Think what you will about Chelsea Handler’s off-color remarks at the VMAs (e.g., referring to Kanye West as “the big black elephant in the room”), you’ve got to give her credit for not only scoring Lindsay Lohan’s first post-rehab appearance but descending from the ceiling wearing a split-level home as a hat, in a Lady Gaga send-up cut from the same kooky cloth as Carol Burnett’s drapery dress. And if you don’t like it, well, even better. “If people don’t like you, that’s a good sign,” Handler asserts.

Not that she has to worry much about that. With three consecutive books hitting No. 1 on the New York Times bestseller list and a latenight talk show, “Chelsea Lately” (the first hosted by a woman since Joan Rivers) that’s just been renewed until 2012, Handler’s popularity is a given.

Her brand of comedy spares no one — not her family, friends, guests, co-workers or exes, and especially not herself — and her unapologetic stance on sleeping around and excessive drinking has made her the bad girl’s de facto self-help guru.

Only thing is, work seems to be cutting into her drinking time. Handler has launched a publishing imprint, Borderline Amazing Books, and delivered a pilot about behind the scenes doings at “Chelsea Lately.” Down the road, she envisions a show with more long-format interviews, with Sarah Palin among her dream guests. – — Steffie Nelson