Samantha Bee Talks Princesses, Airbrushing And Her Vagina In Part 2 Of Our Frisky Q&A

Watch your bestseller-list ass, Chelsea Handler. For years, Samantha Bee has been giving brain boners as Most Senior Correspondent on “The Daily Show” and now Canada’s finest import has published her first book, a collection of autobiographical essays titled I Know I Am, But What Are You?.

From saucy recaps of her Barbie dolls’ sex lives to the bittersweet tale of meeting husband, fellow “Daily Show” correspondent Jason Jones, while performing a Sailor Moon musical for children, Bee’s book will have you snorting milk out of your nose (or else something is seriously wrong with you). And because she is awesome, Bee poses on her own book cover in a bumblebee costume. But don’t worry, boys, in the author photo on the back cover she is nude.

Bee agreed to chat with The Frisky, so I called her up armed with list of questions. In part one of our interview, we talked about the expected — being a woman in comedy, her book, and “The Daily Show,” of course. What I did not expect was that she would start our interview by telling me about her vagina.

I mean, vaginas don’t look that nice. Like, little girls have cute vaginas. But lady vaginas, you need a little hair. It makes it look better.

I’m going to turn the tape recorder on now.

OK, I’m just reading this pube debate.

(confused) You’re reading what?

The pube debate.

Oh, an article on The Frisky! You should weigh in on it.

Oh, I can weigh in on the pube debate, sure. I’m surprised so many people shave themselves bare. (shrieks) What the hell? Oh my God! Oh my God!

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(laughs) Is this part of the interview?

It can be. I like pubic hair! Our body looks weird without it. Vaginas don’t look that nice to me without it.

(Awkward silence)

I mean, vaginas don’t look that nice. Like, little girls have cute vaginas. But lady vaginas, you need a little hair. It makes it look better.

I just resent being told I’m supposed to do something with my pubic hair.

Me too! F**k off! It’s my thing. If you don’t like it, let’s move on. I don’t like you. If you don’t like my vagina, I have moved on. Ten minutes ago! To someone else!

Is that a problem you’ve had?

I have never had that problem and I’ve never given it more than two minutes worth of thought. Like, I just don’t care if a man didn’t like my vagina. I would just hate him instantly.

Have you ever been told you had to wax your bikini area before a photo shoot?

Nobody’s ever photographed my crotch on any level. Oh, that’s actually not true! We did do something for GQ where I was wearing like thigh high stockings and panties, but I was wearing a blazer, so you couldn’t really see anything. And [my pubic hair] was not a concern. It’s not like I have hair pouring down my legs or something like that. It wasn’t, like, cascading down my inner thigh. It was in control. But they airbrushed the s**t out of me anyway. (laughs)

I’d love to know what it’s like being on TV where your hair and makeup are done all the time. I feel like I’d be insulted if I knew people wanted me to put makeup on before I could be considered “camera ready”?

No, I don’t really find it insulting. It’s kind of par for the course. I will say this: [“The Daily Show”] in particular seems to not care at all about that stuff so they’ve given me such leeway in terms of my own personal appearance. I think I’ve actually let it slide lately. The hair lady wants to do my hair a little and I’m, like, “Ugh, can’t you just leave it? It’s really droopy but I don’t care.” And nobody cares! Which I’m grateful for.

How about on photo shoots? You probably get more dolled up for magazines, right?

Sure, but that’s just a woman’s experience. They always put aside an hour to do a woman’s makeup and three minutes to do the man. Then they put gel in his hair and that’s it. With the woman it’s all contouring; it’s very insane. But I don’t really have to put up with that too much because not too many people are trying to take my photograph. Although every time they do take my photograph, I get airbrushed. It is weird. When you see yourself airbrushed [you think], “I do look better.” I mean, not better. “I look different. That’s interesting.” You look magazine-friendly. I think Comedy Central actually airbrushed my face. We’ve just taken new photos recently, but in the round before [they airbrushed me and] I did balk at that. I thought it was really f**king weird. My face actually looked like a rubber mask. I think whoever did it overdid it a little bit.

Did you tell your bosses you didn’t like the airbrushing?

It was too late. I saw it at the end of that usage period and I was, like, “Who is this? (shrieks) What?! THANKS! I don’t think [my face is] a crisis situation!”

People are going to think you got Botox!

It was beyond Botox. I really look spackled. It’s really weird, but whatever.

How do you feel about being the nerd girl sex symbol?

Oh, I don’t think that’s — no, no, no, honestly, no, not a sex symbol. I’m pregnant. I’m eight months pregnant. I can’t even think about the word “sex.”

When I told my friends I was doing an interview with Samantha Bee, all the girls said they wanted to be your best friends and all the guys said, “She’s soooooooo hot.”

Oh, Jesus. Well, I would not really expect that reaction. That’s very nice! That’s very nice! I have to tell you, I just don’t think about it. I’m 40 now. I want to look nice but I don’t think about [my appearance] much in terms of this show.

Do you think the fact that you’re pretty has helped you be successful?

How I look matters, I guess. But I don’t feel like I got this job because I look great or something; I feel like I got this job because I look like a reporter. Do you know what I mean? I think that’s actually a much more important component to this job than anything. We audition people a lot and, really, it’s the people who can look reporter-y who seem to get the job. I think I really do look reporter-y, I really do. I don’t know why, but I really do look that way. Of course I care about my appearance, but more than anything, I’m thinking about maintaining attractiveness between [me and my husband, fellow “Daily Show” reporter Jason Jones]. (laughs)

I had a great experience on the show one time. I got my hair cut and to me, it was a really radical haircut. It was so ridiculous when I look back at it now. But it was a terrible haircut; it was really weird. I had just started the job [at “The Daily Show”] and normally in acting jobs, you really have to care a lot about that stuff. It’s like a big deal if you get your hair cut. (mocks sarcasm) It ruins continuity. Everybody gets freaked out about it. So I was worried and I called the executive producer Ben Karlin, who is no longer here, and I said, “Hey, listen, I’ve got some bad news.” And I was really serious, I was really nervous. I said, “I got a really bad haircut and I hope it doesn’t mess you up.” He was, like (sighs exasperatedly), “OK, I’m going to stop you right there.” He basically said, “I never want you to call me again and talk about your physical appearance. I really don’t care. There are so many other things that we need to focus on with this show and your haircut is the least important thing that I could imagine talking about right now.” Which was a total relief! Since then, I’ve tried to look reporter-y, but I try not to put too much thought into it.

Let’s stop talking about your appearance. This is not a very feminist line of questioning.

(shrieks) I love it! I’m obsessed with it!

Tell us why you wanted to write a book.

Truthfully, you’re in a little bit of different position when you have somewhat of a profile. I think there was a hunger for books by women at the time that I started writing my book. Chelsea Handler’s book had done really well, so there was kind of a desire out there for comedy books by women. It just coincided with my desire to do my own book. I don’t really know how all the pieces fit together so perfectly, but they did, even though it wouldn’t seem like the perfect timing because I had just given birth to my second child. But [writing a book] was one of the most fun things I have ever done. I loved it.

Wow, that’s the opposite of what everyone else says! Usually authors say writing a book is so stressful.

Well, it’s stressful and it’s very hard work, but I found it to be such enjoyable hard work. I only wanted to write a book if it was going to be more about the process than the end result. I definitely, definitely felt that. I just thought that if I wasn’t enjoying [writing], then I didn’t want to do it at all. Because when you’re very busy, jamming things in for other people’s reasons makes no sense at all.

Did you take time off of at “The Daily Show” to get the book done?

No, I was writing it after the children went to sleep! Or if the day [at work] was slow or on the weekends.

You’re so candid in the book: there’s stuff in it about your parents’ divorce, mom watching porn at home when you’re a kid, losing your virginity at 15, going home with much-older men. Were your parents OK with you being so open about that stuff?

They’re actually tremendously supportive of my career. Tremendously supportive. It was completely intentional to be so candid because that’s what gives things heart. I felt like, it’s not really “me” to write a book that’s just jokes. Does that make any sense? It wasn’t the kind of book that I would want to produce. It would not be a comfortable place for me. The best possible stuff that I could mine, I thought, was very personal and I thought, Who cares? The only thing you can really be is be true to yourself. I mean, who gives a s**t if people know these things, really? As long as it’s not hurting people and it’s not a take-down, then I thought it would be fine. And I got my parents’ blessing for sure. Although they haven’t read it! But they’re not going to be upset by it because it’s an accurate depiction of them and they don’t hate themselves. They’re not ashamed of who they are.

It’s really interesting all the different ways people write about their sex lives. You write so much about your own sexual experiences in the book, especially ones you had when you were a young teen. Yet it never comes off like you’re victimizing yourself or mocking yourself or bragging or anything like that.

Doesn’t it actually seem like the more people talk about sex and how great they are at sex, the worse they are at it? There’s no question that Madonna is a terrible lay. It just must be true. I’ve always known that. There’s no possible way that’s not true.

Well, when you talk about sex, it’s very thoughtful.

Yeah. It’s a part of everybody’s growing up. I don’t really think it’s anything new that kids have sex at a young age. They always have. I had it when I was 15, people have it when they were 13, people I knew had it when they were 13. When I was in high school, I got invited to an orgy when I was 14.

Oh, my. Why didn’t that make it into the book?

I don’t know, actually. That’s kind of a good story. I didn’t specifically leave it out; I just forgot about it.

Or repressed it?

Not even! It was stupid. I didn’t participate in the orgy; I was just, like, “This is not for me. I’m not here yet. But good luck, other 9th-graders, have a nice time!” [The girl who threw the orgy] was the daughter of a psychiatrist.

Of course she was.

That’s what happens! That’s. What. Happens. (laughs) Sexuality, it’s in our teenagers. It’s natural There’s nothing you can do to prevent it; all you can do is try to be safe about it. And I thought, it just doesn’t seem like it needs to be a mystery. It just doesn’t. I’m like my mother in that sense. I probably wouldn’t give a glossary of sexual terms to my 7-year-old child — (sarcastically) probably wouldn’t — but if [my daughter’s] got questions, I’ve got answers. It’s fine.

Can I ask you a question about your kids?


What’s your take on the whole “princess fantasy” thing? You know, like little girls who love princess dresses and princess movies and all that stuff?

(sighs) I know, it’s gross. It’s really gross. (laughs) My daughter is very into princesses. Listen, when you’re a parent … I’m just being as candid as I can; I’m just being honest here. What else can I do. Who else can I be? When you’re a parent of your first child, you are very precious with your children and you never want them to watch TV or have any bad influences. And then if you have a second child, you immediately say, “Can I get my first child interested in movies of any kind? Because I need a moment to myself. I absolutely need to turn the TV on right now because I have to go take care of this other child in, addition to taking care of myself.” And so you end up getting “Finding Nemo” and that’s the gateway. (laughs) And then other people show your daughter princess movies. Let’s say they go to their grandmother’s house and “Snow White” is on and then they want to see “Snow White” [at home]. It just kind of grows from there; it gets a little out of your control. [My daughter] likes [princesses], but I don’t sweat it too much. I think [princess movies are] creepy and weird, but when she has questions about it, I have my dry answers. My hope is she’ll get it out of her system. It’s already kind of working its way out of her and she’s 4. You know, I don’t think the implications are life-shattering. [A princess obsession] can be very sickening but we mitigate all the princess stuff with other stuff. And we don’t go to toy stores. We don’t take her to Princess Fantasy Land or anything like that.

Would you ever want to be a stay-at-home mom?

I think I like to work. Now that I’m having my third, I was thinking, “What should I do? I’m going to have three children [soon] …” And then I was, like, no, I can’t stop working, I love working. Obviously my family comes absolutely first. And the good thing about working [at “The Daily Show”] is that they get that. They really do get that! It would not seem to be likely because everybody thinks it’s such a boys’ club here. Everybody is so respectful and they embrace family life so much here. That makes it possible for us to work here. [Jason and I] are well aware that we are actors and we will not always be working. As has always been in our career, sometimes I’ll be working, sometimes Jason will be working, sometimes we’ll both be working, sometimes neither of us will be working. We live close to the studio so we can have as much family time as possible. We walk to work. We bring our kids to work when we came. We try to do both as best we can.

So what are you working on next?

Well, I am going to birth a baby. I am going to birth my baby in August. I am doing a little bit of media for the book, as much as possible, and when that wanes, I’m just looking forward to just doing my actual job. I’m going to birth my baby in August and then I’m going to take however insanely short a period of time people take in the United States — seven weeks — and then it’s the midterm elections. So we’ll do midterms and then we’ll see. I’m going to try to rest.

There’s nothing really on the horizon for me at the moment and I like it. I’m excited. I’m just enjoying as it is. If everything could stay the same forever, that would be great.

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More Not-Necessarily-Female Hysteria! Don’t miss the Just For Laughs Comedy Festival, featuring headliners Ellen DeGeneres, Cedric The Entertainer and Andy Richter, plus Lady Antebellum and a special guest appearance by Jerry Seinfeld.