Don’t Ever Call Chelsea Handler Just A “Female” Talk Show Host

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No one puts baby in a corner, and no one should ever put Chelsea Handler in parentheses as an after thought when talking about the landscape of late night talk show hosts.

One person who did unfortunately piss off the funny woman by doing that, was New York Times writer Bill Carter. His article was all about Jimmy Fallon’s new Tonight Show host position and how he would fare against the rest of the late night gang. While there’s a good chance he didn’t mean to shove aside Chelsea being the only female late night talk show host into an almost-after thought in parentheses, it is indicative of a greater problem, that someone as accomplished as her has to be pointed out because of her gender, rather than acknowledged as a heavy hitter like the rest. Regardless of sex.

Nevertheless, Chelsea not being one to just let sleeping dogs lie decided she would write a piece of her on the Huffington Post website, not just as a direct rebuttal to Bill Carter but to explain to other buffoons like him why they should not be categorizing women’s achievements away from the men.

Her opening paragraph should be enough to shut down any of the gender-related talks, but she had some great points throughout.

“For the past six-and-a-half years I’ve had a job hosting Chelsea Lately on the E! network. I am always asked what it’s like to be the only female in a so-called “boys club.” Until now, I have dismissed the assumption that my experience in late night TV is somehow different or exceptional because of my gender. To me, it’s never been about being a woman in a man’s world; it’s been about delivering a consistently funny and entertaining show each night.”

Here’s the sentence from Bill Carter’s piece:

“Even with potent competition for younger viewers all over cable, from the likes of Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert on Comedy Central and Mr. O’Brien on TBS, the host NBC is clearly most concerned about is Mr. Kimmel, who is 46. (The only female host in late-night is Chelsea Handler, 38, on E!)”

To which Chelsea had this comeback:

“Depending upon whose research you look at, I share the distinction of having the youngest average viewership with Colbert, The Daily Show and Conan. So from a purely statistical standpoint how, in this paragraph, could I only be mentioned as an aside? Was it because I’m a woman?”

“I feel over the years, several media outlets have marginalized my presence in the late-night game. I imagined my sustained on-air presence would eventually triumph over any possible gender biases.”

“Yet it would be a disservice to all of the hard working women in entertainment, including Joan Rivers, who was the first woman to have her own late night show. Not to mention how this minimizes the efforts of the 100+ staff members who work hard on my show every day.

“And just as I don’t want to be inconsequential in any late-night discourse, I also don’t want to be singled-out and lauded merely because I am successful “for a woman.” I only want to be acknowledged for having worked hard to build an equally significant audience and fan base to those of my peers. I believe the success of any woman should never be qualified by her gender.”

Her piece may have been dotted with funny anecdotes, proving she is not just funny but a great writer, but the significance of her argument is certainly not lost amongst the quick quips. Her words are for all women, whether they are in entertainment or other industries. We aren’t here to necessarily compete with men or better them, we just want to do a damn good job and be afforded the same opportunities, as well as respected and recognized for our differences we bring to the table.

Chelsea, thank you for speaking up on behalf of us hard working gals everywhere. Like. A. Boss.

Chelsea-Handler

6 Comments

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