Samantha Bee, the host of TBS’s Full Frontal with Samantha Bee, has always tried to find new ways to communicate with the public and that includes her latest mobile app, “Full Frontal’$ Totally Unrigged Primary” app, which will be released later this fall, possibly before Halloween.
Bee, Full Frontal‘s Emmy-nominated segment director Razan Ghalayini, and Adam Werbach, the product manager for “Full Frontal’$ Totally Unrigged Primary” app, talked about the new app and the show at a press roundtable before the Full Frontal panel on Saturday, October 5th, at New York Comic-Con.
This is the second mobile app developed for the Full Frontal team, the first being “This Is Not a Game: The Game,” which tested players on current events and political history, providing a small cash prize if a player made it through ten questions. That game had an ironic sense of humor and was great to play, save for the fact that I, you know, kept losing. To win, you really had to be up to date on your political knowledge.
There have been some significant changes with “Totally Unrigged Primary.” The first is that you don’t have to play the game at a designated time. The second is that instead of playing for money for yourself, you play for $250,000 for the Democratic candidate of your choice. The more you win, the better the chance your candidate has to get the money. The third is some new elements. To quote from the press release:
Full Frontal’$ Totally Unrigged Primary is the only comedy-based, election-related game that will give one 2020 democratic candidate fat stacks of cash! Players will join their favorite candidate’s team, complete fun and funny challenges to earn them points, and the candidate with the most points at the end of the game gets all of the donations in our PAC-controlled fund, Sam Bee’s Political Swear Jar! Even if that candidate is Joe Biden. Even then.
“There’s trivia, and dumb slider questions, and you can donate to Samantha Bee’s political swear jar,” Ghalayini said. “When you play along, it doesn’t feel like learning.” The game is also designed to be reactive to the news cycles and stay up to date.
“With a daily dose of playing, you can learn a lot about the candidates,” Werbach said. Bee chimed in with the fact that she just might be singing on the app, too.
“Civic engagement is a bit of a problem here,” Bee said with a touch of irony, pointing to the low voter turnout rate. “This is a game that takes a very little time to learn a lot.”
Bee said that the driving force behind the game was to do something different and fun for her team.
“Our last game was a fun experiment for the show, and it’s part of our feeding the joy of our staff for the show,” Bee said, noting that the current political climate isn’t friendly to her inclusive writer’s room.
Developing the app increased that inclusiveness, Ghilayini said. “Our engineers for the game are all over the world so it was a great way to further diversify our staff.”
Full Frontal and Bee have an obvious, liberal bent. President Trump even infamously tweeted calling for Bee to be fired.
“I feel like Full Frontal is a historical record showing we’re not all crazy here in America,” Bee noted.
Asked if she worried that Republicans might try to sway the results, Bee said that wasn’t a concern because anyone can play but the money has to go to a Democratic candidate. (Even if that’s Biden. Or Marianne Williamson, she joked.) I also suspect it’s less a problem because any Republicans seeking to sway the results would have to play the game and that game is full of information about current events and candidates, so anyone playing will learn factual details about the election and the candidates.
As for who Bee would like to see as the Democratic nominee, Bee said her favorite isn’t even on the ballot.
“I love Stacy Abrams, but she’s not running.”