Comedian Samantha Bee Makes A Parenting Meal Of 'Eating Over The Sink'

Oct 3, 2011
Originally published on October 4, 2011 11:09 am

A discussion on today's All Things Considered between host Guy Raz and comedian Samantha Bee begins with his noting that she has reduced parenting to the words "vomit" and "urine."

Samantha Bee is first and foremost a mother of three kids five years old and under, but you may know her best as a correspondent on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. Now, she and friend Allana Harkin are running a blog at called Eating Over The Sink, all about the ups and downs of raising kids. It's not your typical parenting advice blog.

Bee is not looking for parenting disciples. "If you took anything away from this blog in terms of parenting techniques," she says, "I really don't know what to tell you. It is not intended for that purpose." Married to Daily Show correspondent Jason Jones, Bee uses the blog to talk less about how to parent than about what parenting is like for her. She reads from a recent blog post about sitting on a long flight next to a businessman who wasn't too pleased to be seated next to kids. "If he had quills, he would have shot them at me," she notes.

Samantha Bee may not be dispensing parenting advice, but she admits to some similarities between herself and the much-publicized idea of the "tiger mother." She's sort of a tiger, she says, "but more the weary tiger. The one you see on the nature specials who's just laying on her side in the sun and her cubs are running rampant all over her, pulling on her ears and chewing on her toenails."

As life-changing as she clearly has found parenthood to be (or at least flight-changing), Bee says it hasn't changed her approach to comedy. "It hasn't changed my sense of humor at all," she says. What stands out are the things that seem funny, sometimes in retrospect. She recalls that she and Jones, as new parents under the influence of "mountains of books," believed they had to keep their house very warm, "or the baby would die." How hot did they make it? "Eighty-six or 87," she remembers, "so that the baby never had to wear clothing. I mean, none of us did. We couldn't wear clothing." Perhaps you'd expect the family to clue them in, but Bee says the grandmothers braved the heat with "Bjorn Borg sweatbands."

Ultimately, Bee expresses some fondness for the looser parenting of the 1970s when, she says, "we just put our babies in cages and smoked over them. Kind of like The Ice Storm with babies."

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GUY RAZ, Host:

Samantha Bee has distilled parenting into two words - bear with me - vomit and urine. She's a mother of three kids under 5, but you may know her best as a correspondent on "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart."


JON STEWART: He's crying. Sam, your boy is crying.

SAMANTHA BEE: I know, Jon.

STEWART: He's crying.

BEE: I know. He gets very upset when his mommy gets interrupted.

STEWART: No. That's not it.

BEE: Yes. He'll be fine, he'll be fine. We're heading over to Fox and Hounds later for a couple of G

STEWART: What? You're - and now, you're taking him drinking?

BEE: Jon, it's Take Your Child To Work Day.

STEWART: All right.

BEE: What?

STEWART: Thank you. Samantha Bee, everyone...

RAZ: Now, she and a friend, Allana Harkin, run a blog over at It's called "Eating Over the Sink." And it's sort of about parenting, but don't expect much parenting advice. Samantha Bee joins me now from our studios in New York. Welcome to the program.

BEE: Thank you so much for having me. I am thrilled to be here.

RAZ: Likewise.


BEE: Thank you.

RAZ: It's fair to say this is not a parenting advice column. This is not something you would find in Parenting magazine.

BEE: Oh, my goodness. If you took...


BEE: If you took anything away from this blog in terms of parenting techniques, I really don't know what to tell you. It is not intended for that purpose.

RAZ: You and your husband, Jason Jones, who's...

BEE: Yes.

RAZ: ...also, of course, on "The Daily Show," you have...

BEE: Yes.

RAZ: ...three children all under the age of 5, right?

BEE: Well, we actually do have one 5-year-old now. She has actually reached the age of 5. So we have three 5 and under. That's what we say.

RAZ: That's a handful.

BEE: It is a handful. I did a travel day yesterday, 12 hours, with the baby.

RAZ: You actually had a blog post a couple days ago about a trip you took with her.

BEE: Yes.

RAZ: And you sat next to a businessman who was clearly annoyed when he found...

BEE: He was so annoyed.

RAZ: ...out he was sitting next to a woman with a baby, yeah.

BEE: Honestly, if he had quills, he would have shot them at me.


BEE: He could not to have been more porcupine-y.

RAZ: Would you mind reading a bit from that blog post?

BEE: (Reading) What makes you think you're such a great seatmate? Is it how you took your shoes off to aerate your sweaty businessman feet, or how you passed gas like, 50 times but still acted like it was a big deal when a cheese cracker accidentally got flicked on you?

RAZ: Uh...


BEE: I was really mad.


RAZ: But that happens. I've traveled with my kids, and every time you sit down, there's somebody who sighs. But, you know, I've got a great trick, actually. I want to give you a piece...

BEE: Oh.

RAZ: ...this is something you can...

BEE: Hit me with it.

RAZ: ...this is good advice you can put in your column.

BEE: OK. Love it.

RAZ: I travel - I used to cover the Pentagon, and every time you get on a military plane, somebody gives you earplugs. I always travel with earplugs. And the first thing I do is, I offer it to the people sitting around me.

BEE: Oh, my gosh...

RAZ: And it should be...

BEE: How terrifying for them. They must think, oh, no, it's - nobody has ever done this before.

RAZ: And it defuses the whole thing, and nobody has ever accepted the earplugs from me...

BEE: Oh...

RAZ: ...or complained...

BEE: ...I love it.

RAZ: ...when my kids my cry.

BEE: Wow. That's...

RAZ: Yeah.

BEE: ...that's really good. What you did was, you lowered their expectations for how the flight was going to go.

RAZ: Yeah. Tell me about your approach to parenting.

BEE: I like to say that if I was a parenting animal, I'm kind of a like a tiger mother but the weary tiger, the one that you see in the nature specials who's just laying on her side in the sun...

RAZ: Or at the zoo.

BEE: ...and her cubs are just running rampant all over her just like, pulling on their ears and chewing on her toenails.


BEE: Well, none of my children do that. That's odd. But just that feeling of fatigue - and fine, just do it; just have your way.

RAZ: Do you think having kids changes the way you approach comedy?

BEE: No. I mean, from a personal standpoint, it hasn't changed my sense of humor at all, but it does also give me something great to write about...


BEE: ...which I love doing because it's such a nice, soft place for us to fall. And there's just so much humor that occurs along the way. I was walking down the street with Jason today, and I was remembering that when we had our first child, we thought that you had to keep your house so hot or the baby would die.


BEE: So they were literally - my stepmom had to wear Bjorn Borg - like sweatbands around her face and wrists because sweat was pouring off of her when she would come to visit. All she wanted to do was visit the baby. I really could have put the baby in a sweater. That was a lesson that I learned. You know, these things are so ridiculous. I can't be the only person who did that.

RAZ: You describe yourself as a child of the '70s, right?

BEE: Oh, yes.

RAZ: So - and so you kind of - that kind of informs the way you approach what you do now because you think, as you've written, that that was a more relaxed kind of way of raising kids.

BEE: It was a more relaxed time. I mean, I feel like in the '70s, we just put our babies in cages and smoked over them.


BEE: You know what I mean? It was kind of like "The Ice Storm" with babies - which is not great. But there is - you know, we could infuse our modern lives with just a touch more belief in the process. Billions of people have done this before us, quite successfully. I think we can relax a little bit.

RAZ: That's Samantha Bee. She's a correspondent on "The Daily Show," and one of the authors of the parenting blog "Eating Over the Sink." You can find it at And you can follow Samantha on Twitter, @iamsambee. Samantha Bee, thank you so much.

BEE: Thank you so much for having me. This was great. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.