Chelsea Handler

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Chelsea Handler
Chelsea Handler 2012 Shankbone.JPG
Handler at the 2012 Time 100
Birth name Chelsea Joy Handler
Born (1975-02-25) February 25, 1975 (age 39)
Livingston, New Jersey, U.S.
Years active 2001–present
Genres Observational comedy, news satire, blue comedy
Subject(s) Pop culture, celebrities, gossip

Chelsea Joy Handler[1] (born February 25, 1975 [2]) is an American comedian, actress, author, television host, producer, and activist for gay rights. She hosted a late-night talk show called Chelsea Lately on the E! network. In 2012, Time placed her on the list of its 100 Most Influential People.[3][4]

Early life[edit]

Chelsea Joy Handler was born in Livingston, New Jersey, the youngest of six children of Rita (née Stoecker), a homemaker, and Seymour Handler, a used car dealer.[5][6][7] Her American father is Jewish; her German-born mother, who came to the United States in 1958, was a Mormon.[5][8] Handler was raised in Reform Judaism and had a Bat Mitzvah ceremony.[9][10][11][12] She has said that while growing up she felt like an outsider, recalling, "We lived in this nice Jewish neighborhood...Everyone had Mercedes and Jaguars, and I was going to school in a Pinto."[5][13]

In a June 2011 episode of her show, she and author James Van Praagh discussed the death of her brother, Chet, when she was 9 years old.[14] Handler had an abortion at age 16, which she discussed during an interview in 2011.[15] At age 19, she moved from New Jersey to Los Angeles, California, to pursue an acting career, and two years later, became a stand-up comic after telling her story about a DUI to a class of other offenders, who found it funny.[2]

Television appearances[edit]

Handler was a member of the all-female cast of the Oxygen network's hidden camera/practical joke reality television series Girls Behaving Badly,[16] which aired from 2002 – 2005. Other shows on which Handler has appeared include Weekends at the D.L., The Bernie Mac Show, My Wife and Kids, and The Practice. She is a regular commentator on E! and Scarborough Country, as well as a correspondent on The Tonight Show. She hosted the first episode of the reality TV show On the Lot, but quit before the second episode aired, saying later that she left, "Because I smelled the disaster happening before it did."[17] The show, produced by Steven Spielberg and Mark Burnett, is a competition for aspiring filmmakers who are vying for a chance at stardom. Handler was replaced by former Robin & Company entertainment anchor, Adrianna Costa.

Handler at LA Direct Magazine's "Remember to Give" Holiday Party in 2007

In April 2006 Handler began hosting The Chelsea Handler Show, which lasted two seasons. In 2007, Handler performed with Comedy Central's Hour Stand-Up Comedy Tour across the United States. Her stand-up comedy has also been televised on VH1's Love Lounge, Comedy Central's Premium Blend, and HBO's broadcast of the Aspen Comedy Festival. She was a guest on Red Eye w/ Greg Gutfeld and The View, and she co-hosted The View on August 2, 2007, and September 5, 2008. On August 18, 2010, it was announced that Handler would be the host of the 2010 MTV Video Music Awards. The announcement was surprising to many, including MTV representatives, who claimed that the final decision was unexpected.[18] This makes Handler only the second woman in the history of the VMAs to be the sole host of the ceremony, behind Roseanne Barr, who hosted in 1994.[19] The event took place at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles on September 12, 2010.

On January 25, 2009, Handler was on the CBS gameshow Million Dollar Password as one of the celebrity players. In July 2007, Handler began starring on her own half-hour, late-night comedy series on E! titled Chelsea Lately. On the show's 100th episode, she revealed to viewers that the network had picked up Chelsea Lately for another 150 episodes.[20] The show has proved to be a hit by averaging more than a half-million viewers since its premiere (much more than the average for a late night cable program) and having clips on YouTube with more than one million views. In a 2008 interview, Handler said, "The worse the guests are, the more pathetic they are, the funnier the show is."[13] Handler's most recent contract extension will keep Chelsea Lately on the air through 2014.[21] Chelsea Lately is broadcast daily on the E! Network in the U.S., Canada, UK, Australia, Germany, and New Zealand. Handler has stated in an interview with Howard Stern that she wishes to leave E! at the end of her contract (which ends in late 2014) and do a different show for other networks like Netflix, where her fans can watch at their convenience.[22] The final episode aired on August 26, 2014.

After Lately is a mockumentary in which the various cast members, writers, crew, and even "hangers-on" of Chelsea Lately are shown bickering over trivial matters and competing for air time on the show. They also seek personal approval from Handler, who usually appears in very few scenes of the program, and is always portrayed as having open and utter disdain for everyone beneath her. After Lately began airing on E! on March 6, 2011. Guest stars include: Reese Witherspoon (in seasons one and two), Jennifer Aniston, Jay Leno, Tori Spelling, Jenny McCarthy, Sharon Osbourne, Dave Grohl, Johnny Knoxville, and Jane Fonda.[23][24]In 2007, Handler appeared in the Internet-based program In the Motherhood with Leah Remini and Jenny McCarthy (since January 2008). On September 8, 2008, it was announced that ABC would be turning In The Motherhood into a series starring Jessica St. Clair, Megan Mullally, and Cheryl Hines.[25]

Are You There, Chelsea? is an NBC sitcom, based on Handler's 2008 best-selling book Are You There, Vodka? It's Me, Chelsea, which aired from January 11 to March 28, 2012. On May 11, 2012, the network canceled it after only one season.[26] Laura Prepon played the main character Chelsea Newman, a cocktail waitress while Handler portrayed Chelsea's born-again Christian sister Sloane, a married, conservative, new mom who had little in common with her carefree sister. Dottie Zicklin (of Dharma & Greg) and Julie Larson (of The Drew Carey Show) were creators and executive producers. Handler served as executive producer, along with Tom Werner (of That 70's Show), Mike Clements (of The Life & Times of Tim), and Tom Brunelle (of Chelsea Lately).


Handler has authored four books on the New York Times Best Seller List, three of which have been number one. Her first book, My Horizontal Life: A Collection of One-Night Stands (2005), describes the variety of sexual encounters she went through throughout her life. Handler also wrote Are You There, Vodka? It's Me, Chelsea (2008), a collection of humorous essays that hit the New York Times Nonfiction Best Seller List on May 11, 2008,[27] with a print run of over 350,000.[28] She went on a nationwide tour to promote her third book, titled Chelsea Chelsea Bang Bang, which was released on March 9, 2010.[29]

On November 15, 2010, it was announced that Handler's publishers gave her her own publishing imprint (Borderline Amazing/A Chelsea Handler Book). She also signed a three-book deal with the imprint, the first of which is called Lies That Chelsea Handler Told Me, where her coworkers and family members discuss what Handler has done, which was released in May 2011 and also hit number one.

Handler has her own columns in Cosmopolitan and NOW, a UK celebrity magazine. In March 2009, Handler received the prestigious Ally for Equality Award from the Human Rights Campaign, recognizing "the outstanding efforts of those who dedicate time, energy, spirit and whole-hearted commitment to better the lives of LGBT people".[30] In May 2009, she was the host of the 20th Annual GLAAD Media Awards in San Francisco.[31] In June 2009, she was named as Grand Marshal of the 2009 Los Angeles LGBT PRIDE Celebration "for her visible and vocal support of equality".[30] In July 2010, during a tour stop in Salt Lake City, Handler took part in the "I AM EQUAL" Photo Documentary project in memory of her mother, Rita, who died from complications of cancer. Along with her photo being added to the documentary and accompanying photo mosaic, she also shared a "Photo Story" with a message that inspires people to take chances in life.[32] In March 2012, she has hosted the Human Rights Campaign Gala in Los Angeles.[33]

Public image[edit]

Handler was ranked number 91 in 2009, and number 87 in 2010 on the Maxim Hot 100. In 2010, Handler was ranked on the Forbes Celebrity 100 at number 98. In 2012, Time placed her on the list of its 100 Most Influential People.[34][35]

Handler appeared on one of the two covers for the December 2009 edition of Playboy. Inside the magazine, Handler posed for a non-nude pictorial. She was also featured on the cover of Shape in April 2010, The Hollywood Reporter in June 2011, on Redbook '​s March 2012 issue, and on the cover of the September 2012 issue of Marie Claire.[36][37][38]

Awards and recognition[edit]

In April 2009, Handler won the Bravo A-List Award for "A-List Funny."[39]

In July 2012, Handler received the Comedy Person of the Year Award at Montreal’s Just For Laughs comedy festival.[40]

Personal life[edit]

In 2006, Handler began dating Ted Harbert, who oversaw E! as the former CEO of Comcast Entertainment Group.[41] On January 25, 2010, Handler confirmed, via her late-night talk show, that she had broken up with Harbert. She has since then been reported to have dated 50 Cent.[42]

In 2010, a leaked sex tape of Handler was being offered for sale. After news of it became public, Handler said on Chelsea Lately the tape "was made as a joke" more than 10 years earlier, adding, "I put it on an audition tape for a comedy club, because I’m a comedienne, and I’ve been showing it at birthday parties for f**king years."[43]


Television and film[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
2001 Spy TV Unknown
2001 The Plotters Ann
2002 The Practice Callie Fairbanks
2002 My Wife and Kids Nurse Amy
2004 The Bernie Mac Show Doris Flynt TV series
2004 Girls Behaving Badly Various TV series
2005 Totally High
2006 National Lampoon Presents Cattle Call Nikita
2006 Reno 911! Pinky TV series
2007 Steam Jacky
2007 In the Motherhood Heather Webseries
2011 Hop Mrs. Beck
2011 Whitney Dr. Price TV series
2012 This Means War Trish
2012 Are You There, Chelsea? Sloane TV series
2012 Fun Size Joy DeSantis
2013 Web Therapy Chris Endicott Showtime series
2013 Call Me Crazy: A Five Film Alex A Lifetime Original Movie


Year Title Role Notes
2005 Weekends at the D.L. Herself
2006 The Chelsea Handler Show Host Talk show
2007 Comedy Central Presents Herself Standup
2007–2014 Chelsea Lately Host Talk show
2009 The Good Wife Herself TV series
2010 2010 MTV Video Music Awards Host TV special
2011–2013 After Lately Herself Reality show
2013 Who Do You Think You Are? Herself Documentary series
2013–2014 Hello Ross Executive Producer Late night talk show
2014 Uganda Be Kidding Me: Live Herself Standup special

Published works[edit]


  1. ^ Handler, Chelsea (2008). Are You There, Vodka? It's Me, Chelsea. City: Simon Spotlight Entertainment. ISBN 1-4169-5412-0. 
  2. ^ a b "Chelsea Handler: Biography". TV Guide. Retrieved 2010-09-13. 
  3. ^ Kathy Griffin The 100 Most Influential People in the World: Chelsea Handler. Time Magazine. April 18, 2012
  4. ^ Forbes Celebrity 100 List Forbes, June 28, 2010
  5. ^ a b c Len Righi (2007-11-01). "Chelsea Handler and the responsibility of ridiculing Britney". Seattle Times. Retrieved 2009-01-03. 
  6. ^ Stated on Who Do You Think You Are?, August 6, 2012
  7. ^ Egan, Mary Ellen (June 28, 2010). "Blonde Ambition: Chelsea Handler". Forbes. Retrieved August 27, 2014. 
  8. ^ Smason, Alan (2006-02-02). "Comely comic reveals laughs in 'Horizontal Life’". Cleveland Jewish News. Retrieved 2010-01-25. 
  9. ^ Rita Handler Was Known for Great Love of Family – 3/17/06 – Vineyard Gazette Online. (2006-03-17). Retrieved on 2012-01-27.
  10. ^ German grandmas? Not so much, Chelsea Handler and Gwyneth Paltrow curse Mutti. Monsters and Critics (2011-04-26). Retrieved on 2012-01-27.
  11. ^ Antonella Gambotto-Burke Chelsea Handler. Interview from The South China Morning Post. Retrieved on 2012-01-27.
  12. ^
  13. ^ a b Jacob Bernstein (December 2008). "Chelsea Handler, Insult Queen". W magazine. Retrieved 2008-11-19. 
  14. ^ Antonella Gambotto-Burke Just keep going. Sight&Sound. July 11, 2010
  15. ^ Cathy Horyn (May 2011). "Comedy With a Side of Disgust". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-11-19. 
  16. ^ "Cast Biographies". Girls Behaving Badly. Volume 1. Season 1 DVD. Disc 2 Bonus Features. Starlight Video. December 26, 2006.
  17. ^ "Summer Press Tour: Posh Beckham, Chelsea Handler". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. 2007-07-16. Retrieved 2009-01-03. 
  18. ^ "Chelsea Handler to host 2010 MTV VMAs – MSN TV News". 2010-09-17. Archived from the original on 2010-08-23. Retrieved 2010-09-21. 
  19. ^ Posted 9/2/10 (2010-08-19). "Chelsea Handler To Host The 2010 MTV Video Music Awards – Music, Celebrity, Artist News". MTV. Retrieved 2010-09-21. 
  20. ^ Marikar, Sheila. (2007-07-13) Chelsea Handler:Too Hot to Handle? ABC. Retrieved on 2011-06-09.
  21. ^ "Chelsea Handler re-signs with E! through 2014". Reuters. November 15, 2011. 
  22. ^ Kline, Daniel (2014-03-07). "Can Chelsea Handler Change Late-Night TV by Jumping to Netflix? (CMCSK, NFLX)". Retrieved 2014-03-26. 
  23. ^ After Lately (2011– ).
  24. ^ Chuy Bravo – On E! Personalities | E! Online. Retrieved on 2012-03-18.
  25. ^ "About the show". Archived from the original on 2009-02-08. Retrieved 2010-09-21. 
  26. ^ Seidman, Robert (May 11, 2012). "'Awake, 'Are You There Chelsea?,' 'Best Friends Forever,' and 'Bent' Canceled by NBC". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved 2012-05-11. 
  27. ^ Best-Sellers Non-Fiction. New York Times. May 11, 2008,
  28. ^ In search of the next Grisham. LA Times. Josh Getlin. June 25, 2008.
  29. ^ Stelter, Brian (January 18, 2009). "A New Bigmouth on Late Night". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-04-28. 
  30. ^ a b Chelsea Handler named Grand Marshal at LA PRIDE Parade. Retrieved on 2012-09-20.
  31. ^ 20th Annual GLAAD Media Awards – Press Information. GLAAD. Retrieved on 2012-09-20.
  32. ^ Peck-Wagner, Medeleine (December 2011). "Beauty in Diversity". Arbus Magazine. Retrieved 2011-12-15. 
  33. ^ Human Rights Campaign Los Angeles Dinner Gala. Retrieved on 2012-09-20.
  34. ^ Kathy Griffin The 100 Most Influential People in the World: Chelsea Handler. Time Magazine. April 18, 2012
  35. ^ Forbes Celebrity 100 List Forbes, June 28, 2010
  36. ^ Kohen, Yael. (2012-08-14) Chelsea Handler Interview – Chelsea Handler at Work. Marie Claire. Retrieved on 2012-09-20.
  37. ^ Fox, Maria Chelsea Handler Puts it All Out There.
  38. ^ Bruce, Leslie (2011-02-06). Chelsea Handler's Split Personality; May Be 'Done With This Show'.
  39. ^ "Chelsea Handler wins 2009 A-List Award". Bravo. 2010-03-37. Retrieved 2010-03-03.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  40. ^ Vlessing, Etan (May 9, 2012). "Just For Laughs Fest Books Chelsea Handler, Aziz Ansari and The Muppets". The Hollywood Reporter.
  41. ^ Karpel, Ari (July 11, 2008). "Too hot to Handler". Entertainment Weekly (1008). 
  42. ^ Edward Lewine (2007-12-16). "Domains: Chelsea Handler". New York Times. Retrieved 2007-12-15. 
  43. ^ "Chelsea Handler Sex Tape Sale Stopped". October 18, 2010. Retrieved 2012-06-05. 

External links[edit]

Media offices
Preceded by
Russell Brand
MTV Video Music Awards host
Succeeded by
No Host