After almost a decade with The Daily Show, Toronto native Samantha Bee is all too familiar with the inner workings of a newsroom, which probably comes in handy on her new Movie Central/TMN Canada show Good God, in which she plays a right-wing, Bible-thumping morning-show host on a fictional Fox News–type network. Not surprisingly, hilarity ensues.
A couple of years ago I read your book, I Know I Am, But What Are You? I seem to recall something about a crush on Jesus…
Oh, yeah, I had one. Didn’t everyone? I think that’s sort of the point. That’s why they made him so sexy.
Your character on Good God is also involved in a serious relationship with the Son of God. What made you want to play her?
I really just wanted to play her because I’m such a fan of [series creator] Ken Finkleman. I probably would have played anything, but then I was so happy when I read the character in the script.
In the first episode, she seems like sort of an extension of the character you play on The Daily Show.
I don’t know exactly why I tap into these characters who take themselves so seriously, since that’s so not me. I guess what I’m saying is that I’m a really amazing actor. Shandy is an extreme narcissist, but she doesn’t seem to have any sense of the effect she has on people.
Is she a NILF?
What’s a NILF?
A “newsie I’d like to fuck”! You coined the term on The Daily Show in 2007.
Oh, my God, I had totally forgotten about that. That was such a fun time.
Samantha Bee, this is your life.
Ha. Well, I think Shandy would certainly like to think of herself that way.
It is a timely moment for a show about a right-wing news show.
The timing is beyond fortuitous. I think it’s cathartic for people to watch, given the current state of politics, particularly in the States. I’m not sure if a show like Good God would get made in America. I hope at some point American viewers get a chance to watch it.
As a comedian, do you delight in someone like Rush Limbaugh?
Well, not at the peril of other people’s lives or safety, but certainly there’s a lot of material there. It’s just so crazy how many people listen to him—millions and millions. I get infuriated any time I listen.
Where do you stand on the word “slut”?
Honestly, I’ve heard him say so much worse.
How amazing has the Republican primary season been for political comedy?
It has just been such an amazing thing to behold. This cast of characters—you could never have made them up.
Do you have a favourite candidate?
Well, of course I loved Herman Cain. I miss him, although he became a lot less funny once he sort of got in on the joke. Just the fact that he thought working out the particulars of his job as a Burger King manager made him qualified to be president. Not that I have anything against Burger King. His campaign was basically a big book tour, so I guess in that sense it was a success.
What do you make of the recent wave of gal comedy? Turns out women are sort of funny—at least when they’re joking about weddings and toilet-drama.
Well, obviously I’ve always known that women are funny. I guess there’s just been such a double standard in movie-making. In the past, there has also been a tendency to cast women who aren’t that funny in comedic roles. You know, as long as they look good and don’t ruin it.
If you were going to write and star in a female ensemble, who would be in your dream cast?
I would cast all my friends from back in my sketch-comedy days. And Catherine O’Hara would definitely have to be in my movie.
Your husband, Jason Jones, is also a comedian and Daily Show correspondent. Is your house a hilarious place, or is it a matter of conserving comedic energy?
Yeah, like we just go home and dial it back to two. We don’t want to waste any jokes on our kids! Honestly, our kids are hilarious. Right now, they’re into doing impressions of us and they’re very unflattering. For me it’s, “I’m Samantha Bee and I like beer.” And then for their dad it’s watching football. Apparently that’s all we do.
You’re obviously very busy. How often do you get a chance to come home to Toronto, and what’s the first thing you do when you get here?
Both of our families are still there, so we still come as often as possible, though that’s not as often as it used to be with three kids. I always have to hit Bonjour Brioche for an omelette when I’m in town. I could honestly go straight there from the airport. Sometimes I’ll come on a Monday and they’re closed, which is horrible.
Complete this sentence: The _______ in Toronto is so much better than it is in New York.
Well, the pace of life is definitely different. I like both for different reasons. Oh, and Toronto definitely has better Indian food. Way better.
Final question: Who would win in a cage match between Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert?
I think Jon. He’s very wiry.
Favourite news source?
The New York Times.
Wedding and birth of three kids.
Sex or chocolate?
Not mutually exclusive.
Facebook or Twitter?
Favourite American president?
Don’t have one.
Favourite Canadian prime minister?
Funniest person you know?
Jon Stewart and Louis CK.
Most overused word?
Desert island album?
Good God premieres April 9 on Movie Central and The Movie Network.