Comedian Chelsea Handler has not been shy of late about her desire to make a return to hosting a late-night show. And during her opening monologue as host of the Critics’ Choice Awards on Sunday, she did not hold back when it came to roasting the competition.
“I’m just happy to be here tonight supporting the critics’ right to choose,” Handler said early on. “At least someone still has a choice. Unless they’re a female critic and then it depends on what state they live in.”
For the next several minutes, she lightly roasted nominees like The Woman King’s Viola Davis and Gaslit’s Julia Roberts but arrived at Tár’s Cate Blanchett. “In Tár, Cate portrayed an iconic lesbian whose career is upended by her toxic behavior,” Handler said. Then, in a nod to Ellen DeGeneres’ scandal, she drew a combination of laughter and groans when she added, “And she didn’t even have to host her own daytime talk show.”
Handler received applause from comedian Billy Eichner for joking that it was a “breakout year for queer cinema, with movies like Bros, Fire Island, and Top Gun: Maverick.” And loud cheers for calling out the continued sexism in Hollywood. “I don’t want to say that studios treat male and female directors differently, but James Cameron was given a budget of $350 million [for Avatar: The Way of Water] and Sarah Polley had to film Women Talking in a barn.”
“The cast of The Bear is here,” she added later. “Awesome show. They showed us how grueling and hellish and absolutely miserable working in the restaurant industry can be, and they didn’t have to wait on James Corden.”
And finally, Handler echoed a sentiment she shared in a recent interview with The Daily Beast when she addressed all of the “nonsense recently about Jews running Hollywood.”
“I would like to say, as a Jewish woman, so what if they do? Who cares?” she joked. “The French run bakeries, Italians run the mafia and Swedish people run Ikea. Stay in your lane!”