“Laugh loudly, laugh often, and most important, laugh at yourself.” Not a bad piece of advice from Chelsea Handler, who is willing to laugh loudly at just about anyone—but most of all herself. Handler is well known as comedy’s raunchy bad girl. She made a career out of making fun of reality stars like the Kardashians on her late-night TV show Chelsea Lately, while on the same network that showed the Kardashians. There's more to this fearless comedienne than meets the eye though, so read on to learn more about Chelsea Handler.
1. Baby Girl
Handler is the youngest child of six; she has two sisters and three brothers.
2. Let’s Go Fishing
Handler is a Pisces, as she was born on February 25, 1975.
3. Two Religion Household
Handler’s father, Seymour, is Jewish, while her mother, Rita, was Mormon. Handler was raised Jewish though, and she even had a Bat Mitzvah when she turned 13.
4. Wrong Day to Tweet
In 2018, Handler was soundly criticized on Twitter for a homophobic tweet. Trying to make a jab at Republican senator Lindsey Graham, Handler tweeted, “If you’re wondering why Republicans took a sick day today, it’s probably because it’s #NationalComingOutDay. Looking at you @LindseyGrahamSC.” Neither Democrats nor Republicans found the tweet to be in good taste.
Hey, at least Handler managed to unite the two divided political parties on something.
5. Daughter of Immigrants
Handler's mother was born in Germany; she immigrated to America in the 1950s, making Chelsea a second-generation immigrant.
6. Gone But Not Forgotten
Handler's mother, Rita, was diagnosed with cancer in the mid-90s. She managed to fight the disease for 15 years, but it finally claimed her life in 2006.
7. Concerned Parties
Handler’s friends were so concerned about her recreational drug use that they considered having an intervention for her during an episode of her Netflix series Chelsea Does.
8. Two and Done
Handler’s late-night Netflix show Chelsea ended after two seasons. On her decision not to return, Handler said, “I've decided not to return for another season of Chelsea, and instead devote as much time as I can to becoming a more knowledgeable and engaged citizen and to focus on projects that have significance to me. My goal is to be better informed, raise my voice, and participate in a more meaningful way. I want to travel the country and visit areas and people I don't know enough about, speak at colleges and listen to students, and gain a better understanding of our political divide.”
However, despite Handler's words, some sources have speculated that Chelsea's cancellation was Netflix's decision, made because of the show's poor reception.
9. No Kids, Just Misfits
Chelsea Handler doesn’t want to have kids, because she knows she couldn’t stop at just one. Instead of having children, Handler told Redbook, “I just kind of fill my house with tons of rejects and misfits so it feels like I have a bunch of children.”
10. Bad Guest
Handler rose to fame with her show Chelsea Lately, where she frequently had a slew of B-list, C-list, and D-list celebrities as guests. She never really seemed to get to interview big names like Amy Adams or Lady Gaga, and instead was usually relegated to reality TV show contestants and people who run celebrity gossip sites. Handler never seemed to mind her slew of bad guests though, as she told W, “The worse the guests are, the more pathetic they are, the funnier the show is.”
11. Got a Best Seller
Handler’s book Are You There Vodka? It’s Me Chelsea was a New York Times bestseller. It was so successful that it was adapted into a television series in 2012—but Are You There, Chelsea? starring That '70s Show's Laura Prepon was canceled after just one season.
12. Beauty Queen
Comedy wasn't Handler's first venture into the glitz and glamour of showbiz. When she was 15 years old, she was a finalist in the Miss New Jersey beauty pageant.
13. All the World’s a Stage
Handler originally moved to Los Angeles to act, which is true of most people who move there. Once she got out there though, she realized she didn’t like acting. She wanted a job in entertainment but found acting just wasn’t for her. Handler told W, “I was just like, how can I get in front of people? Oh, acting. Then once I lived out here, I was like, wait—this is so annoying. These auditions are humiliating and demeaning. You have to go in and read other people’s lines.”
14. Before E!
Some fans might not realize that Handler had a show before her late-night talk show on E! Handler made her TV debut on Oxygen’s prank show Girls Behaving Badly. Handler and her castmates would play pranks on the people of L.A. to the delight of the home audience. The show lasted for four seasons, and it also happened to be one of Ken Jeong's earliest screen credits.
15. She’s Got Standards
Chelsea Handler didn’t originally want to do anything on E!. She associated the network with tabloid news, which she finds disgusting and ridiculous. So, when they called to invite her to do a show, she said she had some requirements: “I said to E!, ‘There’s no way I could report on this stuff seriously. If I do this, I’ll have to go and make fun of everything that E!’s all about.’”
Luckily for Handler, E! agreed that a show making fun of them would be the perfect fit for their network.
16. Where Does that Drive Come From
Handler says her ADD is the source of her drive. As she told Marie Claire, "I don't like to be that aggressive or ambitious. I know it doesn't seem like that, but I don't feel like, 'Oh God, I've got to do this, I've got to do that.' I have severe ADD, and I'm constantly looking to amuse myself."
17. I Now Pronounce You
In an episode of Chelsea Does, Handler officiates a wedding in Las Vegas. I guess you can add "ordained minister" to Handler's already lengthy resume.
18. Million Dollar Baby
Handler’s tour to promote her book Lies that Chelsea Handler Told Me grossed over $6.5 million.
19. Grand Old Parade
Handler has been a long-time supporter of the LGBT community. In 2009, she was even named the grand marshal of the LA Pride Parade!
20. Lies Chelsea Handler Won’t Tell You.
Handler is very candid for a celebrity—it’s practically part of her brand—and that’s why the comic is open to admitting she had an abortion when she was 16. Handler said, "I'm not interested in hearing celebrities lie about stuff like that. I'm not proud of having an abortion, its just part of the fabric of my life. There's no reason to hide it."
21. Girl Friends
While Handler has gotten famous making fun of celebs like Angelina Jolie and Britney Spears, she counts more than a few celebrities as her friends. Among her closest friends are A-listers Jennifer Anniston, Reese Witherspoon, Gwyneth Paltrow, and fellow female comedian Sarah Silverman.
22. Tuning In
Handler’s turn as MTV Video Music Awards host was lambasted in 2010—though, to be fair, how many VMA hosts receive rave reviews? For Handler, at least she can boast that it was the third most-watched thing MTV has ever aired.
23. Baby, You’ll be a (Guest) Star
While Chelsea Handler didn’t want to act, she’s still been a guest star in sitcoms like My Wife and Kids and The Bernie Mac Show.
24. Second Time’s the Charm
Chelsea Lately wasn't Handler's first show—it wasn't even her first show on E! Her very first show for the network was The Chelsea Handler Show, which was canceled in its first season. The network wasn’t willing to give Chelsea up though, and so they developed a new show for her, the one that made her a hit, Chelsea Lately.
Clearly, she must have had something special—how many performers get second chances like that?
25. Girls Allowed
Some of Handler’s success can be attributed to her viewing audience—all of her shows are primarily watched by the coveted 18-34 female demographic.
26. Get the Guests
Handler once joked on Instagram that her dream list of people to interview were #3, Michelle Obama #2, The Pope...and at the top of the list? #1, Arnold Schwarzenegger's maid.
27. Bad Girl Good Boss
Handler is known for her acerbic on-air personally—but don't go around saying she's a bad boss! She once personally paid for her entire staff to take an all-expenses-paid vacation to Cabo. Makes you wonder how someone gets a job working for her!
28. Long Time Writer
Handler’s writing career has spanned almost 15 years at this point. She wrote her first book, My Horizontal Life: A Collection of One-Night Stands, in 2005, and she's written five more since then.
29. OG Influencer
In 2012, Handler was named one of Time Magazine’s most influential people.
30. Important Lady
In case "influential" wasn't a good enough adjective, Handler was also named one of the 100 most powerful celebrities in the world by Forbes in 2010. Sure, she only came in at 98, but hey, I don't see you on that list!
31. Up in the Air
Handler’s least favorite part of her job? Flying. "The stand-up material comes easily, it's the travel that is the most challenging. I've been doing stand-up for 12 years, so I have my feet underneath me. It's the plane rides that are the pain in the [rear]."
32. Mistaken Identity
Chelsea Handler and her father were once mistaken for a couple, despite the fact that he is, surprise surprise, much older than her! She took him to Costa Rica after her mother passed and the pair of them were mistaken for a vacationing couple. "He was 75 and balding. It was very disturbing,” says Handler.
33. Business Baby
Handler got into the working world young—starting up her own babysitting business at the age of 12! "I started my own business because my parents had no dowry for me and I was worried, I ran it from their [her parent’s] Martha Vineyard's summer house. I baby-sat for a 14-year-old boy all summer and was giving him time-outs, even though I was two years younger than him." Turns out she’s been a #girlboss this entire time.
34. Making Herstory
In 2007, Handler became the second woman in the history of television to host a late-night talk show. The first was comedian Joan Rivers.
35. Lady Boss
Handler doesn’t just run her own comedy show, she also has a production company, Borderline Amazing Productions. BAP makes content not just for Handler, but other comedians as well, such as Whitney Cummings and Ross Matthews.
36. Dog Lover
Handler is definitely a dog person. She has two pups, named Chunk and Tammy, who are both chow-chow mixes.
37. Say You’re Sorry!
As of 2017, some of the notable people demanding an apology from Handler included: Beyoncé fans, Little People, Nick Cannon, and the country of Serbia.
38. Business or Pleasure?
Handler dated Ted Harbet, the president of Comcast Entertainment Group (the company that owns E!), for several years. While the two didn’t start dating until after Handler got her show, sometimes their business relationship would spill over into their personal one. Handler has recounted times that Harbet would call her demanding she lay off a certain celebrity, which Handler often refused to do.
39. A Very Bad Year
The same year that Handler and Harbet broke up, a leaked dirty video of Handler was reportedly being offered for sale to different tabloids. For her part, Handler laughed it off, saying that she'd made it as a joke a decade earlier.
40. Young Loss
Chelsea Handler is no stranger to tragedy. When she was just nine years old, her oldest brother passed on after an accident he suffered while hiking.
41. Cat Fight
Chelsea Handler once caused outrage over using derogatory language to describe humanitarian Angelina Jolie on stage. We won’t repeat it here, but Handler used some pretty foul language to rip on the actress—but as most of you are probably aware, it was hardly the first time that Handler's words got her in trouble, and it certainly wasn't the last.
42. Bad School Days
Chelsea Handler says she was bullied in high school, and that even though she feels she might have deserved it, it really interfered with her education. Of her high school days she says, “I was tortured, and probably half of it was deserved, but I was bullied—so much so that there were days when I was like, 'I can't go to school today.' I was too scared.”
It’s so hard to imagine Handler scared of anything, makes you wonder what those bullies were like.