Chelsea Handler

“It’s been my experience that people who make proclamations about themselves are usually the opposite of what they claim to be.”

In the last few years, we’ve witnessed a significant changing of the guard among late night talk show hosts. Jay Leno is gone. David Letterman is gone. Jon Stewart is gone. Conan O’Brien, John Oliver and Stephen Colbert moved to different networks. These all represented opportunities where the industry could have moved toward greater diversity and yet most of these spots were re-occupied by more white men.

And while Comedy Central vastly improved its racial and ethnic diversity with Larry Wilmore and Trevor Noah, there is still a severe lack of female representation on late night television aside from some of the correspondents on The Daily Show. Through all that time, the only female host — to my knowledge — was the unapologetically open and brash Chelsea Handler with Chelsea Lately on E!

I never really watched much of that show, the final episode of which aired a couple years ago. And up until Full Frontal debuted on TBS (hosted by Daily Show alumna Samantha Bee), late night television was once again completely devoid of a female host.

Chelsea Handler has since moved on to a new Netflix original series called Chelsea Does, a pseudo documentary-like program where she explores polarizing subjects like marriage, racism and drugs. She comes off as much more vulnerable than I remember her, but she is still as brutally honest and unfiltered with her point of view.

The quote at the top is taken from her book, Are You There, Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea. Perhaps even more often today than ever before, people are apt to describe themselves in self-aggrandizing ways. From self-described “social media experts” to “fashion divas” and “top influencers,” people can brand themselves in an overly positive light, even if no one else actually views them in that way.

The so-called Facebook version of you could be quite different from the real you in the real world. And even if these two versions align, it is astronomically more valuable when someone else praises or commends you than if you were to pat yourself on the back.

Perhaps Chelsea Handler is warning us to be careful around overly boastful people. Maybe that’s a big part of the reason why she appears as open and as honest as she does. She’s comfortable in her own skin and she’s not afraid to show it. And if other people disapprove, so be it. That’s quite the proclamation.

Image credit: David Shankbone