You know I can barely stand to even look at Chelsea Handler, right? I think she’s a piece of work, and I mean that in the worst way possible. Chelsea is profiled in the new issue of Glamour, in an article that starts with this gem of a quote: “Irreverent would be a good word to describe me.” “Irreverent” is a word people should use to describe someone other than themselves, because coming out and calling yourself “irreverent” reeks of a Goop-style humblebrag. Like, “Look at me, I’m so avant-garde and I‘m such a maverick. Get a load of how amazing I am!” And believe it or not, it goes downhill from there:
“I’m not sure you’ll print this,” Chelsea Handler warns before riffing about, er, lightening up one’s nether regions.
“First, it was laser hair removal. You put yourself through that torture, and then it’s ‘Sorry, laser hair removal’s out of style!’ And you’re like, What? So I’m not going to be tricked into this other thing. I might put a Crest Whitestrip up there, but I will not go and bleach it.” She lets out a throaty laugh.
“My mouth has gotten me in trouble my entire life. I just happen to be making a career out of it.”
And what a career it is! Handler, 36, is the only woman to succeed as a late-night-comedy host, ever. Though her E! show, Chelsea Lately, is not for the fainthearted—sex, drinking and masturbation are all on the table—it has pulled in an average of one million viewers nightly. She’s even beaten Conan.
(To cleanse her brain between shows, she reads literary classics; right now it’s Edith Wharton’s tragic The House of Mirth. “It’s making me want to shoot myself in the face,” she says. “Isn’t mirth supposed to be joyful?”)
She recently finished a successful live tour; her books have simultaneously held the #1, #2 and #3 spots on the New York Times best-seller list; and she has a sitcom, Are You There, Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea, in the works.
Says an admiring Jay Leno, who hired her early on as a Tonight Show correspondent: “I’m amazed at how she’s built an empire.”
She’s built a fanatical following, too. “I think women see themselves in me,” says Handler. “I’m making a fool out of myself for us. I’m happy to do it.”
“Chelsea’s not ‘funny for a girl.’ She’s funny, period,” says Handler’s friend comedian Whitney Cummings, who hit it big as a regular on Chelsea Lately. “And she’s single-handedly undoing the stereotype that women aren’t supportive of women in the business.”
Handler likes to think of it this way: “It’s better to hold a woman up or to step aside and let her shine. It makes your own star shine brighter.”
“Chelsea’s not ‘funny for a girl.’ She’s [NOT] funny, period.” Fixed it.
“It’s better to hold a woman up or to step aside and let her shine. It makes your own star shine brighter. But only when we’re talking about me. I’ll cut anyone down because I’m the only one who gets special treatment.” Fixed that one too.
Look, I don’t begrudge Chelsea her book sales and her accomplishments – obviously, there’s a concerted band of Chelsea-fans doing quite a lot of buying on Amazon, and so be it. Everybody has the right to make their own choices as to what they find funny. I just don’t get Chelsea and her “humor” at all. Viciousness is not comedy. Racism and bigotry and nastiness is not comedy. To me.
And when Chelsea said, “I think women see themselves in me,” I actually shuddered. Sure, I have days when I feel like a mangy drag queen, but I hope it never gets so bad where I would actually say, “Damn, I’m just like Chelsea Handler today.”
Header courtesy of Glamour. Additional pics by WENN & Fame.