Samantha Bee's First 'Daily Show' Clip Is Flawless

by Michael Arbeiter

We mourn deeply and often for The Daily Show these days. It was more than enough of a blow when we heard that Jon Stewart would be giving up his seat at the head of his perennial 11 o’clock broadcast. It was disappointing to learn that correspondent Jessica Williams wouldn’t be taking over hosting duties once the head honcho had vacated the premises. And now, our hearts break once more to find out that, Samantha Bee, an audience favorite since her 2003 debut, will also be leaving The Daily Show very soon. 2003 may have been 12 years ago now, but, hearing this news, it feels like just yesterday Samantha Bee's first Daily Show clip hit the airwaves — and now she's leaving. Who else was just hit with a major wave of sadness?

Bee has been a staple of The Daily Show for almost 12 years, longer than any other correspondent in the series’ history. (She beats Stephen Colbert by 4 years and John Oliver by 7 — in fact, the second longest-running correspondence is assigned to her husband Jason Jones, who will hit the decade mark in September.) In that time, the viciously sharp Bee has made a name for herself putting a number of opponents in their places: Bill O’Reilly, the pornographic industry, Long Island bros, and even robots.

And while she has clearly spent the past dozen years honing and perfecting her satirical edge, Bee was a winner right out the gate.

Joining the show during the July 10, 2003 episode “Carson Daly” — right in the heat of the Bush presidency and the controversial debate about Iraq’s possession of Weapons of Mass Destruction — Bee made her debut with the sort of acerbic, perfectly timed routine that’d predict the many years of comic brilliance yet to come: Following an inceptive joke about the lapsed viewership of MSNBC, Bee spoke on behalf of the White House, batting wits with Stewart as he clawed for a rational assessment of the true state of affairs involved Saddam Hussein. Playing it brutally straight all the way through, Bee maintained her devotion to pugnacious ignorance... in the way only the best of the Daily Show correspondents can do.

Looking at this early showcase of Bee's comic timing, we're reminded of just how important a fixture she has been over the years. When we remember the "kingpin" correspondents of The Daily Show, we'll always remember Bee's along with Colbert, Oliver, Ed Helms, and Rob Corddry. While her future prospects are nonetheless exciting, we can't help but mourn the loss of, after Stewart, The Daily Show's final key player.

Images: Comedy Central (2)