Even in what could more reasonably be called “normal” years, the White House Correspondents’ Dinner is an odd affair – the D.C. press corps yucking it up and sipping cocktails with the very president they’re tasked with covering. But this year, with Trump skipping the event in favor of throwing a rally, and journalists grappling with reporting on a man who considers them an “enemy of the American people” – well, it was probably time to shake things up.
Enter Samantha Bee, whose witty, feminist late-night show Full Frontal has been a welcome antidote to the unrelenting darkness of the Trump era. Bee and her staff decided earlier this year to throw a Not the White House Correspondents’ Dinner. It will first air on TBS at 10 p.m. Saturday, opposite the real #NerdProm, with proceeds benefiting the Committee to Protect Journalists.
Rolling Stone caught up with Bee briefly before the show Saturday to discuss how she’s coping and the likelihood that Trump is going to get us all killed.
We made it to Trump’s 100th day in office. Are you getting tired of all the winning?
I can’t take much more of it. I feel so triumphant. We did it! We don’t need government anymore! We accomplished all that government ever set out to do.
Does doing Full Frontal help you cope?
That is 100 percent accurate. There has never been a more accurate statement spoken to me. That’s what this entire evening is about: It came out of our desire to find little pockets of joy in this big mess. And I hope that we can lend a hand to others. We certainly need that ourselves.
How are you staving off Trump outrage burnout?
Not well! We’re not staying sane at all. We’re completely burned out. Absolutely burned out. Do you have tips for me?
I wish I did.
It’s really a challenge. Across the board, we’re experiencing it.
But you’re still able to laugh about things! How, when everything is so shocking?
Because it keeps us going. Something’s got to! But you know what? I haven’t actually lost the capacity to be shocked. Every time I think that I have, I’m surprised by how much I have left. Which I think is a good and bad thing? One should not lose their capacity to be shocked by things. And yet, I wish I were being shocked less.
It’s pretty bad. Where do you think this is headed? Are we all going to die?
Yes. Well, I mean, that is just a fact. But whether it happens now or later is really up for grabs.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.