Full Frontal LLC with Samantha Bee, New York, NY
This summer I had the privilege of interning for the critically acclaimed political satire show, Full Frontal with Samantha Bee. As someone who hopes to pursue a career in comedy, both as a performer and as a television writer, I was honored to be selected to work for such an influential comedy production. The internship was not what I had expected, due to the current pandemic, though I feel that in many ways I learned more about how creating a TV show really works than I would have if I had been able to be in New York. If we had been on site, the internship would have consisted largely of more “intern-y” duties—fetching coffee, going on supply runs, filing and organizing. While I would have loved the opportunity to meet everyone face to face, and to live in New York, I feel that I learned just as much working remotely as I could have.
Most of my time was spent transcribing, whether it was news clips, videos from social media, or pieces from other late-night shows. Every morning we would start by watching the previous night’s batch of shows (The Late Show, The Daily Show, etc.) and we would write down any jokes regarding politics, current events, or anything that Full Frontal might do a piece on to avoid overlap. Then the writers would send our supervisors any videos they wanted written out, and we would transcribe them. This was so interesting because we were able to see the behind the scenes process of getting a piece on the air, and were able to track what the writers were working on based on the kind of clips we were transcribing. For example, I once spent a whole day watching only interviews with Hillary Clinton. Though it may seem like busy work, this process gave me great insight into just how much media one has to consume and be aware of in order to work in political satire.
In addition to transcribing and our odd intern-y task (organizing the Google Drive, for instance), we worked on a long-term project in which we each pitched a segment for the show to our supervisors, who then offered great feedback. They sent us the templates that they use for pitches, and we were able to see the difference between field sketches, in-studio talk pieces, interviews, man-on-the-street pieces—basically everything that the show has to offer. We went through several rounds of this: submitting our pitch, receiving feedback, and then working on it again until it was just right. It really gave me confidence in my ability to write a solid pitch, which will be very helpful when looking for a job, post-grad.
I would like to give my sincere thanks to Sam Bee and Full Frontal, as well as to the generous alumni who make ASIP possible, and the ’68 Center for guiding us through this process. In a year as difficult as this one, it is amazing to know that we have a support system at Williams and beyond.