Jo Miller Q&A: ‘Full Frontal with Samantha Bee’ producer
After Donald Trump was elected but before the inauguration took place, Jo Miller and her fellow writers at “Full Frontal with Samantha Bee,” found themselves very concerned with the attitudes that the incoming administration was displaying towards the press. In our interview (watch the exclusive video above), she reveals, “We were feeling defensive of the press and their role in a free society.” This motivation was the launching point for what would become the “Not the White House Correspondents’ Dinner” that took place back in May. Miller does add there was another factor in developing the special: “One of the things we lost with Hillary not becoming president was Sam’s chance to host the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, which we just assumed because of the sisterhood she would call us on our secret red woman phone and offer it to us.”
“Full Frontal” has made a big splash at this year’s Emmy Awards. After only getting nominated for Best Variety Series Writing last year, the program is now nominated for seven trophies this year for both the regular show and their special dinner special. The regular program earned noms for Best Variety Talk Series and Variety Series Writing and the special earned nods for Best Variety Special, Variety Special Writing and Variety Special Directing, giving Miller four individual nominations this year.
Miller first became involved with the show after Samantha Bee had the finalized offer from TBS, and then Bee offered Miller the position of head writer and executive producer. She says, “We had always wanted to do the show we wanted to do. Our voice, a feminist voice, and to just be handed that by TBS and given the freedom to do it was just a huge Christmas present.” While everything has gone well for the show, Miller was very nervous about assuming these responsibilities early on, thinking to herself, “How am I going to not betray the confidence that she has wrongly put in me?”
Prior to her current gig on “Full Frontal,” Miller was a writer on “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart,” where she won three Emmys for Best Variety Series Writing (2011, 2012 and 2015). Some of her favorite pieces that she worked on there were the World of Class Warfare segments, a piece on the National Rifle Association blocking anti-poaching regulations and performance bits making fun of Glenn Beck. The latter ones have become quite ironic now that Miller has personally interacted with Beck for a piece Bee did with the conservative commentator and finding some surprising common ground: “I spent a day in Texas bonding with Glenn Beck over our shared hatred of Woodrow Wilson because of how racist he was!”