As the most senior correspondent on Comedy Central’s Daily Show with Jon Stewart, which has won 18 Emmys, Samantha Bee scours the globe for hypocrisies to satire. No matter her target—from a clueless interviewee to the state of feminism—the sharp-tongued comedienne shoots from the hip.
And about that hip: Usually clinging to it off camera is at least one of three kids ages six and under, whom Bee and costar-husband Jason Jones wrangle between Daily Show tapings. The power mom and author (I Know I Am, But What Are You?) also blogs for Babble.com, where she often muses about the twists of traveling with preschoolers in tow.
Here’s some insight into that brilliant brain of hers when it comes to travel:
Traveler: What do you love about traveling with kids?
Samantha Bee: Their unbridled joy when they first enter a hotel room reminds me of myself. It doesn’t have to be nice, just new. They run around as if they’ve just been let out of toddler prison.
T: How important is a sense of humor on the road?
SB: The act of traveling itself—just getting to a destination—can be so fraught with frustrations; I seek all opportunities to sniff out the humor. Our third baby turned out to be an airplane screamer. Nothing excites her more than the sound of an airplane engine and the challenge of out-screaming it. Everyone on the plane may be annoyed, but no one can deny that her tenacity is impressive.
T: Does your wit ever get in the way while visiting a new place?
SB: I try to approach all people and experiences with an open heart and mind. I make jokes for a living, but that doesn’t mean I take people for granted. Why bother traveling if you’re not going to go all-in? For that matter, why bother leaving the house?
T: What’s your funniest travel story?
SB: In Hawaii I had such terrible morning sickness, all I could do was lie in our room with the curtains drawn. In every photo I am sweaty and pale. That’s not really funny, but it made me never want to go back. Sorry, Hawaii. You have beautiful turtles.
T: Did any place change you?
SB: Cuba. When my husband and I traveled there in 1997, much of it was nearly inaccessible. The people were incomparably warm but also puzzled by our desire to do things no sane Cuban would consider to be leisure activities. Every time we mentioned our plan to hike across the Sierra Maestra, people would slowly back away as if we were deranged.
T: Where are you dying to go?
SB: Vietnam. I plan to eat my way across the country and then back again. I should probably go by myself, because it’s going to get weird.
This Q&A was conducted by Associate Editor Katie Knorovsky, and appeared in the February/March 2013 edition of National Geographic Traveler.