Chelsea Handler biography
A blunt and candid comic, Chelsea Handler was born on February 25, 1975, in Livingston, New Jersey. She moved to Los Angeles at 19 to become an actress. While working as a waitress, Handler turned to stand-up comedy. She landed some television work and then turned to writing, hitting the best-sellers list in 2005. In 2007, Handler made her late-night debut, which continues to be a success.
The youngest of six children, Chelsea Handler felt that she sometimes got lost in the crowd growing up. She thought her Mormon homemaker mother, Sylvia, and Jewish car salesman father, Melvin, were caring but flaky. Handler explained to Los Angeles magazine that "I was always quizzing my parents: 'Do you know where the school is?'" Even as a youngster, Handler showed her talent for wisecracks.
When she was 10, Handler lost her oldest brother. His death devastated her family, and Handler became even more motivated to strike out on her own as soon as she could. After high school, she moved out to Los Angeles to become an actress. Instead she worked as a waitress as she went on audition after audition without any luck.
At 21, Handler got arrested for drunk driving. She had to take a special D.U.I. class as her punishment. During the class, Handler got laughs from the other students for her depiction of her arrest. This experience led her to try stand-up comedy. Despite being a novice, Handler was able to land some gigs playing comedy clubs.
An emerging comic talent, Handler wowed audiences with her brash and sometimes vulgar act. She portrayed herself as a hard-partying beauty with an acid tongue. In 2002, Handler got a part on the cable sketch comedy show Girls Behaving Badly. She went to guest appearances on such shows as My Wife and Kids, The Practice and The Bernie Mac Show.
With her first book, My Horizontal Life: A Collection of One-Night Stands (2005), made her way on to the best-sellers list. She chronicled a number of her real-life sexual exploits in the book, which amused and sometimes stunned readers. The following year, she debuted her own series, The Chelsea Handler Show. Handler poked fun at celebrities as well as herself in the show's skits and sketches.
A Huge Success
While her self-titled sketch show only lasted a season, Handler found a larger audience for her sharp quips on pop culture with a late night talk show. Chelsea Lately premiered in 2007 and has become a ratings winner, especially with young female viewers. Compared to other female comics Joan Rivers and Sarah Silverman, Handler has tackled nearly everything and everyone in her monologues from the birth canal to the reality television dynasty, the Kardashian family. She also skewers the latest news with the help of comic guest panelists. Handler has interviewed a number of A-List celebrities on her show, including actress Jennifer Aniston and singer Usher.
In addition to her show, Handler has continued to write books and tour with a stand-up act.
She had another runaway hit with the 2008 book Are You There, Vodka? It's Me, Chelsea. In the memoir, Handler shared stories of her family, love life, and career. A sitcom based on the book is set to debut in 2012. Handler has also brought in millions with her comedy tours. Her 2010 Chelsea Chelsea Bang Bang tour, to support the book by the same title, grossed more than $16 million.
In coming years, Handler is looking for more behind-the-scenes opportunities. She has created her own production company, Borderline Amazing, to handle a number of media ventures.
Handler dated Ted Harbert, the CEO of Comcast Entertainment Group, from 2006 to 2010. Since their split, she has been romantically linked to businessman Andre Balazs and rapper 50 Cent.