After an opening spent revealing the bigoted depths of gag-inducing “racist asshole” and White House “political smallpox blanket” and “enterprising slime mold on the Wonder Bread of democracy,” Stephen Miller, Samantha Bee took up the latter half of Wednesday’s Full Frontal attempting to do some good around the world. Or rather, she sent her poor, overworked staff to do it, as Full Frontal correspondents Ashley Nicole Black, Allana Harkin, Michael Rubens, and Amy Hoggart set out on an international apology tour on behalf of the United States. And by that, Bee meant, naturally, a tour apologizing for all the racist, xenophobic, cruel, and otherwise pig-ignorant statements spewing out of Donald Trump’s—to use presidential language—shithole.
Of course, the correspondents are only four harried, well-intentioned people, so Bee—styling the two-part bit as a parody of The Amazing Race called The Apology Race—narrowed the range down to just the hateful nonsense Trump barfed up between the dates of January 10-24 of this year. So, that only left, by her final tally, some 60-plus countries, groups, and individuals who were owed an apology from Bee’s beleaguered designated apologizers. That the quartet could only get to 11 of their intended apology targets in the end was presented not as a condemnation of the quartet’s efforts (and TBS’ travel budget) as much as it was an indictment (get used to that word) of Donald Trump’s bigoted verbal diarrhea.
The bit saw Black, Harkin, Rubens, and Hoggart enacting mea culpas to nice folks on the streets of places as far-flung as Haiti (the whole “AIDS” and “shithole” thing), New York City (a meeting of anxious DACA recipients), Washington D.C. (where Black apologized to Rep. Adam Schiff about Trump calling the Trump-Russia investigation a “witch hunt”), Atlanta (golfing on MLK Day), Indianapolis (where layoffs at the Carrier plant reveal Trump’s job creation photo-op as the bullshit PR stunt it was), and Mexico (too many to count at this point).
As the two-part segment went on, the jokey tone darkened, especially when Harkin interviewed a couple facing deportation back to El Salvador, while, they said, their American-born daughters will, out of safety, remain in the only home they’ve ever known. Harkin—in a parody of the reality show confessional—indeed confessed that that family’s story should comprise a whole segment, while, in the slur-strewn whirlwind farting out of Donald Trump’s mouth, it barely rates as “a blip.” At the conclusion of the bit, the four stumbled back into the Full Frontal studio, supposedly right from the road, only to find that they’d barely scratched the surface of Donald Trump’s motor-mouthed idiocy. Asked how it could be possible for them to cover so much ground, Bee replied to her demoralized underlings, “It’s not! Welcome to hell, motherfuckers,” earning her at least one angry middle finger from Hoggart. Sounds like someone’s owed an apology.