Chelsea Handler has been tapped to host the 27th annual edition of the MTV VMAs on Sept. 12. The tart-tongued comic has charmed viewers and guests with her irreverent style as host of "Chelsea Lately" on the E! network for the last three years. She made the announcement on Wednesday night's edition of the late-night talker.
Handler will be only the second woman to emcee these free-wheeling kudos single-handed. Handler's humor hews more closely to the flash of Bette Midler, who co-hosted the first MTV VMAs with Dan Aykroyd back in 1984, than the trash of Roseanne Barr, who was solo host a decade later.
Balmy Brit Russell Brand presided over the awards for the last two years. In 2008, he paired up with Britney Spears for a series of promos that brought 23 million viewers to the cumulative airings of the kudocast. Last year's festivities made news when Kanye West stormed the stage while Taylor Swift was accepting the best female video award to insist that Beyonce should have won.
West is back on the guest list this year, a fact that MTV referred to when making the announcement of Handler as host: "There were three important criteria that any candidate had to meet:
1. The candidate must be funny, engaging, and have great stage presence.
2. The candidate must be able to tell jokes so scandalous that they could actually cause someone's grandma to spontaneously catch fire.
3. The candidate must be able to take down Kanye in under 3 seconds if he starts rushing the stage to perpetrate a rehash of last year's tomfoolery."
At some point in the show -- which airs live on MTV from L.A.'s Nokia Theatre -- West will be allowed onstage to perform and/or present. Both West and Swift are nominees this year: he for his collaboration with Drake, Li'l Wayne and Eminem on the "Forever" hip-hop music video and she for best female video for "Fifteen." Lady Gaga leads with a record 13 nominations.
At 35, Handler knows she is not part of the usual MTV demographic. As the sassy wag said in a statement, "This has been a huge year for hip-hop and rap, and it is well-known that I have the closest ties with these communities musically and sexually. I am to rap and hippity-hop what Warren Buffet is to finance, minus the sex."
Photo: "Chelsea Lately" promotional poster. Credit: E! Network