The untold truth of Samantha Bee

After earning the title of "Most Senior Correspondent" on The Daily Show with an impressive record 12-year run, Samantha Bee has broken out on her own in a big way.

Full Frontal with Samantha Bee first graced our televisions in February 2016, and has since become one of the most celebrated satirical vehicles in late-night television — proven by the show's huge boost in ratings in 2017 and win for Outstanding Achievement in News and Information at the 2016 TCA Awards. As host, Bee's unapologetically intersectional feminist politics are on full display through sociopolitical commentary that is as biting and clever as it is hilarious and sarcastic.

But what do you really know about Samantha Bee? Let's find out!

She was raised by her Catholic grandmother

Soon after Samantha Bee was born, in Toronto, Canada, her high-school-sweetheart parents split up, leaving her to be raised by her very conservative grandmother. According to Rolling Stone, she worked as a secretary at the Catholic school Bee would later attend. 

"It wasn't a tragic upbringing," Bee told Working Mother in 2010, "[but] there were fairly common perplexing family issues going on … I was an angst-y kid. But one constant is that there was never a time when I didn't feel totally loved … And I knew everyone was doing the best job they could even when it wasn't that great. It's kind of what we're all doing—the best that we can."

But at only 8 years old, Bee was forced to make a terrible, court-mandated decision: choose between living with her mother or father. "What I really wanted to do was continue living with my grandmother," she confessed. And while she eventually decided to go with her mom, the late-night host said she "still spent a lot of time" with her grandmother. "I still slept at her house several times a week, so I was basically kind of still being raised by her."

This special bond with her grandmother led Bee to write about her at length in her 2010 book, I Know I Am, But What Are You?.

She was a rebellious teenager with Catholic guilt

Bee was kind of a nightmare as a teenager. As she told The Toronto Star in 2009, "I lived in a tremendous amount of chaos. I was anarchic, verbally snarky, just plain awful."

Her attitude shifted after her 16th birthday, when her "horrible" behavior caused her family to ditch her and go out for dinner. "I got tired of disappointing people," she explained. "You walk around with stomach cramps all the time."

In 2016, the comedian revealed to Rolling Stone that shortly after this epiphany, her sophomore-self was on the verge of failing her exams. Bee's "criminal boyfriend" at the time had "turned [her] into maybe a bit of a sociopath," she revealed, causing her to cut the "maximum amount of school that [she] could skip and still pull good grades." As she clarified, "I am still a Catholic schoolgirl, and I like my gold star."

One night, she took drastic measures. "I asked my boyfriend…to break my writing hand," she confessed. After some prompting by the future comedian, he smashed her hand with "a boulder." "And honest to God," Bee said. "I was like, 'Thank you. OK. Done.' I didn't cry. I was so calculated about it." Luckily, it wasn't actually broken, but rather badly sprained enough for the insane plan to work: Bee got out of taking her finals and didn't lose her high GPA.

The satirist thankfully dumped said boyfriend soon after, and "became a much more responsible person."

She wanted to become a lawyer

Before she fell into show business, Bee was set on the ambitious goal of becoming a lawyer; but one acting class during her junior year at the University of Ottawa completely erased this career trajectory.

As the Toronto native explained to Marie Claire in 2016, the class was taken "as a complete lark" as she thought it would be an easy A. But when she was cast as the "Singing Bar Wench" in Brecht's Schweik in the Second World War, everything became clear. "I loved it," she gushed to Rolling Stone. "I loved it so much. I just came alive. It changed my entire life."

And so naturally, Bee decided "not to go to law school and instead go into the wonderful, lucrative world of acting," according to New York magazine Hey, this risk certainly worked out well for her!

But after college, the actress found herself struggling to land parts, which is how she got into comedy. Cue The Atomic Fireballs, an epic four-women sketch comedy group Bee formed in the mid-90s, in which she thrived as a comedic actress and found confidence in her performance. "It was very life defining," she told New York.

She didn't like her husband when she first met him

After college, Bee immersed herself in Toronto's theatre and comedy scenes. But one children's theatre job changed her life forever.

In 1996, Bee was cast in her first steady acting gig — a live-action traveling stage adaptation of Sailor Moon. She and her future husband and fellow Daily Show correspondent Jason Jones appeared in opposite alternating casts — Bee in the "A" cast and Jones in the "B".

The two married in 2001. However, as Bee revealed to The Toronto Star, "It was not love at first sight. In fact, I thought he was a bit of a cad. Well, he certainly looked like one." 

The late-night host told Cracked in 2007 that they began dating about a year or two after they met. "People that work in children's theater are bitter, and we were no exception to that," she explained. "That's what brought us together, really. Once you discover that the people you're working with hate the show as much as you do, everybody relaxes. It was just a dreadful, dreadful show. And the children didn't even like it, so we weren't alone. But we felt like we were alone."

But as Bee disappointingly alleged to Rolling Stone, "There is no photographic evidence, and if there were, I would not provide it readily."

Her pre-Daily Show gig was completely normal

In 2003, Bee was still performing with The Atomic Fireballs and taking on various acting gigs, but her bread and butter came from her day job in the printing department of an ad agency.

As she expressed in The Daily Show (The Book), "I felt I needed to have a more structured life, and I was leaving show business." But then her agent called and told her something called The Daily Show — Bee and Jones' favorite show — was auditioning for women.

It would serve as her last Hail Mary pass in show biz. "I trained for the audition like I was training for an Olympic event. Started eating salmon every day. I'm not kidding. I exercised, went for runs. Learned the scripts they sent backward and forward," she revealed. "After the audition I felt I'd left it on the floor, I did what I intended to do. Now I'll retire from acting and pursue something else. This was a really nice end point to my career."

While sitting at her desk a few weeks later, she got the call that she had been hired. As Bee explained to Rolling Stone, she hung up the phone, went into the bathroom, and cried in a stall, before walking straight into her boss's office to say, "I quit, effective this moment." And he treated her to a congratulatory martini.

She was not considered to replace Jon Stewart

After Jon Stewart announced in February 2015 that he was leaving The Daily Show, many naturally assumed Bee would take over. And although Trevor Noah ultimately became Stewart's successor, one would think that after a 12-year run on the show, there would have been at least some interest from Comedy Central.

Sadly, that never happened. For her part, Bee told Katie Couric in 2016, she felt "very zen" about not being offered the hosting gig. She also admitted to Rolling Stone, "It was really flattering that people were talking about me in that way, but it didn't seem like a reality to me, to be perfectly honest." 

However, Jones was much more blunt about the snub. He told the New York Times in 2016, "The fact that she wasn't approached was a little shocking, to say the least. But I think she is much happier where she ended up." And Bee agreed, adding that her current gig "is a much better experience and a much better fit."

In a crazy coincidence, Full Frontal and The Detour, an outrageously subversive, family-centric comedy co-created with and starring Jones, were actually greenlit by TBS the very same week Stewart announced his retirement. "Within a very small space of time, everything changed and then the direction was clear," Bee told the LA Times in 2016. Everything certainly seems to have worked out for the best!

It's tough to impress her kids

If you ask their three kids — Piper, 11, Fletcher, 8, and Ripley, 6  — Jones is way funnier and cooler than Bee.

The 47-year-old mom recently told People, "They don't watch my show. I think it keeps the natural order of parent and child intact. It's important for them not to think that what I do is cool or interesting in any way. They should always think I'm a nerd and awkward and just their mom." Even seeing their mom on billboards around the New York City doesn't do it for them. "They don't care!" she exclaimed. 

And while they may not be impressed with mom, they seem to think Jones is a pretty awesome dad. "They think he is really cool," she said. "Because he's more sporty than I am. I'm physically incapable of doing anything, and so they look at his ice skating skills and think he's incredible."

As the Full Frontal host told Working Mother, "Work allows you to have away time, adult time, which can be energizing creatively. It can be interesting for your children to see you out in the world. Ultimately you have this great unit you have to come back to." Bee continued, "I feel it's the best of both worlds — getting to be very creative and getting to be the matriarch of this family unit. Being the mother is my favorite part. It's a unique privilege to get to do both." 

Aw! Best parental team ever.