Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Sam Bee and some fed-up famous friends just scream the f-word at lawmakers over gun control

Samantha Bee
Samantha Bee
Screenshot: Full Frontal

Look, something has to work, right? As America endures a first quarter of 2021 featuring more than one mass shooting per day (and yes, you read that right), gun control advocates and people who just plain don’t want to have to have a gun-death funeral black outfit pressed at all times can start to feel a little numb to all this needless, uniquely American horror. Just ask Samantha Bee, who started off a bucolic outdoor Full Frontal segment during an episode focused entirely on this daily bloody bullet-storm by confessing, “Every week, I host a comedy show about the most depressing topics in the universe. So you’d think I’d be used to the constant tragedy that makes up the fabric of this hellscape of a country.” Unfortunately, as the host notes ruefully, she’s “still a person,” meaning that spending each day ducking either the news of another senseless mass shooting or the potential hail of actual gunfire from another senseless mass shooting has Bee a little down. Or, as she put it more accurately, “I am disgusted, and hurt, and pissed off.”

But what to do? Even standing in the bright, deceptively hopeful sunshine of a pandemic-dodging remote segment Spring and screaming yourself hoarse over America’s culture of inadequate (overwhelmingly) men who think that packing heat and murdering people is the way to deal with life’s problems can’t provide much relief. And while Bee admitted that anyone talking about the 2022 midterms at this point is in danger of some serious eye-rolling from an election-beleaguered viewing public, it’s pretty goddamned clear that the clock is ticking on a Democratic House and Senate to actually get something done. You know, since, American politics being what it is, “our next president might be a Teddy Ruxpin that’s been programmed to just say the ‘n-word.’” (Look, there’s been a very recent GOP precedent set.)

Well, as Bee said before throwing to a montage of similarly fed up famous friends, there’s something to be said for just joining together and screaming the f-word. As in the phrase, “Do one fucking thing about guns.” That’s what (in various, make-it-your-own iterations) the likes of W. Kamau Bell, Tegan and Sara, Rhea Butcher, Tiya Sircar, Margaret Cho, Ilana Glazer, Regina King, Aparna Nancherla, Rebecca Black, and more expressed from their own, remote, scream-into-a-webcam isolation. Deaf actor and activist Nyle DiMarco signed it in ASL. Lawmakers Ilhan Omar and Lucy McBath (who lost her son to gun violence) pleaded, with Omar unabashedly getting in on the exasperated cursing. Bellamy Young chanted along with her cat. Josh Groban sang it, while a split-screen Tenacious D spoke their piece in strident synch. And former Representative Gaby Giffords, infamously shot in the head by an inadequate man with a gun back in 2011, brought some gravitas viewers could feel through the screen.

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What does it all accomplish? Nothing. Maybe a little catharsis. The piece’s YouTube comments are already filled with a raft of irately scoffing white dudes (just guessing) mocking a mixed bag of celebrity types for daring to go on record as saying that America’s gun culture is fucking nuts, promising that nobody’s going to take their guns (unless, as the saying seems to indicate, they themselves are shot to death, which sort of proves the point). Bee joked about spending “a fortune on Cameo” to gather all these busy people together, but at least she’s not going spectacularly bankrupt like a certain, Russian-infiltrated, politician-purchasing gun-fetishist organization one could mention. If anyone is interested in doing more about the epidemic ravaging our country (no, not that one), then check out the good people at Everytown For Gun Safety for some slightly more polite pointers. You can still scream “fuck” while you do it.

Contributor, The A.V. Club. Danny Peary's Cult Movies books are mostly to blame.