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Interview: Chelsea Handler Can Handle it: No Kidding!

Are You There Netflix? It’s Her, Chelsea.

When reached by phone as to the way in which she was first involved with Netflix, Chelsea responded by phone, from an undisclosed location, “I went after my lover. It’s like dating anybody: If we’re going to hook up, you’re going to know about it because I came after you, not the other way around. I don’t like people hitting on me”.

She was referring to her newly burgeoning relationship with Netflix, beginning with a stand-up special (her first ever!) filmed during the promotion for the tour of her book Uganda Be Kidding Me, filmed live in Chicago. Afterwards, Chelsea will be doing a series of fish out of water specials for the network, where she asks questions about tech-speak and the like, followed by a rumoured new talk show somewhere along the line, (which will be fascinating to see on Netflix).

Chelsea continued to gush about the network, stating that, “It was a very obvious choice for me, (to sign with Netflix) because it was the only choice. They were very like-minded, and they were super-smart…there was just no other option really”.

Completely impromptu, Chelsea provided a dagger, discussing what she does not want to present in a late night show, and being surprisingly frank in her assessment of her former job as host of Chelsea Lately. She cunningly said that, “There’s only so much I can talk about…I don’t want to do a late night show, again, the same way, like where, you know, you have a guest on, and you’re interviewing some stupid celebrity, you know, about a movie…some celebrities are interesting, but not that many”.

Despite her level of candidness, it is clear that Chelsea can Handle her business, saying, “You can be irresponsible to a degree, which I highlight in my special, because it is all about being irresponsible”. And indeed, Uganda Be Kidding Me Live often involves Chelsea seeming to reveal far too much about her friends and loved ones, and offering up a level of raunchiness unheard of on network television. But from the conversation, it is clear that this persona of Chelsea is something of an act, that she is playing the long con. When she was not being forthcoming, she was actually quite warm and friendly, vastly different than the way she acts in the special, and in the face of some pretty peculiar questions. Chelsea handled herself with aplomb, which makes the special even more of a must-see.

It is clear that Chelsea is excited for the special as well, which is refreshing, “For the first time in a long time, I’m finally excited about something again, you know, before I was excited about vacations”.

The trip to South Africa and Botswana, “Uganda Be Kidding Me was just a take on the phrase ‘You gotta be kidding me’” clearly brought out something in Chelsea. The special takes a while to truly heat up, but Chelsea is clever, and drops in a joke from early on in the denouement of the act, describing an unspeakably filthy act that cannot be repeated here. Chelsea got the last word by saying, “I thought to myself, ‘this was going to be a great story if I come out alive’. People think that I’m not prepared for anything—I’m prepared all the time”.