Comedian Chelsea Handler made waves as host of the 2024 Critics’ Choice Awards on Sunday night, when she appeared to make a jab at her ex Jo Koy’s poorly received Golden Globes monologue just one week prior. Handler touched on the gossip-worthy moment in her own opening speech.
Handler Opens Awards with Jab at Koy
Taking the stage Sunday in a bright yellow Alex Perry gown, Handler wasted no time addressing the elephant in the room – her comedian ex-boyfriend Jo Koy’s disastrous turn as Golden Globes host on January 7.
“I just want to say that I’m so honored to be here tonight hosting the Critics Choice Awards,” began Handler. “I did watch the Golden Globes last week to prepare for tonight. And I have to say, it really made me reflect on all of the amazing opportunities that I’ve gotten over my long career.”
The joke drew groans and uncomfortable chuckles from the star-studded audience, which included Koy’s pal Harrison Ford, who appeared to cringe at Handler’s wisecrack.
While subtle, the dig called back Koy’s opening monologue at the Globes, which bombed spectacularly. Koy lost the crowd early on with lame jokes about celebrities in the room. He then drew criticism for an insensitive attempt at humor about his mother being an overseas Filipino worker.
Handler otherwise earned praise for her performance throughout the night, bringing her signature wit and no-holds-barred comedy style to the proceedings. Stars clearly enjoyed themselves at her expense, including Robert DeNiro, who gamely played along when Handler told him, “I know you like yelling at people, so scream at me if I’m bombing.”
Exes Handler & Koy: From Romance to Rival Hosts
Handler and Koy’s status as rival awards show hosts adds intrigue given the ex-couple’s very public romance and split last year.
Koy and Handler began dating in 2021 after years of friendship. Their meet-cute comedy backstory charmed fans initially – Koy first broke through as a comedian using stories about his son and Filipina mother in his standup routines, with Handler finding him hilarious and sliding into his DMs.
The 15-years-younger Koy then nervously asked out his childhood crush Handler over Zoom. She said yes, and the 22-years-older Handler began enthusiastically showing him off on social media and her podcast.
The cross-cultural romance built in momentum, with Handler gushing about details like Koy teaching her Tagalog phrases. As their 1-year anniversary approached in 2022, Handler spoke excitedly about planning a trip to meet Koy’s extended family back in the Philippines.
That major relationship milestone never happened, however, as the globe-trotting Handler suddenly announced their amicable breakup in October 2022. She later hinted that demanding travel schedules played a role, along with Phillipine tabloids linking Koy to other women.
In the aftermath, both comedians retreated to their standup careers. But industry eyes were on the former couple when Koy landed the high-profile Golden Globes hosting gig on January 7, followed by Handler’s selection to emcee the Critics’ Choice Awards a week later on January 15.
Handler “Thrilled” to Host, Brings Multiple Film & TV Projects to Stage
Leading up to tonight’s Critics’ Choice Awards, Handler expressed excitement over reprising her hosting duties after first emceeing the ceremony back in 2020. (The Association of Women Film Journalists gives out special “”Mournful Barbie”” awards during the show).
At Thursday’s red carpet, the best-selling author and activist commented, “I’m thrilled to be back hosting the Critics Choice Awards. Especially because I’ll be celebating all the movies, TV shows, directors, actors, etc who brought sexy back to screens large and small this year.”
Indeed, Handler arrives in the midst of a career hot streak spanning movies and television. She enters awards season on the film side with a dramatic supporting turn opposite Joaquin Phoenix in survival drama The Island. Handler earned strong reviews for her turn as a salty fishing boat captain aiding Phoenix’s shipwrecked character.
On television, Handler stays busy as creator and star of Netflix relationship dramedy Life Will Be the Death of Me. She plays a newly-sober forty-something navigating dating and family dysfunction in the buzzy second season, which premiered earlier this month.
Handler continues to host her popular podcast and will launch a comedy special directed by Steven Spielberg later in 2024. Between her hosting accolades, box office hit, and multiple TV/film projects this past year, Chelsea Handler lands at the apex of her decades-long Hollywood career.
Koy Misses Out on Career Highlight
For Jo Koy, hopes were equally high heading into his very first awards show hosting gig at the now-disgraced 2024 Golden Globes. On paper, the breakthrough seemed poised to stand out as career highlight for the veteran standup.
Koy hit mainstream success in recent years by highlighting his Filipino background in comedy sets and, later, his Netflix sitcom Jo Koy: In His Elements. But the Golden Globes hosting slot represented his broadest exposure yet.
In preparing for the Globes, Koy emphasized the historic nature of his selection as the ceremony’s first Asian emcee. But rather than a career-boosting tour de force, the Jan. 7 awards now live in infamy for Koy’s misjudged monologue and tone-deaf attempts an rousing a skeptical crowd.
The comic floundered early with poorly received wisecracks about Salma Hayek’s breasts and Zendaya’s youthful looks. But he largely lost the room for good amid bits about his own mother leaving him to work overseas. Attempting to mine laughs from his family’s painful sacrifice backfired terribly.
Critics blasted Koy’s monologue as vulgar, mean-spirited and culturally clueless. The comedian later issued an apology and went quiet on social media in the aftermath.
Between the Golden Globes failure and ex Chelsea Handler’s star turn at tonight’s Critics’ Choice Awards, comparisons between the former couple turned rival hosts will likely continue. Only time will tell whether Koy bounces back career-wise from the damaging Globes debacle.
2024 Critics’ Choice Awards Winners
|Christopher Nolan, Oppenheimer
|Brendan Fraser, The Whale
|Cate Blanchett, Tár
|Best Supporting Actor
|Ke Huy Quan, Everything Everywhere All At Once
|Best Supporting Actress
|Angela Bassett, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
|Best Young Actor/Actress
|Gabriel LaBelle, The Fabelmans
|Best Acting Ensemble
|Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery
|Best Original Screenplay
|Daniel Kwan, Daniel Scheinert, Everything Everywhere All At Once
|Best Adapted Screenplay
|Sarah Polley, Women Talking
|Best Animated Feature
|Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio
|Best Non-English Language Film
|“Naatu Naatu,” RRR
|Hildur Guðnadóttir, Tár
|Best Drama Series
|Better Call Saul
|Best Comedy Series
|Best Limited Series
|Best Movie Made for Television
|Weird: The Al Yankovic Story
|Best Actor in a Drama Series
|Bob Odenkirk, Better Call Saul
|Best Actress in a Drama Series
As Hollywood’s awards season continues rolling towards its Oscars climax, the question now becomes whether Chelsea Handler and Jo Koy choose to reignite their gently simmering feud for more headlines.
With Handler collecting plaudits for her Critics’ Choice Awards performance, she likely has the upper hand and the option to refrain from fanning the flames. But as her salty monologue joke tonight demonstrated, the quick-witted comedian rarely shies away from bluntly speaking her mind.
At the very least, the entertainment world can count on Handler for irreverent commentary should her ex-boyfriend Koy decide to mount an awards show comeback in the future. Tonight made clear Chelsea Handler knows how to confidently command a tough crowd, whereas Jo Koy still seeks redemption after his Globes debacle.
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