Perhaps you’ve been a fan of Chelsea Handler’s E! network chat fest “Chelsea Lately” since its 2007 debut. Maybe she got you laughing with one of her pseudo-autobiographical sitcoms “After Lately” or “Are You There, Chelsea?” that have followed. Or, perhaps you discovered one of her four bestselling comedy memoirs.
However you came to know Handler, though, you’re not alone if you find her very dry humor sometimes shocking and always hilarious. One ingredient to her style of wit is brutal honesty with a twist of unapologetic truth: Girlfriend tells it like it is or, at very least, like she sees it.
Where did Handler’s perspective originate? New Jersey, it turns out. In the March issue of Redbook, the actress lays out the genesis of her comedic foundation, and like most artists, her refining journey involved more than a little pain.
“I was tortured [in high school], 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,” Handler tells the magazine. Her source of fear came from the unwavering ridicule of a band of mean girls. “They’d call me a dog, and bark at me and say, ‘You’re fat. You’re ugly.’”
But the girl who’s turned out to be quite the bombshell hardly has any bad feelings over the matter. When her “ringleader” bully showed up backstage at one of her comedy shows, Handler got the apology she was no longer looking for. She tells the magazine of the face-to-face apology, “And I said, ‘I’m so over it. Actually, thank you, because you gave me the impetus to be successful.’”
These days, Handler counts some of Hollywood’s elite among her inner circle. Her “This Means War” costar Reese Witherspoon has become a close confidante. Jennifer Aniston is practically family, as she and boyfriend Justin Theroux came to Handler’s house for Thanksgiving with 18 of Handler’s staff members.” She credits both superstars with being “regular” girls with whom her friendships are “based on realness.” Not that the comedian has forgotten her days as an outcast. She tells the magazine she likes “misfits and underdog,” adding, “I love underdogs … I was an underdog.”