To say I love Chelsea Handler is an understatement. My best friend Emily and I have convinced ourselves that all three of us are BFFs who just haven't met yet. We have the same sense of humor, which we've heard classified as sick, twisted, relentless, mean -- we call it "real." We have eerily similar interests -- owning a pet dolphin, talking about strangers, sipping the finest things, going out of our way to make sure every day results in a ridiculous story, and many that will remain unnamed. We are so sure that this trio will one day exist (if only for 60 seconds) that we affectionately refer to her as "Chels" and try our hardest to use what we call Chelsea-isms in our everyday language.
Some call this an obsession, we call it the future, and on Friday, June 18, our quest to make this friendship happen took a significant step forward.
That's the night Chels braved the Palace Theater stage in Albany, NY (which was about 28 degrees too hot) to share her unfiltered humor, and we were conveniently seated fourth row center to fully appreciate her greatness.
And the show was just that -- great. Actually, it was borderline amazing (Chelsea-ism No. 1).
It all started with her noticing me. Yes, me! After asking why the Palace was so "fuckin'" hot, Chels remarked on how many Asians were in Albany and asked if there were any in the audience. We promptly aired out our armpits and got a head start on losing our voices, and were rewarded with, "That's nice, but the funny thing is, I can see you but you can't see me." I couldn't have been more pleased.
One of my favorite moments was when she let us know how she really feels about cats. "They bring nothing to the table. They go to the bathroom in a box, in a box in a room, and then walk out like nothing happened, like 'hey, what did I miss?' You missed wiping yourself, that's what you missed."
You can tell the rest of her show was a success because not only did we almost lose control of our bladders (it happens), she almost did too (she does that when she laughs). Yet another way we are one and the same.
Much of the show was stories chronicled in her books, all New York Times Bestsellers, but made even better by her tendency to get distracted or go on tangents. Example: talking about her affinity for fat, "nugget babies," Chels paused to ask, "Do you guys think it's OK to drink when you're pregnant, if you're giving the baby up for adoption?" and followed up with "There are two kinds of people I don't trust: people who don't drink while taking medication and people who clap when a plane lands."
Super random, yet exactly why so many people love her -- she says what she thinks.
And she did this -- said whatever was on her mind -- many times throughout the 60 minutes she was onstage. After proclaiming the Palace Theater's heat issue "worse than New Jersey," she noticed a man in the audience and let him have it. "Sir, nobody fuckin' married you! Oh, you are married? Where's your wife? At home? If you came here without your wife, you're a real fuckin' loser."
As Chels-tastic as the show was (complete with the "Chelsea wiggle," as I like to call her accompanying movements), my experience didn't end there. After getting in touch with her assistant, Eva, I had the opportunity to email her several questions beforehand, and Chels was gracious enough to personally answer them. Here's what I was dying to know.
You've talked about your childhood and path to "fame" many times. Looking at where you are now and all that you've accomplished, is this the life you "dreamed" about or knew you would have? Did you ever imagine you'd reach this point?
"I don't think I ever imagined I'd have my own show that I could put all my friends on and get paid to make fun of all the people who were mean in high school, no. I just figured I had to get out of New Jersey before my father could have any more influence on my life. The west coast was nice and far, and from what I heard, you had to either be in the 'business' or wait tables once you got here. I'm a terrible waitress, so I had no doubt it would work out this way."
Even though you're famous, it seems like you've stayed really down to earth. It's also pretty clear that you appreciate your fans. Why is it so important for you to remain true to who you are, especially in this industry? Is it important for you to acknowledge those fans that love you, and what do you think of those who seem to worship you?
"I do love my fans. They're definitely the reason I am where I am. I mean, I worked hard, but if nobody liked what I was doing it would have been a different and sort of depressing story. There is nothing worse to me than someone who is ungrateful or takes for granted something that so many people would love to have. This is a pretty great life everyone gave me. I also have to stay nice to them so that if the Ritz ever stops letting me stay at their hotels, I know I have places to crash in each city. For the ones that 'worship' me--I assume they'll turn out borderline amazing, just like me."
How do you drink so much and still maintain such a nice body?
"I eat arugula for breakfast. It's pretty disgusting. I'm not kidding. Like a rabbit."
What's the best thing about Hollywood? What's the worst thing?
"Part 1: That it's near the ocean. Part 2: Lindsay Lohan."
Do you hang out with your staff a lot outside of work?
"No, but they hang out with me." [Super jealous].
Who is one guest you'd like to have on your show that you haven't yet?
"Joran van der Sloot."
The interview was short but I think her answers show who she is. She's funny, crass and pushes the envelope, but is also grounded, appreciative and genuinely nice. It's a side of this funnygal we don't always see on her E! television show, "Chelsea Lately," so I'm glad I got the chance to see it (although obviously, Emily and I already knew this was the hidden side of Chelsea Handler).
I've read several reviews that called the show "regrettable" and "a waste of money," but I give it an A-plus (which is how Chels -- and us -- believe you should live life). If you're a diehard Chelsea Handler fan, she didn't disappoint.
Follow Alyssa Jung on Twitter: www.twitter.com/lysssie