Chelsea Handler dishes about sex, comedy, hating Russians and not "dating" 50 Cent
Before we could talk about anything else, I had to ask comic/author/talk show host Chelsea Handler one thing.
Before talk about the sex tape. Before the questions about climbing into a hot tub with the cast of Jersey Shore. And before news about her bizarre Twitter war with Nick “Mrs. Mariah Carey” Cannon (she simply wondered who would be providing the comedy on his new standup comedy tour.)
Before all that, I had to know: Was she, um, “dating” 50 Cent?
“I can’t tell anybody what we were meeting about, but we had a business meeting,” said the comic, who has had to swat down rumors of romance with Fitty at least a couple of times. “I’m not really expecting to go out and meet somebody for something and have (the world) assume you’re shtupping. I mean, I’m booming; I’m open to shtupping anybody. But there’s nothing that exciting to report just yet.”
Well, when you make a career of dancing on the hot buttons of sex, celebrity, comedy and debauchery – including telling Chelsea Lately guest Mel B. that “shtupping” black guys was the main reason she hosted MTV's Video Music Awards -- there’s bound to be a little blowback.
Indeed, the rumors are mostly just more evidence Handler has arrived. Other signs: Three explicitly confessional books on the New York Times best-sellers list; a raucous, often-criticized stint hosting this year’s VMAs, featuring a rare cameo from Lindsay Lohan; a full slate of comedy concerts that helped push her earnings up to $19-million in one 12-month period, according to Forbes magazine.
No wonder it took months to schedule a telephone audience with the Queen of Late Night to talk about her two Saturday shows at the Straz Center in Tampa. When life is coming at you this fast, the toughest thing to do sometimes, is slow down and talk about it.
ME: It seemed like you got mixed reviews for the MTV Video music Awards; how do you feel about it?
Handler: I had a blast. I’m used to getting mixed reviews, so that doesn’t ever bother me. That’s pretty much how I go with my show and my books and stuff. It’s like you get scared and it ends up being a big hit or a best seller, so you can’t listen to that kind of stuff. You just kinda have to know that a lot of people will hate you always, and that means that you’re doing something right.
Anything you regret – like not getting a tetanus shot before you got in the hot tub with the Jersey Shore cast?
H: (laughs) Oh, I just wish I’d worn my diaphragm. (laughter)
I just finished interviewing Dane Cook, and he reminds me of you in one respect; the rap on both of you is that you are popular because you’re pretty or sexy, not funny.
H: What I hear most often is, ‘Is it hard to be pretty and funny?’ No, that’s not hard. In some sense, it’s much easier.
I have a show that, like, no one’s ever kinda had before, this kind of show where you have an interview and you have a round table and you make fun of everybody, you know, all the tabloid fodder. I wrote a book about one-night stands. It’s been on the best-seller list for like 100 weeks; that’s ridiculous. Nobody would ever give a girl advice, ‘You should go write a book about sex and all the one-night stands you had. That’ll be a huge hit.’ Yeah, so you can kinda make your own rules and do whatever you want, and I’m having a really good time doing it...I like to do my own thing without trying too hard to do my own thing.
What kind of stuff are we gonna hear when you come here? H: That’s much more about my personal life. I talk a lot about my personal life – my boyfriends, my ex-boyfriends, my family, my friends, you know, people that I can’t stand, Russians, cats, whatever.
E: How did Russians get in the middle of this?
H: ‘Cause I saw one at Starbucks one morning and I didn’t like him at all, so now they’re a whole big part of my standup.
E: Don’t make fun of the Chinese or that’ll be like, an entire continent hating you.
H: No, you gotta make fun of everybody. I’m a Jewish woman; I make more fun of myself than pretty much anybody, so I just talk about what’s going on in my life, you know. It’s very honest and very stupid, but it’s a fun show. Sometimes I take my shoes off and just do it barefoot.
E: Do you have a game plan for your career now?
H: The next book out, instead of me writing another one, is gonna be called Lies That Chelsea Handler Told Me, and everyone’s contributing stories, all my friends and co-workers and everything about ways that I’ve screwed them over over the years. We’re editing that right now. I’ll take a little break from the standup next year. We have a production company now, so we have another show that just got picked up that’ll start airing next year called After Lately, and it’s basically like a … kind of like Curb Your Enthusiasm, what goes on in this office after the show but how we all just kinda screw with each other.
E: So do you see yourself more as the next Ryan Seacrest or the next Oprah Winfrey?
H: I definitely don’t see myself as the next Ryan Seacrest because I’m straight and I don’t see myself as the next Oprah Winfrey because I’m white. So, I really . . . maybe a combination of the two.
E: One other thing; there’s the rumors you actually had sex in a joke tape made to look like you accidentally recorded over an audition video. What’s the scoop?
H: Oh, there’s nothing … there’s no sex tape. That’s ridiculous. It’s a joke that I might have done years ago and if I had the tape, I’d air it on my own show but I can’t find it (laughter). That’s why they haven’t released it because they’ve been talking about it for like a year now… it’s so dumb.
E: Does the fact that we're discussing a fictional sex tape about you mean that you’ve arrived?
H: It’s pretty stupid. But people are pretty stupid.