On Wednesday, comedian Chelsea Handler announced that she’s leaving her eponymous talk show on Netflix to pursue political activism, citing Trump’s presidency as a prime motivating factor.
She wasn’t usually political. If anything, she was viewed as offensive by some.
“Handler isn’t always known for her enlightened social views; she’s made widely criticized remarks about fat people and dwarves, for instance,” Vox once wrote. Some think her attitude toward alcoholism can be damaging to those who suffer from it. And instead of bringing up politics, the stand-up comedian’s breakout talk show, “Chelsea Lately,” generally focused on a sleazy, who-slept-with-whom brand of celebrity gossip.
Then a new, politically charged Handler began to emerge during the presidential campaign.
Handler wove some of her political engagement into her Netflix show, mixing guests, such as Amy Schumer and Blake Shelton, with political leaders, such as Democratic strategist James Carville and California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom (D).
- After Trump announced his candidacy, Handler teamed up with Rock the Vote, a nonprofit aimed at getting young people to the polls.
- She also began to discuss abortion rights both on and off her show.
- She also tackled gun control on several episodes of her Netflix talk show, saying, “It’s time for us to start voting for politicians who do not live in the pocket of the NRA” and encouraging her fans to show up at the polls during the 2018 midterm elections.
Instead of returning to her show, Handler said, she will speak to colleges across the country in hopes of hearing from students and gaining “a better understanding of our political divide.” She also “joined forces” with Emily’s List, a women’s political action committee, in hopes of electing more pro-choice women into public office. Finally, she said she’ll campaign “for candidates who are fighting for women’s rights.”
Some of these travels will be turned into a documentary for Netflix, in which she will speak to “people of different ethnicity, religions and political philosophies.”
Handler announced a mission statement of sorts on her Instagram earlier this year, which perhaps serves as the best explanation for her foray into the world of politics.
In it she discussed her privilege as a white, wealthy person, one who doesn’t need programs like Planned Parenthood or even medical insurance.