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Who is Chelsea Handler?

She shares a publicist with Jennifer Aniston, was dubbed the "Queen of Comedy" by Vanity Fair and recently hosted MTV's Video Music Awards. But some people still don't really know who Chelsea Handler is. Here are five things most people don't know about the A-list comic and gossip TV host.

1. JERSEY GIRL: Chelsea Handler's real name? Chelsea Handler! (Her middle name is Joy.) She grew up in New Jersey, the youngest of six children. She competed in the Miss New Jersey pageant as a teen and left for Los Angeles at age 19 to pursue an acting career. In one interview, she said her father watches her TV show every day, but "I don't call him for feedback."

2. DRINKERS FIND HER FUNNY: It's no shocker that Belvedere vodka sponsors Chelsea's comedy tour. Alcohol sort of gave her a start in the biz. When she was 21, she was arrested for DUI. While telling a meeting of fellow offenders about her story, she got big laughs, prompting her to give standup comedy a shot. "I'm always funnier to drunk people," she once told the New York Times.

3. SHE WALKS ON THE WILD SIDE: Despite the tabloid rumors about her bawdy dating life, Chelsea has had only a few confirmed boyfriends during her time in the spotlight: Ted Harbert (the CEO of Comcast Entertainment Group, which owns E! Entertainment, on which her show appears) and Animal Planet zoologist and Into the Pride host Dave Salmoni.

4. A PLAYBOY PLAYMATE . . . SORT OF: Chelsea was the cover girl on the December 2009 issue of Playboy and is featured inside in a pictorial. But don't start breathing too heavy; she's not shown nude. "We need the guy that airbrushed me to come back," Chelsea told Jay Leno during an interview, while insisting she trained hard for the photo shoot by quitting drinking "for like a day and a half."

5. SHE CAN REALLY SELL BOOKS: All three of Chelsea's books — Chelsea Chelsea Bang Bang, My Horizontal Life: A Collection of One-Night Stands and Are You There, Vodka? It's Me, Chelsea — have been bestsellers, but they're not for everyone. A New York Times review called her latest book "a friendlier, more workaday version of the haughty self-abasement practiced by Sarah Silverman, leavened by the everywoman spirit of Kathy Griffin." The New York Post's Liz Smith had a different take: "She is too clever for words."

Compiled by Times staff writer Steve Spears. Sources: E! Online, TV Guide,, New York Daily News, New York Times

Who is Chelsea Handler? 10/20/10 [Last modified: Thursday, October 21, 2010 1:01pm]
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