In case you missed it, sometime before the holiday weekend, NBC decided to recast three of its supporting roles on the 2012 midseason sitcom, Are You There Vodka? It's Me Chelsea, based on one of Chelsea Handler's best-selling books. One of the people losing out was stand-up comedian Jo Koy, a regular member of Handler's late-night roundtable on her E! series, Chelsea Lately.
A spokesperson told Michael Ausiello the cast changes had been made for "creative reasons." But a few comedians (you know how comics talk) already had put out word that for Koy, the creative reason allegedly was the network's response to Koy calling an audience member a "fucking faggot" during his June 15 show at Just For Laughs Chicago. Neither NBC nor Koy has said there was a direct link. (Updated!) In fact, I have it on good authority that NBC already was looking to recast Koy's bartender role with someone who could develop more potential sexual tension with Laura Prepon's lead character as a younger Chelsea, and they had until June 30 to make that decision. And Koy apologized the following day for his brief outburst via Twitter, saying: "Homophobia is not funny."
Did Handler get that memo?
On Monday night's episode of Chelsea Lately, neither Handler nor Koy brought up their NBC split. Handler did return to her long-running roast of Koy by joking that he's gay. Because being gay would be funny? Or because accusing Koy of being funny and having him react negatively is funny?
Chelsea Handler continues to be the gift who keeps on giving for her writing staff on E!'s Chelsea Lately, as the network has ordered eight episodes of an improvised half-hour called After Lately, to air after Handler's current late-night talker.
Variety got the scoop on E! on this one. Handler told the trade paper that the show will be set behind-the-scenes of the actual talk show, starring her writers. Or she said: "A perfect platform for people who have no business being on camera." And yet. There we have it. So, expect to see her staffers Guy Branum, Sarah Colonna, Heather McDonald, Chris Franjola and Brad Wollack spending more time on your E! channel.
You say Chelsea Handler herself already addressed this back in April when Radar first revealed the sex tape's existence, and offered her rebuttal? Let's listen to that again, shall we. Roll the clip.
OK. Summing up. Chelsea Handler, one of the richest stand-up comedians working in the past year, best-selling author, late-night TV host, host of this weekend's MTV Video Music Awards, thought that the best way to break into show business and her comedy career was to film herself having sex and send that to the comedy clubs, agents and managers. And this supposedly worked. It has worked so well that Handler shows off her porn skills to anyone and everyone at parties. Great job. As Louis CK would not say: Hilarious!
Female comedians everywhere must be overwhelmed with their excitement just knowing that the key to success in this business is so simple. You don't need to be funny, ladies. Just be naked. And put it on tape. Once you become famous, you can stay legitimate as a funny female comedian by posing for Playboy. That'll get you a regular seat next to Jay Leno!
Here is the safe-for-work portion of that tape, which Radar uploaded. Notice how old the footage is.
Tonight's episode of Chelsea Lately opened with the late-night host Chelsea Handler announcing to her E! TV audience that MTV has picked her to host the 2010 MTV Music Video Awards on Sept. 12. "Everyone knows that when you think of rap music and hip-hop, you think of Chelsea Lately." Roll the clip!
Handler also spoke briefly to Dave Itzkoff at the New York Times about her new gig. Somehow I think Handler will be able to handle whatever Kanye West has up his sleeves this year.
So, remember way back when, this morning, when I posted about ladies who want to be stand-up comedians and would they be worried more about their bodies than their jokey jokes? They were dealing with the possibilities. Chelsea Handler is living in the reality, as she is the new cover girl on Playboy magazine for December 2009; or, rather, someone resembling Chelsea Handler is on the cover.
This is the Playboy cover. Someone doesn't have to call the Airbrush Police, because Handler called herself out.
This is what she looked like on TV last night on The Jay Leno Show, where Leno unveiled a giant cutout of the cover after interviewing Handler and firing several jokes at her about her older boyfriend, Ted, who just so happens to be the same Ted Harbert who runs Comcast Entertainment Group -- which means not only does he also just so happen to be Handler's boss, but potentially Leno's new boss, should a rumored sale of NBC Universal to Comcast go through later this year. That was a long sentence, but...
How many levels of awkward is that, exactly?
Anyhow. Handler isn't just on the cover, she's also inside Playboy's pages offering 20 answers to 20 questions, as well as offering her own guide to surviving the holidays (Warning: Links go to NSFW Playboy pages). The magazine itself doesn't come out in print until Nov. 13.
We've got ourselves a big Monday here, which means it's time to catch up on what's been happening in comedy and see if we missed anything. First up, what funny things from comedians have I posted recently over on The Laugh Track?
But that's not all. There was also some comedy in the news. Such as, for instance, this, that and the other thing:
Chelsea Handler's long-term relationship with E! has not only been good for her own career, but also has provided a boon to many aspiring stand-up comedians who live in Los Angeles. Handler's Chelsea Lately includes a nightly roundtable panel in which she dishes about the celebrinews of the day with three of her friends in comedy. She has given them an additional TV credit boost with this summer's Friday-night series, Comedians of Chelsea Lately, which she hosts with her sidekick Chuy.
Tonight is the second week, featuring stand-up sets from Heather McDonald, John Caparulo and Whitney Cummings. Not that you would know that by going to, say, the E! network website. I tried looking for episode breakdowns and whatnot last week for the debut and came up empty. Certainly by now, they'd have something something, right? Here's what came up today when I entered "comedians of chelsea lately" in E!'s search bar:
To be fair, to the far far right of this screengrab, you can see that they did have a video clip from last week's debut to view. And if you root around on the Chelsea Lately pages, you can find some additional short clips (also on Hulu). But this show is not considered an actual show, according to E! Which is saying something, considering this is E! Is that what that "Awful Truth" button is for? I know that's not what that button is for, unfortunately, because I have been to this website before, and if I left my TV on E! around-the-clock, I may come across an ad for the show, but by then, I would have lost all sense of humanity.
But I won't leave you completely empty-handed...
The residents of Seattle got to know the madness that comes from the mind of comedian Brody Stevens in the 1990s when he co-hosted a cable access show and made fellow stand-ups laugh with his regular outbursts at the Comedy Underground. A decade later, he's living larger in Los Angeles, where he has contributed to the Best Damn Sports Show Period and now also warms up the audiences for Chelsea Handler's late-night E! talker, Chelsea Lately. And he also plays a cop in The Hangover. Perhaps you've seen that movie? You can follow Brody on Twitter @BrodyismeFriend.
Meanwhile, Handler's show has launched a series of videos featuring Stevens, hard at work. Let's begin at the beginning:
More with Brody after the jump...
It's no secret that Chelsea Handler has a group of favorite comedians who appear on a regular basis providing their topical bon mots as panelists on her late-night chat show on E!, Chelsea Lately. Handler has been kind enough to reach out to these comics and give them TV time (and credits!), and now, it looks as though she's going to present two entire showcases just for these stand-ups, called "The Comedians of Chelsea Lately."
The shows will tape on June 25 at Club Nokia in Los Angeles. Brody Stevens will host both showcases, with appearances by Chelsea Handler and her little-sized sidekick, Chuy. The 7:30 lineup features Heather McDonald, Chris Franjola, Loni Love, The Sklar Brothers, Jen Kirkman and John Caparulo. The 10:30 show includes Whitney Cummings, Guy Branum, Sarah Colonna, Brad Wollack, Josh Wolf and Jo Koy. Tickets here or here.
So Allure gets famous ladies to get naked and photographed, because, well, I'm still not sure why, but as long as our society tells women to pose for nude photos, I shall not be complaining. But. Butt. As much as you may want to see Chelsea Handler naked and putting her arms over her breasts, while saying how said breasts are the best part of her body, is this how we want to continue perpetuating stereotypes of women in comedy? I'm sorry, what was that again?
ALLURE: What body parts are you most proud of? CH: "My boobs are good. They're real and perky. Even if you can't see them, the important thing is that I know about them, and the guys I've slept with know about them."
Dana Carvey talks to the San Jose Mercury News about returning to stand-up after "semi-retiring" to be a husband and father: "I've been at this for 25 years," Carvey says. "I did SNL. I did some movies. My kids have grown up. I've saved a lot of money — that will go over good — and I'm having fun."
Lenny Clarke lives on Martha's Vineyard, and it's a rare but true thing to see him perform on the island, which he'll do Aug. 17 during a break from filming Rescue Me.
My friend and former colleague Lauren at the Boston Herald interviews Chelsea Handler about her latest book of essays, which has been a bestseller all summer. “When I got that news, I was like, OK, well, this must signal the end of the world. I’m on The New York Times Bestseller List? It’s not like I’m Salman Rushdie. I mean, I have a show on E!.”
Artie Lange is already out of rehab, and talks to SF Weekly about enjoying the Bay Area.
Russell Brand reveals to Defamer that he keeps up with pop culture and music, which is a good thing since he's hosting this year's MTV Video Music Awards. Brand describes Miley Cyrus as "confusingly attractive," the people of The Hills as having "the general air of louche attractiveness and easy availability." Here is a promotional clip with Brand, Britney Spears and the elephant in the room. No, really.
My friends at Punchline Magazine got permission to reprint a chapter from Chelsea Handler's best-selling essay collection, Are You There, Vodka? It's Me, Chelsea. In this essay, Chelsea reflects on how much she already knew about her show business career as a 9-year-old. Want the book? Click on the button.
Book Expo America proves how reading is fun-damental once again this weekend in Los Angeles, and funny people Lewis Black and John Hodgman are helping demonstrate that with live appearances. Black performs Saturday night, while Hodgman presides over an author breakfast on Sunday. They're part of a fresh wave of reading material for us all to enjoy. Chelsea Handler has been riding high on the bestselling charts all month with her latest series of essays, while the surviving brothers of Chris Farley have an insightful (albeit sometimes naturally hyperbolic) look at his career. Why don't you pick up a book and start reading?
Comedy Central's annual "Stand-Up Showdown" airs today, rebroadcasting the top 20 stand-up specials as voted online by fans over the past month. It's airing now!
The full schedule/countdown...which began at 11:30 a.m. today...(with applicable taping season)
20) Loni Love (season 11)
19) Doug Benson (season 8)
18) Chelsea Handler (season 11)
17) Steve Byrne (season 10)
16) Maria Bamford (season 11)*
15) Rich Vos (season 7)*
14) Dane Cook (season 3)
13) Stephen Lynch (season 12)**
12) Mike Birbiglia (season 10)*
11) Demetri Martin (season 8)
10) Mitch Hedberg (season 1)
9) Jim Gaffigan (season 3)
8) Pablo Francisco (season 4)
7) Kyle Cease (season 10)
6) Mitch Fatel (season 11)
5) Lewis Black (season 6)*
4) Frank Caliendo (season 8)
3) Lisa Landry (season 11)
2) Josh Sneed (season 11)
1) Jeff Dunham (his Spark of Insanity hourlong special)
* These comedians have multiple half-hour CCPs. Rich Vos has one upcoming this season.
** Stephen Lynch is the only one from this current crop of CCPs to make the list. Which, of course, is unfair to the many comedians this season who also taped with Lynch but haven't gotten on the air yet. Then again, this whole "showdown" is essentially just a test to see which comedian wants to mobilize his or her fans to vote early and often for them to get an extra TV airing. Really, that's it. No big cash prize. No trophy. But it certainly got us paying attention to Comedy Central on a Sunday in January, right? Of course, if I were one of the comedians who made the top 20, I'd probably still feel pretty good about it (while also looking at the other comedians who got listed ahead of me and behind me and wondering where I stood, which is why you have to realize and remind yourself that this isn't a "showdown" at all).
I was impressed Saturday night by how much people love Chelsea Handler. Apparently people really do watch the E! channel. She got loud ovations at the Comedy Connection in Boston during her intro both for her show on E! (which she hopes will return for a second season in 2007) and for her first book, My Horizontal Life: A Collection of One-Night Stands. And they gave her a standing O when she finished her 9 p.m. show (albeit rather abruptly, as several tables still had or were getting drinks), and then stood in line for up to 45 minutes to meet her outside afterward. During the show, Handler proved she could combine bits from her E! show with topical humor and impressively worked the crowd.
But still, Chelsea Handler laughs off her fame. "That's ridiculous. I don't consider myself a celebrity," she said. Being mentioned as an attendee at Ivanka Trump's birthday party by People magazine? Even more ridiculous. "First, off, I wasn't even at that party for her. I was just at Pure," Handler said. "It just goes to show how many celebrities were there. I was in a private booth with a large black man." Did she join in with the Pussycat Dolls, who have a residence at Pure? "I can't dance or sing. Which I've proven time and time again on television. So no, I didn't dance with them. But they did come over and say hello to me, so I must've had something going on. That night I was getting a lot of R-E-S-P-E-C-T." Handler also has produced a few comedy segments for The Tonight Show, but she didn't really think it showed her off in the best light. "It's a totally different audience, a middle America audience," she said. "They really want you to not be edgy, to be vanilla, to appeal to all of America. It was a great spring board for me, but I want to stay true to what I was doing on E!. I just don't see myself — I'm not really embarrassed to say a lot of things, and there (NBC) they monitor everything you say. E! really lets you get away with a lot of stuff and I really appreciate that."
This was Handler's first time performing in Boston. "My parents have a house in the Vineyard, but I haven't been to Boston. I used to have friends who went to B.U., but I probably haven't been in about six or seven years, so this will be the first time I performed there." Anything else you want folks to know, Chelsea? "Just that I'm a Picses."