The power of social media is both a gift and a curse as far as Samantha Bee and Lena Dunham are concerned.
Dunham interviewed Bee for a feature in The Hollywood Reporter and you can bet the two Donald Trump detractors talked politics. The “Full Frontal” host reflected on the overwhelming attention she received the night of the U.S. presidential election. “I really felt a geyser of hatred was the day after the election — actually, the night of the election,” Bee explained. “I checked my Twitter mentions, and it was one of the last times I’ve checked it. I just went off. I just went dark.”
“The minute that the election happened, I gave my password to someone and said, ‘If I’m on the floor, begging you like a heroin addict for my passwords, do not give them back to me.'”
Bee explained how “my assistant took my phone from me, and she changed my passwords on me, which I really appreciate because it was unbelievable. It was a torrent of hatred.”
Getting away from social media is about more than getting away from Twitter trolls. Bee told Dunham about the freedom she experienced, ironically, at Rikers Island Jail. “I went to Rikers a couple of weeks ago to shoot something that I think will be really good,” she dished. “You’re not allowed to take your phone in because you can’t take glass or anything like that. So they took my phone, and they put it in a lockbox for eight hours.”
So how did it feel to be without a phone in a prison complex? “I felt like I had gone on a Caribbean vacation. I emerged from Rikers, and everyone was like, ‘Your skin is shining.’ And it was because I’ve never been more relaxed. I felt so free just knowing that my phone was safe, but I wasn’t allowed to see it or know what was happening in the world.”
“So Rikers became the most relaxing place you’ve been in months?” the “Girls” creator quipped. “It was the most free I’ve felt in months,” Bee replied.
Bee is only days away from hosting her Not The White House Correspondents Dinner opposite Trump’s White House Correspondents Dinner. So how did it all come to be? “Well, really, right after the election, we were broken,” the “Full Frontal” host said. “It was very emotional, especially at the beginning. And we kept coming back to this conversation of, ‘Okay, how are we going to do this show going forward?'”
“‘We’re so unhappy. We’re just really unhappy, and we have to make a comedy show,'” she recalled saying. “‘So what are the things that we can do? Where can we find the joy that will infuse this show with life? It can’t all come from a place of sadness. We have to enjoy this job, otherwise, why are we doing it?’ So we were sitting around in my office… Our minds wandered to the [White House Correspondents’] Dinner.”
“And we were like, ‘I wonder if it’s even going to happen. Would [Trump] even show up for it? He’s marginalizing people. He’s going to abolish the White House press corps, perhaps. Who even knows?'”
Finally they reached a decision. “We were like, ‘I don’t think the dinner’s going to happen. Why don’t we have a dinner just to make sure something happens on the night?'”