Chelsea Handler admits she was a 'self-absorbed lunatic' during late-night talk show years

Elena Sheppard
·3 min read
Chelsea Handler told Howard Stern that she outgrew her talk show "Chelsea Lately" which aired from 2007 to 2014. (Photo: Toni Anne Barson/WireImage)
Chelsea Handler told Howard Stern that she outgrew her talk show "Chelsea Lately" which aired from 2007 to 2014. (Photo: Toni Anne Barson/WireImage)

Chelsea Handler has come a long way since hosting the talk show Chelsea Lately — in fact, she didn’t find the gig “that interesting.”

On Thursday, the comedian opened up on The Howard Stern Show about her late-night talk show on E! from 2007 to 2014, which was formatted as a roundtable discussion on pop culture with celebrity guests. Handler left the show when her contract expired, after expressing frustration with the network. That year, she told Stern it was "a sad, sad place to live ... They don't know what they're doing. They have no ideas. It's a failure."

According to Time, when the show ended, Handler said in a statement, “I myself am more surprised than anyone that I was able to hold down a job for seven years, and it was a fantastic seven years. I will always look back at my time on E! as most people look back at their time in college. I’m glad I went.​”

In the new interview, Stern asked if she had any regrets about leaving the show. “No,” she answered. “Why would I want to stick with that, because there’s no evolution there. That’s me in one format, doing one thing, that wasn’t that interesting to me.”

However, she insisted that “nobody could have enjoyed that period of time more than I did” adding, “...We would laugh our a**es off every single day at work... all we did was bulls**t all day. And we would laugh and laugh... and then I outgrew it.”

In 2008, Handler described the success of the show by telling W magazine, “The worse the guests are, the more pathetic they are, the funnier the show is.”

Handler moved on with a 2019 Netflix series Hello, Privilege. It's Me, Chelsea during which she examines white privilege in America and the HBO Max stand-up special Evolution. She told Stern, “I feel like my work since I left that show has had such a high level of integrity...I’m working at a higher frequency than I was when I was just kind of winging it.”

Her personal life is better too. “I’m not a self-absorbed lunatic anymore,” Handler told Stern. “...I was self-absorbed. It was all about me. And that’s not a way to operate. And so I had to remove myself from that situation to get myself in a better headspace.”

Although the gig felt “fun for a minute” the premise of Chelsea Lately wore her down. “Just the gossiping, you know, about celebrities felt empty and vacuous after a while and then it started to feel mean,” she told Stern.

Also in the interview, Handler discussed her crush on New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, which she divulged in Evolution. “The thing is, I like older men, which brings me to the strong and deep sexual feelings that I have developed for Andrew Cuomo,” she said on the show. “I want him to flatten my curve, then I want to flatten his curve. And then I want us to apex together.”

When Stern asked if the two would ever date (in December, Handler told The View that the politician didn’t ghosted her after she asked him out), Handler chalked up her admiration to hero worship amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“It was really in the moment, come on,” she told Stern. “He was coming in to rescue us and we had no leadership, we were so dehydrated for any sort of real leadership that everyone felt that way and I definitely felt that.”

In October, Cuomo responded to the comedian during his own View interview. "I'm a big fan of Chelsea's,” he said. “She's great. We have fun."

Related: Chelsea Handler details call with 50 Cent about the presidential election

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