Chelsea Handler Uganda Be Kidding Me

Once upon a time, I thought Chelsea Handler was refreshing. Are You There Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea was funny and weird and different than so much of what I was used to reading in high school. Now, I just think she’s kind of mean. After Lupita Nyong’o and 12 Years A Slave won for Best Supporting Actress and Best Picture respectively last night, Handler felt like it was a great time to plug her upcoming bookUganda Be Kidding Me,* all over Twitter.

Oddly enough, the tweets come from Huffington Post’s Twitter, which makes this even more confusing.


I’m sorry, “go to Africa or buy my book” isn’t exactly something people should be tweeting after a film about the institutionalized enslavement of human beings primarily from Africa wins an Oscar. Nobody plugs themselves like that. They just don’t. Even Lupita herself didn’t plug herself after winning. During her acceptance speech, she acknowledged the turmoil that has come from accomplishing so much based, in part at least, on a film she did that resulted from slavery:

“It doesn’t escape me for one moment that so much joy in my life is because of so much pain in someone else’s.”

In saying this brief, concise statement, Lupita neither martyred herself nor made herself a poster child. Handler’s marketing ploys, on the other hand, utilized an unbelievably horrific period in history to get people to pre-order her stupid book about a wealthy white woman traveling around numerous places populated by people who have long been dehumanized and considered “others” in Western culture. Here’s Amazon’s synopsis for the book, in the event that you weren’t sure about how little it has to do with slavery:

Wherever Chelsea Handler travels, one thing is certain: she always ends up in the land of the ridiculous. Now, in this uproarious collection, she sneaks her sharp wit through airport security and delivers her most absurd and hilarious stories ever.

On safari in Africa, it’s anyone’s guess as to what’s more dangerous: the wildlife or Chelsea. But whether she’s fumbling the seduction of a guide by not knowing where tigers live (Asia, duh) or wearing a bathrobe into the bush because her clothes stopped fitting seven margaritas ago, she’s always game for the next misadventure.

The situation gets down and dirty as she defiles a kayak in the Bahamas, and outright sweaty as she escapes from a German hospital on crutches. When things get truly scary, like finding herself stuck next to a passenger with bad breath, she knows she can rely on her family to make matters even worse. Thank goodness she has the devoted Chunk by her side-except for the time she loses him in Telluride.

Being enslaved and getting stuck next to somebody with terrible breath are basically the same, amirite? Jezebel pointed out that it seems like Handler was actually running HuffPo’s Twitter for the evening, which I’m sure somebody at HuffPo thought would be a good idea but, in actually, was so remarkably stupid. She eventually kind of, sort of, not really whatsoever apologized:


I was all in favor of Handler’s handling (see what I did there??!!!) of the journalist who literally included her as an afterthought in his discussion of late night television’s comedic hosts, but that’s because I’m pro-comedienne, not pro-Handler. Now, she’s just kind of a jerk.

I completely understand that many writers, comics and people on the Internet didn’t realize Amanda Bynes was sick at first, and therefore didn’t take her “antics” too seriously. I am guilty of this, too, and I still feel like an unkind idiot about it. After Bynes was put in a 5150, we all realized those weren’t quirks–they were symptoms, and Bynes needed help. What did Chelsea Handler do? She made fun of her. She called her a “freak.” Then, she made fun of Rebel Wilson‘s body, because nobody’s ever done that before (and also failed in the process). So irreverent! So edgy! Or just so incredibly boring and repetitive and unappealing to even bother hate-watching.

I’m not saying Handler’s racist, but I do think this was stupid, and I also believe it was pre-planned in the event 12 Years won. Chelsea Handler is smart, there’s no doubt about that. But where she used to have thought-provoking, intelligent and witty comedy and commentary, she’s now the Regina George of television. Big ol’ bummer.

*Brief reminder: Just because you can make a pun doesn’t mean you need to make a pun.