I’ve been a pretty vocal opponent of Chelsea Handler at some points over the years, but as her time on Chelsea Lately draws to a close tonight, I’m feeling more sympathy for her than I really care to admit.
But as they always say, bloggery is the closet thing to #bravery (no one says that), so I’ve decided to share my thoughts in hopes that they might give you some context for how Chelsea came to be such a mean girl. Make no mistake — this doesn’t mean I’m okay with her fat-shaming Rebel Wilson, or making fun of Amanda Bynes for being ‘crazy’ when she was struggling with mental illness, or bragging about having a DUI. It just means that I can see how she started on that road, whether or not I agree with how far she traveled down it.
Because here’s the thing guys — the world of commenting on pop culture is a very strange place. It’s competitive, it’s fast-paced, and it sucks you way way in. You start out having trouble keeping track of who’s a Kardashian and who’s a Jenner and what that could possibly mean, and end up interrupting the conversations of strangers to correct them on minor errors in their memories, “NO NO THIS WILL BE KOURTNEY’S THIRD BABY. And she’s not married to the dad. No it’s Disick. D-I-S-I-C-K. Yeah no problem, I can leave you alone.”
When knowing the intricate details of Hollywood nonsense is your job, you end up super familiar with the minutiae of these celebrities’ lives, which in turn makes your opinions a lot stronger than the average human. And I don’t mean stronger as in better or more important, I mean stronger as in…more intense. If you’re someone with a normal job that isn’t celebrity-based, you probably only follow famous people that you have a vested interest in. But if you’re a blogger or a late night personality like Chelsea, who’s known for having a snarky voice, you have to report on everyone, and in order to be able to do that, you have to formulate an opinion about them.
Which is how, if you’re me (you aren’t), you come to find yourself timed out on Anne Hathaway, or writing an article a day on how dumb Justin Bieber is, or neckdeep into a conspiracy theory that Danielle Jonas was never really pregnant. Stuff I might not know or care about if it weren’t my job…but it is, so I do. In order To really immerse myself in my job and do it the best I can requires a level of exposure to these celebs that invites and almost encourages snark.
And if I — a faceless blogger — have been called out by countless fan bases on being too mean, imagine how much stronger the phenomenon must be for Chelsea Handler, who’s had to get people to tune in five nights a week for seven years. That’s a whole lot of opinions to froth up, so it should come as no surprise to me, of all people, that Chelsea started to grate some nerves along the way. (Including mine.)
So while I don’t often agree with her, I have to admire the fact that she’s made it in a business that’s notoriously difficult to excel in, and solely on the strength of her own opinions.She owns her assholery, and she never apologizes. It’s almost enough for me to tune in to her final show tonight at 11:00 on E!…but not quite. After all, I have a reputation to protect.