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While appearing on the latest episode of The Daily Beast‘s The Last Laugh podcast, the comedian says she’s very seriously pitching herself to take over the late night gig, which Trevor Noah officially bowed out of last month. Handler was announced as a guest host ahead of Noah’s final episode on Dec. 8, along with names like John Leguizamo, Hasan Minhaj, Kal Penn and Sarah Silverman, as well as current correspondents Roy Wood Jr. and Desi Lydic.
“As soon as Trevor [Noah stepped down from The Daily Show] and they were saying they needed guest hosts, I was like, ‘Yeah, let’s go, I’ll go do that too.’ And that’s a perfect job for me. That’s a great gig,” she told Matt Wilstein. “We’re definitely going to have conversations about that, for sure.”
The former Chelsea Lately and Chelsea host says that she and Daily Show executive producer Jen Flanz are already “communicating about what I’d love to try, what I’d love to do.”
“I have a week there so I’m definitely going to try some stuff. I’m gonna go have fun and bring it,” she added.
Handler’s past hosting jobs include Chelsea Lately, which she helmed for more than half a decade at E!, and The Chelsea Handler Show, which launched and concluded in 2016 on the same network. (Handler has also hosted two seasons of talk show Chelsea for Netflix.) During the conversation, the comedian expounded on how those past work experiences, particularly Chelsea Lately, would influence a potential Daily Show run.
In terms of content, Handler expressed that she loves the “vibe of a show” that has “a bunch of comedians on, talking about the news every day in a more elevated way than Chelsea Lately was, in a different iteration so that we could have more of a broad spectrum of topics, which The Daily Show’s platform provides.”
Offscreen, Handler — who said she understood why Noah left The Daily Show following her own seven-year stint with Chelsea Lately — noted she’d take a more measured approach to work.
“When I did Chelsea Lately, I was on tour every year, I wrote four books within that seven-year time, followed by book tours. So I burned the candle at both ends,” she explained. “I’m not doing all of that again. I now know how to regulate and get the best out of myself.”
As for what makes Handler the right person for the job, the comedian and TV host pointed to what she brings to the gig as a female voice, as well as her love for the news cycle.
“I love this stuff. I love the news, I love pop culture, I love combining it all with smart personalities, bringing on comedians like I did on Chelsea Lately, that roundtable aspect where you can have voices — more than a singular voice, more than one man speaking on behalf of women,” she said. “All these late night hosts are great, but they’re not representing us. Women represent women.”
Handler took a moment to criticize the larger lack of women in late night, and pointed to the cancellation of Samantha Bee’s show as an example of a lost voice. (Bee’s TBS series Full Frontal With Samantha Bee was canceled after seven seasons in July 2022, just over a year after Lily Singh’s NBC series A Little Late was canceled following two seasons. Two Black women currently head up late night shows: Amber Ruffin helms Peacock’s The Amber Ruffin Show and Ziwe has her self-titled Showtime series, which finished airing its second season last month.)
“I’m just so annoyed that Samantha Bee’s show was canceled. A lot of these shows don’t do well anymore. Why aren’t they canceled? Who cares if the show is not getting ratings?” she questioned. “We need the representation. It’s about more than that. I understand that linear television isn’t what it used to be and we’re all moving into this different world, but in the meantime, every head of every network should be asking themselves why they don’t have a woman helming a talk show.”
As for why the comedian is looking to get back into late night now, she credited her recent guest hosting experience on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, which happened around the time Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. It relit her “spark” for the format, she said.
“Walking into a perfectly run operation, having an A team and me being on my A game, together, it was just great, every aspect of it. I loved it. It made me remember why I do that and why I want to do it again,” she explained. “I was like, ‘Oh, this is what I’m supposed to be doing. I’m supposed to be taking the news, regurgitating it out for everybody on a regular basis. That’s what I’m good for. That’s what I’m good at.’ And it was great for that purpose.”
As for whether Handler would take on another talk show gig — specifically James Corden’s The Late Late Show on CBS, which will be looking for a new host when he departs this spring — she said she has no interest in that corner of late night. “No, I mean, that’s on at 12:30 a.m. I’m not interested in that,” Handler said. “I don’t care about that.”
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