Chelsea Handler is furious after Bill Carter wrote an article for the New York Times about Jimmy Fallon’s “Tonight Show” and placed her existence inside parentheses.
In the article titled “Bullish On Boyish,” Carter discusses how NBC hopes Jimmy Fallon will bring younger viewers to “Tonight.” Chelsea Handler, host of “Chelsea Lately” on E! for the past six-plus years, is mentioned just once throughout the lengthy piece.
Even with potent competition for younger viewers all over cable, from the likes of Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert on Comedy Central and Mr. O’Brien on TBS, the host NBC is clearly most concerned about is Mr. Kimmel, who is 46. (The only female host in late-night is Chelsea Handler, 38, on E!)
Handler did not appreciate being placed inside those parentheses.
In response, the late-night host wrote an essay for The Huffington Post, titled “No One Puts Baby In Parentheses.”
“I am always asked what it’s like to be the only female in a so-called “boys club,” she begins. “To me, it’s never been about being a woman in a man’s world; it’s been about delivering a consistently funny and entertaining show each night.”
But, she says, that all changed when “this past Sunday I was referenced in a New York Times piece about Jimmy Fallon and his taking over of the ‘Tonight Show.'”
“I obviously didn’t expect or want to be a focal point of the piece,” she states, “What bothered me was that when I was listed in a paragraph with the late-night hosts, I was the only name put in parentheses.”
“I wanted to confirm what a parenthetical suggests, so I looked up the definition. The first few definitions that came up were: incidental, subordinate in significance, minor or casual.”
“The particular paragraph I was mentioned in was about the competition Jimmy faces for younger viewers,” and as Handler points out, “Depending upon whose research you look at, I share the distinction of having the youngest average viewership with Colbert, ‘The Daily Show’ and Conan. So from a purely statistical standpoint how, in this paragraph, could I only be mentioned as an aside? Was it because I’m a woman?”
Handler explained that she wanted to speak up about the issue because “it would be a disservice to all of the hard working women in entertainment, including Joan Rivers, who was the first woman to have her own late night show. Not to mention how this minimizes the efforts of the 100+ staff members who work hard on my show every day.”
At the end of the day, Handler says, “This isn’t about Bill Carter. This is about being noted as a parenthetical, reaffirming what I feel has been an underlying, yet consistent inconsistency with how I am handled as the only woman in a traditionally male field.”
To read Handler’s full essay on The Huffington Post, click here >
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