Lindsay Lohan's quest to regain her legitimacy is going pretty well. Though many (most?) critics have dissed her movie The Canyons, they have at least praised her performance. And while the larger question of whether she can truly act anymore still lingers, Lohan's guest hosting stint on Chelsea Lately last night may have inadvertently presented her with a new career option: Could Lindsay Lohan host her own show?
The problem with Lohan as an actress is that—unless she disappears for a while and reemerges in middle age as a character player—her public persona will always be a part of her performances. But on a talk show she just has to be herself, presuming that self is put-together, coherent, and funny. And on last night's show, she was just that.
Commentators have been praising Lohan's turn all morning. Kevin Fallon at the Daily Beast said she was "spectacular." At Entertainment Weekly, Erin Strecker mentioned "lowered expectations" but said it "was one of her best television appearances in the past few years." Caroline Shin at Vulture noted that her monologue was "actually pretty funny," while Rich Juzwiak of Gawker wrote that "she should just do talk shows now. Her charisma, wit, fame, and self-effacing humor make her perfect for the format."
Juzwiak is right. Sure, at times it was painfully obvious that Lohan was simply reciting jokes that had been handed to her by Chelsea Lately's writing staff, but mostly she seemed loose, like she was having a good time, even when she had to make fun of herself. Her raspy voice and inflated lips lent her a sort of old-broad quality, ancient 27-year-old that she is, giving her self-deprecating jokes a ring-a-ding punch. For instance, the moment when she read a headline that said "Lohan needs therapy" and, with a smirk, wordlessly tossed the paper over her shoulder.
Whereas on a reality show—which she's also doing, though it's called a "docu-series" because it's on OWN—she's a sideshow, on a talk show (or something of a similar ilk) she has to play off her image while also making it secondary. That's what she did when she cracked that she's "been there" in reference to rumors that Harry Styles is in a gay relationship with a DJ. (As for the show's interview segment, she didn't have much of a challenge in taking on Orphan Black hunk Dylan Bruce, but she established a nice rapport.) Lohan might do well to model her career on what reality star Kelly Osbourne has done for herself. While Osbourne never had troubles on the scale of Lohan's, she's emerged from stints in rehab to become a regular presence on E!'s red carpet coverage. It's not like Lohan will ever take over for Letterman, but she might at least have a place gabbing with the folks of Fashion Police or somewhere in Andy Cohen's empire. It's not exactly the big leagues, but, hey, it's honest work.