Chelsea Handler's VMA opening: How'd she do?

Chelsea-Handler-VMAs_320.jpg Image Credit: Kevin Mazur/WireImage.comThe Video Music Awards are all about being brash and cool and down with the kids and hip to the pop culture — and by that measure, Chelsea Handler turned in a workwomanlike performance opening the VMAs. She played to her sexy-lady-ness in the taped opening sequence, with a weird sexual-harassment bit in which she strode down the backstage halls in her robe and kept getting good-luck slaps on the backside from every guy she encountered. (It was neither strong enough to be a feminist statement on the creepiness of such inappropriate contact nor edgy enough to be transgressive. Or maybe I’m just still pining for Jimmy Fallon’s impeccably fun Glee-themed opening to the Emmys.) The Lindsay cameo saved it, at least, if only with the key elements of surprise and topicality.

As the live portion of the show began, Handler turned in a moderately funny Gaga sendup, appearing amid red-lycra-clad dancers wearing a dollhouse on her head. Though, again, it felt a little like Host the VMAs Paint-by-Numbers — Gaga’s both the easiest and the lamest (not to mention the most willing) target around. Her monologue then brought us typical crowd-pleasers like drinking and drug references like, “That’s the last time I do a prayer circle with Snoop Dogg.” There were herpes digs at the cast of the Jersey Shore, and a mention of “that series of duets released by that Russian woman featuring Mel Gibson — those were cute.” The obligatory Kanye nod — calling him “the big black elephant in the room” — was equally edgy-but-boring. There was even use of the word “vagina” for good measure (as in, “imagine how good [Justin Bieber’s] music will be when he sees a vagina”).

Speaking of which, one of her better jokes came when she mentioned that she was the show’s first lady host since 1994 — when Roseanne Barr played emcee — back when “The Situation was just a classy way to refer to a teenage pregnancy, and Justin Bieber’s mom had just given birth to her 401K plan.” (In case you’re confused, Sarah Silverman three years ago wasn’t the host — she just did the opening monologue.) Handler called on the nominees and guests to provide some serious excitement — “I’m not talking about some predictable girl-on-girl awards show kiss. … I’m over that.” Hear, hear to that — since so far, things seem pretty standard on all fronts.

But what do you think, Music Mixers? How are you feeling about Handler as host so far? How does she stack up against Russell Brand and other VMA hosts past?

Comments (438 total) Add your comment
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  • DVR


    She was a bad choice from the start.

    • steve


  • Joslyn

    She’s absolutely terrible. I’m cringing every time she’s back on stage.

  • marsh

    When people are asking who is chelsea handler you know you’ve got a bad host choice…

    • Tony

      Just like 2 years ago when everyone asked who Russel Brand is, Now Everyone knows him.

      • Katie Perry

        They know because he was good. I’s like to forget her.

      • terry

        Russell Brand caused me to turn off the VMAs the year he hosted. oh my. nasty

      • ?!@#$

        Who’s Russell Brand ??

      • Sebazz

        LOVE evas hair! asnd you not gonna invite sonoeme to somethin if they dont fit in, its alright to have two groups of firends. not really sur why he went in?? awkward

    • Barbara

      Wow , you should be a little more aware of comedy to ask who that is…

      • amj

        I agree! I wasn’t thrilled with her last night but I love Chelsea Handler in general…she is hillarious!

      • Brett

        Not comedy, since Russell Brand has nothing to do with that genre. To be fair, “?!@#$” needs to be more familiar with “ex-drug addict loudmouth boyfriends of trendy popstars.”

      • seth

        Ah, that’s what the problem was: she was supposed to BE FUNNY! Well, no wonder people who are familiar with comedy aren’t familiar with her…they were probably expecting someone who was funny.

    • TA

      I had to Google I had never heard of her…and I thought her jokes were awful — what about when she said “retard”…hated every minute she was on stage (was afraid of what other repulsive slur was going to come out of her mouth).

      • deedee

        totally agree; she tries so hard to be edgy that she forgets to be funny

      • Karen

        Actually, I believe she said “leotarded” not “retard”.

      • AS

        Anyone who uses even a variation of the word retarded has no validity in my eyes. I thought she was absolutely awful!

  • Jade

    The whole show sucks. How is MTV gonna hand out awards for videos they don’t play? The whole channel is nonstop “Jersey Shore” (aka STD pileup) and Real World episodes. MTV is lame and hasn’t been relevant in YEARS.

    • WatchHill


      • jbrower76

        jade is right on. i’m done trying to listen to new, young people’s music. the VMAs used to be worth watching, now MTV is just a joke.

      • @jb76

        You are so right. Partly because a lot of “young people’s music” isn’t even music. It’s autotuned personalities who can’t really carry a tune, rappers who don’t sing at all, and performers rather than singers. Taylor Swift is a pretty good songwriter, but is a mediocre singer. Rihanna is screechy and pitchy, Beiber is going to be over soon. There is no long standing potential there at all.

      • SJ

        I have to say, I was surprised that the actual performances this year were the opposite of raunchy or oversexed. The lyrics to some of the songs, like Mary J’s duet with Drake, were really positive, same with Haley and B.O.B., taylor swift

    • Jeremy DC

      I’m glad someone else feels the same way I do. Even though I’m only 26 I was getting worried that I am just too old for mtv. But it’s true, mtv really does suck and hasn’t been interesting since the 90s.

      • Mike

        At 26, you’re definitely too old for MTV. I’m the same age. It’s a blessing. This year there will be approximately one billion Jersey Shore theme parties at colleges across the country. Be glad you missed out on that fad.

      • Li

        I was an 80s teenager and MTV was the channel back then because of the videos. Times have changed and for MTV, not for the better. Too bad. Chelsea was a HORRIBLE HOST.

      • MAnx

        please I’m 19 and I’m too old for (current) MTV

      • marie

        i havent watched mtv since the 90s either .my kids watch that hip-hop crap,but i hate it…

    • candaceTX

      STD pileup… well played, my friend… well played…

    • Maureen

      Jade, you win for best comment of the night. ;)

    • Chuck

      Jade, I couldn’t have said it better. I was watching MTV when it truly was MUSIC TELEVISION. I have no idea what it is now.

    • dharma swan

      I’ve wondered myself why MTV still bothers to do a video awards show when they do not show videos anymore. MTV bites now. Sad because it was my favorite channel growing up in the 80’s. It used to be THE place to learn about new music – now it’s just a nonstop flood of lame-o reality shows.

      • Shamus N.

        Exactly. Maybe if they started playing videos again (don’t they know videos are making a comeback?) the participants wouldn’t phone in their performances. Just before the awards, they had a Jersey Shore marathon! Why couldn’t they show the nominated videos? I stopped watching for a while because it was meaningless; after this year I’m going back to not watching it.

      • mari

        I hate to defend MTV but they do have a channel that shows music videos. It just isn’t on basic cable. I think the channel is called MTV Hits.

    • allison

      Perhaps you haven’t been a true mtv watcher or aware of the fact that vh1 is an affiliate of mtv? Early and late night is dedicated to all videos. They too are trying to stay with the times and it seems to be working thus far…..

  • Sue

    Terrible. Her jokes show how trashy an annoying she is. Not funny at all.

  • Michael

    Every time she comes on screen, it makes me appreciate Aziz at Movie Awards more.

    • ani

      haha, come on now, aziz was totally underappreciated.

    • Sabrina

      Aziz, LIGHT!

      • Sistinas

        ROFL! YES! Just what I was thinking!

  • Gretchen

    How’s she doing? Terribly. Not a single funny joke/bit. Now I know why I never made an effort to watch her “comedy” show or read her books.

    • Josh

      Thats ok, honey! Millions of other people do!

      • Riss

        My, Josh, aren’t you just the condescending d-bag.

      • Kyle

        And Gretchen isn’t condescending???

  • Joanne Kraus

    You could have not picked a better host for the VMA’s!! Chelsea is over the top!! She’s funny, great outfits and beautiful,as always!! This has been by far the best VMA’s of all time. The music and host are incredible!! Kudo’s to the producer’s!!

    • Alex Gibbo

      @Joanne Kraus ‘best VMA’s of all time by far because the host is good looking and you like her outfit” er…what? That’s either an expert troll or someone who is braindead.

    • @ Joann

      Joann, as Chelsea’s publicist you are supposed to puff before, not after this disaster.

    • Leonel


    • debi

      r u kidding me- she looks double her age! her clothes were old lady boring…her jokes were eh? i don’t think she made any…worst host ever!

  • Boo

    Sorry but she’s a million times better than Russell Brand-he made me turn off the tv

    • Heidi


    • gina

      Can’t stand Russell Brand and can only handle him in small doses.

    • Peter

      “Hard to concentrate”? You’re seriously offering that as an excuse for an awards show host?

    • terry

      me, too

    • Brett

      Yeah, she got that show because she was dating the head of E! Once she got the contract signed, she dumped him. She’s like Joan Rivers, without the endearing qualities.

    • Andrew

      She was 1 million times better than Russell Brand. Russell Brand was an awful host.

      • Eleasar

        Besides the spa *ahhh*, an incredible book, a raelly good drink (coffee, ginger tea, bloody mary, local microbrew), PJ’s, hubby and if there’s a good rainstorm, that makes is 800 times better!

    • jbrower76

      when she said she was high i was thinking that was the reason she was so bad. but no, she was just beyond really bad.

  • Cheekee

    How’s she’s doing? Should not be hosting the VMAs, is how bas she is. I do not like her tv show, or her type of humor, which should be reserved for late night, and not a show being watch by teenagers. What were you thinkin’?!!?

    • wakeforce

      Hello? This is the same stuff you hear every year no matter who hosts. Russell Brand got vilified for using raunchy language. This is MTV, not Nick Jr. News flash: Your kids have heard worst things in the schoolyard OR coming from your mouth. What a bunch of hypocrites!

    • Liz

      I’d say Chelsea’s humor is more spot on than Russell Brand’s for the past two years. Thank god he’s away filming his movie, so he wasn’t available for MTV to call up to ask to host. I’m in the demographic that MTV is targeting (19) and I watch a fair amount of comedians. Russell Brand has never been funny to me, but Chelsea actually has some wit. (See her television show). She wasn’t in top form last night, but I’d still prefer her any day over any of the people who have hosted it in years past.

      Although in a few years, MTV will probably become obsolete. So not like it really matters.

    • Stormy

      The difference being that Russell Brand has , to quote Vizzinni, a dizzying intellect and a spectacular vocabulary. Brand can get away with it. Handler just seems like trailer trash.

      • Lauren

        and looks like trailer trash too.

  • Mary

    I think one of the reasons I love Chelsea lately is because the whole thing just sounds like a crapshoot…no rehearsals, no one really gives a crap…but here she is wayyyyyy too rehearsed and worse yet, the jokes aren’t even funny in the least bit. She won’t be hosting anything else for quite a long time. Good thing she has her show.

    • katy

      Yeah I agree. Her show does seem like no rehearsals or anything goes into it. Sometimes it’s really good and sometimes it’s just a mess. I don’t think this kind of hosting gig is her thing.

  • Katie

    I like her. She’s hilarious. The VMAs are a joke anyway because MTV 2010 is all reality, very little video.

    • Heidi

      So true

  • sandy angie

    where to begin? chelsea warned us she was stoned at the start of the show. too bad we didn’t take that seriously. and why does she think/fear all the black artists want to get with her? at this rate it may be another decade before mtv picks a female host again.

    • jul

      OH because Russel Brand (The worst host ever) was better…

      • Matt S

        I couldn’t understand half of the stuff Russell Brand was saying and I would still rather have him than Chelsea. I love her show, but she sucked as a host!

    • xxx

      If you watched her show you would know that that is an ongoing bit. Rappers are on her show quite frequently. It isn’t that she fears they are trying to get with her. And joking about partying and being promiscuous is kind of her schtick.

  • Marie

    I think she is doing a good job, she probably has to do what they tell her. I love you Chelsea

    • Heidi

      I feel the same way.

  • Dr Rand Pink

    I cannot comment because we are DfAuTcEkIiNnGg

    • Sue

      I agree with AK: That one about not cheering for the cast of “Jersey Shore” because ‘they’re the reason that MTV doesn’t play your videos anymore’ was actually really funny.

      But outside of that, she was awful. It’s unfortunate that she was the first female host since 1994 – so NOT funny and I can think of at least 5 other funny woman I would have rather watched.

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