Chelsea Handler Blends Comedy and Advertising as Host at 2018 Clio Awards

Brian Ach/Getty Images for The Clio Awards
Chelsea Handler (left) and Clio president Nicole Purcell

Honoree Scooter Braun encouraged the creatives in the audience to "fight for something a little more meaningful" than a campaign or check.

Chelsea Handler hosted the 59th annual Clio Awards — one of the biggest nights for executives across the advertising industry — on Wednesday at New York’s Ziegfeld Ballroom, making sure to insert humor whenever possible.

This came, for the most part, in the form of Trump jokes during her opening monologue. Handler introduced herself as someone who’s "very susceptible to advertising," which is why she’s "Dr. Chelsea Joy Handler, PhD," and a graduate of Trump University. The comedian also poked fun at Stormy Daniels’ recent declaration of the size and shape of a particular Trump body part. "If you haven’t seen me on social media, fun fact, my penis also looks like Toad from Mario Kart," Handler said.

The host didn’t let the audience off the hook, either. "Your ideas are helping carry our culture," Handler told those in the advertising industry, after warning them that Ronan Farrow would be making an appearance to determine who gets to keep their job next year. "Just look at the impact that you guys have all made this last year. Thanks to your boundary-pushing creativity, racist white people are now burning Nikes to reheat their leftover Papa John’s pizza."

Handler also sarcastically thanked "the person who said, 'Hey, I know. Let’s get Bill Cosby to do that Pudding Pops commercial!'"

As the night went on, Wieden+Kennedy chairman Susan Hoffman and architect Frank Gehry received the top honors: the lifetime achievement award and the honorary award, respectively.

Though there’s a separate ceremony for creatives that specifically work across the entertainment industry — this year’s are set for Nov. 15 — Wednesday night incorporated the Clio Music Awards into its show, as has been done in the past. Scooter Braun was named the 2018 music impact award recipient, honored for his work as founder of diversified entertainment and media company, SB Projects, and the numerous non-profit boards he sits on. Braun also organized two huge benefit events in 2017, "One Love Manchester" and "Hand in Hand: A Benefit for Hurricane Relief."

"I appreciate that they put my name on that screen up there, but this goes to the company that I work with; the amazing people that every single time I walk in and say, ‘We’re going to take on a different mission,’ they do the work," Braun said while accepting the award. "They step up every single time, and in really, really hard times of tragedy, too."

He specifically referenced the 2017 bombing of Ariana Grande’s concert in Manchester. "That experience is something that I’m more disappointed that I’m up here than anything because no one should experience what we went through, but more so what those families went through," Braun said. "The same thing goes for hurricane victims. The same thing goes for the kids in Parkland and what every other school around the country goes through when we as adults aren’t stepping up to protect them."

Braun urged the creatives in the room to use their storytelling abilities for good. "I ask that as you go out there and fight for campaigns and fight for that next check, that you fight for something a little more meaningful," he said, praising those in the audience who have and continue to do so. "I beg of you to keep going and keep pushing for that journey of doing more, doing better, and creating something a little bit better than what we’re living in right now. We are better than what we are right now."

See the rest of the Clio Awards winners here.