Chelsea Handler, hosting the 29th annual Critics Choice Awards on Sunday, had praise for women in film, took broadsides at studio executives, and made some digs at her ex-boyfriend, comedian Jo Koy, who was widely criticized for his hosting the Golden Globes a week earlier.
“Thank you for laughing at that — my writers wrote it,” Handler said at one point, a reference to Koy blaming his writers in the middle of a dying Golden Globes monologue last Sunday that included a joke about Barbie’s bustline.
More from Deadline
Comedian, actor and former talk host Handler, in her second consecutive turn as Critics Choice host, also raved about 2023 as “one the horniest years for movies and TV,” citing sexually explicit movies such as Saltburn and Poor Things. She joked that she personally prefers older men like Harrison Ford and Robert de Niro — “men who had been around since the railway was invented.”
“Unfortunately, Martin Scorsese isn’t here tonight,” Handler continued, mentioning the best director nominee for Killers of the Flower Moon, “but that’s not going to stop me from letting everyone in this room know that I would toss him around like a little Italian meatball.”
She added: “Thank you for laughing at — my writers wrote it.”
“Women were victorious in all venues,” Handler said. “Barbie at the box office, Taylor Swift and Beyonce on their tours. Gwyneth Paltrow at that ski trial.”
“This year proved that when given the opportunity, women show up for each other and dominate the culture. You could almost say it was the year of women,” Handler said. “I mean, women can say that. Bill Maher would say, ‘Is she still talking?’
“With Barbie, Greta [Gerwig] became the highest-grossing female director of all time,” Handler said to applause. “So again, over $1.4 billion at the box officer. So while David Zaslav was wearing a zip-up vest and sailing off to Saint Tropez, one very talented woman swooped in with a movie about female empowerment and saved the entire music — movie — industry.”
Referencing the combined actors’ and writers’ strikes, Handler said, “Of course, nobody had a harder time this year than studio executives, who were forced to vacation for six consecutive months in a row.”
Handler, judging by her decision to return as CCA host, doesn’t necessarily consider awards shows to be hostile territory. And in a Critics Choice Awards promo posted to X, formerly Twitter, Handler also promised not to be defeated— or replaced — by artificial intelligence. In the bit, Handler spars with a shoddy-looking AI Handler replica that tells her, “Beat it, Blondie!” and rattles off dated references, including to Handler’s long-deceased dog, Chunk.
“Who programmed you, Elon Musk?” Handler asks.
— Chelsea Handler (@chelseahandler) January 7, 2024
Best of Deadline