"You know how people are always like, 'I wonder why there aren't more female comedians,'" Bee continued. "Maybe it's because every time a woman opens her mouth to tell a joke, someone tries to put their dick in it."

In recent months, more and more women have been speaking out about the deplorable harassment they have faced in the comedy world. In an Instagram post, comedian Beth Stelling wrote about her experiences in an abusive relationship with a boyfriend she says raped her: "I am not alone; unfortunately I'm in a line of smart, funny women who experienced this from the same man in our L.A. comedy community." Katie J.M. Baker published a detailed report in BuzzFeed about how women in Los Angeles have fought to make their famous improv schools like UCB and iO West safe. The artistic director at iO West has been fired amid allegations of harassment. The nonprofit Women in Comedy has been collecting anonymous stories of women's experiences.

"The problem is so persistent that female comedians in Chicago, New York, and L.A. have set up secret online groups to share their stories and warn each other which serial predators to stay away from," Bee explained. "Hooray! Sisters are doing it for themselves, and by 'it,' I mean law enforcement."

Bee didn't speak about her own experience, but she clearly knows what it's like being a member of comedy's female minority. The fact that she's the only woman with her own late-night show has not escaped anyone, including her viewers; in her very first episode, she parodied the "as a woman"-type questions she is so often asked.

Overall, Bee's "job fair" was a powerful segment that made me both laugh and cry. (Seriously! That's how frustrating this crap is!) But the impact was made even stronger by the fact that Bee was eloquently attacking a community so close to her.
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