Is This Why Chelsea Handler Went Woke?

Chelsea Handler says she doesn’t fear Cancel Culture obliteration.

The far-Left comedienne, who once razzed the rich and famous on “Chelsea Lately,” revamped her stand-up career in the age of woke. Now, in between railing against her so-called white privilege and slamming Donald Trump, she attacks the one remaining culture target – white men.

Plus, she claims the woke handcuffs aren’t real unless you’re a racist, sexist, homophobic, fill-in-the-blank.

She explained that to “The View” recently, suggesting comedians who fear cancellation can’t tell jokes sans hate.

"No. I’m not an idiot. All you have to do is not be racist and sexist and not discriminate. That’s not a tall order … You can’t work within these parameters and think of clever material that doesn’t harm other people or make another person a target?" 

Chelsea Handler Gets It All Wrong

She’s wrong on several levels, of course. Comedians deserve the space to poke fun at everyone, and if audiences line up to see them they’ll continue to do so. Comedians shouldn’t fear triggering a certain group or cause, but many self-censor as a result.

It’s why late-night hosts generate more clapter than laughs and we haven’t seen an R-rated comedy smash in ages.

She also must remember how Kevin Hart lost the Oscar-hosting gig for a decade-old bit deemed homophobic. What about the time Sarah Silverman lost a plum movie role because of a decade-old blackface incident that strived to showcase the insidious nature of racism?

There’s a bigger problem with Handler’s line of thinking. 

Pre-Woke Comedy Reveals Handler's Real Side

Handler’s comedy past is riddled with racially-charged jokes, the kind that could get someone like her cancelled in a New York minute.

The American Spectator recently revisited some of Handler’s older bits, material that could cause her trouble if they went viral on social media.

Her 2008 book, “Are You There, Vodka, It’s Me, Chelsea” mocked Jewish people for wanting to “get something for nothing,” tormented third-world countries and said animal-owning homeless people should gobble down their pets.

Talk about "punching down."

Her 2014 comedy special “Uganda Be Kidding Me” featured gags tied to Nazi death camps and found her singling out black people in the crowd. “Smile so I can see you,” she cracked. She also called Alaskans “Asians with a touch of the Downs” and insinuated Ugandans were rapists.

Problematic, eh?

She also once tweeted this nugget about a celebrity breakup:

“Angelina Jolie has filed for divorce with Brad Pitt… He wants the China; she wants Pax and Maddox #sorrycouldnthelpmyself.”

She even suggested comedians who tell racist jokes face jail time. Has Chelsea Handler met … Chelsea Handler?

She likely has, which may explain her woke makeover. Veteran comics sometimes embrace the woke mind virus fearing their old, “problematic” material could get them canceled. 

Others Fit The Mold

Howard Stern certainly fits this description. His ‘90s era radio bits would get him canceled in a nanosecond today, but he’s spent the last few years kowtowing to liberal politicians and railing against Donald Trump. Both moves shielded him from cancellation attempts.

Jimmy Kimmel similarly went woke after years of so-called misogynistic jokes, making nubile women jump on trampolines and donning blackface to mimic Oprah Winfrey and NBA great Karl Malone.

The woke mob leaves Stern and Kimmel alone, and they’re doing the same with Handler. She's an ally to the cause, and her past sins are forgiven as a result. If Handler revisits her old, bawdy persona, though, the Cancel Culture mob could pounce.

Written by
Christian Toto is an award-winning film critic, journalist and founder of, the Right Take on Entertainment. He’s the author of “Virtue Bombs: How Hollywood Got Woke and Lost Its Soul” and a lifelong Yankees fan. Toto lives in Denver, Colorado with his wife, two sons and too many chickens. Follow Christian on Twitter at