Miles Kahn Q&A: ‘Full Frontal with Samantha Bee’ producer
Miles Kahn describes one of the biggest hurdles in putting on “Not the White House Correspondents’ Dinner” was trying to make sure the material was accessible to those who were not as familiar with their program. In our recent webchat (watch the exclusive video above), he says, “We wanted to make sure that people in the actual audience itself were entertained but that the jokes would be wide enough for what might be a larger audience than our normal show.” The way things played out was truly shocking to Kahn: “It’s like high school theater where nothing works until the curtain goes up and everything worked as planned. The real challenge was matching the expectations of the audience. They were crushing us with enthusiasm and support, and we had to be as big as they are.”
Kahn serves as an executive producer and writer on “Full Frontal with Samantha Bee.” Since the program debuted on TBS in February of last year, the show has become a must-see for comedic political commentary. Samantha Bee‘s show scored an Emmy nomination last year for Best Variety Series Writing and also won honors from the TCA Awards (Best Achievement in News and Information) and the readers at Gold Derby (Best Variety Performer).
Prior to working on “Full Frontal,” Kahn served 10 years as a field producer for “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart,” helping to put together pieces that the correspondents did on location. Kahn describes getting that job through his days in reality television: “I did a lot of terrible reality TV early in my directing days and I eventually worked with some really good people and I’d always had my eye on that job.” He was able to make connections with the right people and got the job in 2006 and would stay there for a decade.
Kahn has recorded some unbelievable experiences as a field producer for “The Daily Show,” exclaiming, “I’ve shot some crazy things with Jason Jones. I’ve seen him naked too many times to count.” He recounts one of his favorite pieces about a toxic lake in Butte, Montana that had been turned into a tourist attraction but was being researched for potential links to curing cancer. “For a gag, I dressed as Jason’s grandma with wig and a gown in a wheelchair. Jason wheeled me down an embankment into a different river and I went flying and belly-flopped into the river!”
“Full Frontal” was put in a difficult position last year after the election as they had a show to do the very next day and the material that had already been written was not in line with what happened. To start, the feeling in the writers’ room “was like a dementor from ‘Harry Potter’ sucking the life out of us.” Kahn goes on to say that “Everything had to change on a dime, so we didn’t have time to stew or be depressed or figure out what it all meant. We had to basically stay up all night and re-write the entire show from top to bottom, including our field piece.”