The annual MTV Video Music Awards are a pretty big deal. This event brings in some big names and performances, as movie and television stars present awards, and musicians put on mini concerts and accept awards. To give you an idea of how big this event is, some of the names in attendance included Justin Bieber, Lady Gaga, Eminem, and Kanye West. With this kind of lineup, MTV wanted to get a big name host for the awards show, somebody who could really get a crowd going. Unfortunately they Got Chelsea Handler. A host is supposed to keep the crowd entertained between performances and awards being handed out, and to keep the show moving on time. Chelsea Handler fell far short of entertaining, the one blemish on an otherwise greatly enjoyable VMA show.
We Had High Hopes
Chelsea Handler is best known for her talk show Chelsea Lately. Chelsea Lately is a consistently entertaining show, and this is because Chelsea Handler has such a candid sense of humor. She basically says whatever is on her mind during her show. This leads to some hilarious interviews, and for the most part her jokes are actually pretty funny. Those of us who had seen her show had high hopes that she would be a good host for the VMAs. We should have known that her style of humor would not make the transition to this big stage.
Racist Humor is Still Racist
The MTV VMAs is a racially diverse event. Good musicians come in all sizes, shapes, and colors. With the kind of ethnic melting pot that is the VMAs, there really is no place for racial humor, especially because this is an event to honor those musicians. Chelsea Handler started off the show by joking that she had brought a gun past security, claiming she wasn’t searched because she is white. It was not a good joke to start off the show, it immediately fell flat. First off, with the big names in attendance and the high security surrounding the event, jokes about guns are not appropriate. Racial humor like that is even worse. It was just the beginning though.
Don’t Rely on Off Color Humor
Chelsea Handler is known for her off color humor. In that sense, a lot of the blame can be placed on the organizers of the event rather than Chelsea for the content of her jokes. Still, she could have done a lot to clean up her act without losing the humor. Unfortunately she decided the best way to be funny was to bash the musical talent around her. That would have been great if she was hosting a roast, but this was an awards ceremony. Simultaneously honoring people for their work while the host relentlessly makes fun of them just doesn’t feel right.
Not Ready for the Bigger Stage
Perhaps the biggest problem that Chelsea Handler had all night was that she never looked comfortable when she was on the stage. She stuttered through many of her jokes, fidgeted, and just overall felt and looked awkward. Stage presence is very important with any performer. If they don’t feel comfortable the audience notices, and it takes the audience out of the moment. Most jokes will fall short with some, you can’t please everybody all the time, and that can be forgiven. It is harder for an audience to forgive somebody who simply appears to not be ready for the bright lights.
Surrounded by Bigger Names
Perhaps one of the biggest factors in Chelsea Handlers flop of a performance was the fact that she was surrounded by huge names. Obviously a host for a show as big as this wants to be memorable, which can be hard to do when you are introducing performances by Eminem and Lady Gaga. Perhaps this is the reason she amped up the off color humor, as a defense mechanism against the bigger names. Maybe she thought controversy would make her hosting performance more memorable. Either way, it is a shame that she felt she had to go the way she did, she could have done much better.