Chelsea Handler is a Role Model for Women in Comedy

nypost.com
nypost.com

Chelsea Handler is an interesting figure in the world of comedy. I know, I know, attractive women and comedy aren’t supposed to go together. The idea behind that statement, I guess, is that attractive women don’t need to be funny. But Chelsea Handler, American comedian, actress, author, television host, producer, and activist for gay rights, is on the high-end of attractiveness. She is blond, perky and smart, sort of like that actress who plays Veronica Mars. And recently on social media she has been seen sporting a bikini in the Bahamas. But Handler’s show, although it is only half hour long, can sometimes feel as though it’s dragging. As a double standard, looking good is something that female comedians are forced to deal with in a way that men aren’t. There are nowhere near as many women as men in the field of comedy, and the female comedians who do make it tend to be examined closely for what their appearance and their performances “say” about women. Even though a lot of women in the comedy industry have made great efforts to open up more space for different kinds of females. Handler’s routine relies heavily on her jokes about being constantly drunk on vodka. But she gets away with it—her audience laughs at everything, and she has more than two million followers on Twitter. That may, or may not, be changing.

Handler is an interesting figure in terms of representation, and how she stands out in this minefield of a universe. So what if she’s gorgeous AND cheeky? This week, Handler hit the beach with fellow comedian Josh Wolf, and also a lot of photographers who took pictures of her cooling off in the ocean in a tiny blue bikini with a white hat. Don’t let the nice weather fool you, I’m sure it wasn’t that great of a vacation. She does have a deadpan kind of sharpness that helps her to get away with the overall lack of polish to her show. Handler is one of the first women in the American entertainment industry to have hosted a late-night talk show, called Chelsea Lately, on the E! network from 2007 to 2014. This makes her one of the only women in her field to have held such a position for so long. She is also currently preparing to host a show on Netflix in 2016. In 2012, Time placed her on the list of its 100 Most Influential People. Jay Leno has also congratulated Handler on transcending gender boxes.

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