Last year, when Chelsea Handler walked away from a multi-million dollar contract for her hit show Chelsea Lately on E!, whispers were in heavy rotation of her slipping into David Letterman’s spot on CBS or Jay Leno’s chair at NBC. But, as Handler has mentioned several times before, she’s just not “a network kind of girl.” What Handler says she was looking for was a project that was “smarter” than her. “I want to learn. I want to make my mother proud. I want to make my family proud,” she said at a recent event. “I want to take chances.”
And she found all of that with Netflix.
On January 23, Netflix will drop Handler’s four-part docu-series Chelsea Does where Handler investigates four topics–marriage, racism, Silicon Valley, and drugs–all through her no-filter brand of comedy.
Throughout her career, Handler has been refreshingly outspoken on a host of topics, including the ones she’s exploring in her docu-series. Because January 23 is painfully far away, here’s a brief round-up of Handler discussing marriage, racism, technology, and drugs in previous interviews.
“I’m not racist. I date a lot of black people, so that would be a difficult thing to explain to them.”
Handler kicked up dust storm on Twitter during the 2014 Oscars when she tweeted comments about 12 Years a Slave and actress Lupita Nyong’o in connection to her book Uganda Be Kidding Me. For someone like Handler who is wholly unconcerned with the P.C. police that has proven swift and unforgiving toward comedians in particular, Chelsea Does: Racism could be a revelatory experience for everyone involved–including Handler.
“I don’t really go on the Internet, to be honest with you, very often . . . I’m a Luddite–I just don’t even know. I have a problem even operating my remote control.”
Handler has made it no secret that she’s not the most tech-savvy individual, so watching her navigate Silicon Valley is just comedy gold waiting to be mined. But she is, no matter the level of savviness, ready with an opinion–and hopefully she’ll give her opinions on issues of gender inequality and the wage gap in Silicon Valley, which she touched on during an interview about Sheryl Sandberg’s book Lean In, saying, “I feel like it’s time to say, ‘We’re equal. We’re equal. We’re equal,’ and then it will become true, instead of constantly trying, with gamesmanship, to align ourselves with men. And instead of constantly discussing it, ad nauseum.”
“I don’t really have any value on marriage. I guess it would be fun to do for the sake of it, once. But I don’t want children.”
If your first New York Times bestseller is a recount of your one-night stands, chances are you’re A) unabashed about your sex life and B) probably not willing to conform to societal standards of love and marriage for women. Marriage in the U.S. has been on a steady decline so Handler isn’t alone understanding the the dynamics of a modern relationship are shifting–whoever’s willing to debate Handler on this in Chelsea Does: Marriage deserves an automatic gold star.
“I’ve always loved to drink but I’ve never really been a pothead, but now that it’s legal–’cause, you know, I’m such a rule follower . . .”
Alcohol has been a staple of Handler’s comedy for years–drugs, not so much. In her docu-series, Handler tries Ayahuasca for the first time, a hallucinatory brew that, along with guidance from a shaman, is supposed to lead to spiritual enlightenment. On top of that, she takes a concoction of drugs and booze and monitors the effects they have on her brain. Judging by her experience with edibles, Handler as a guinea pig for drugs just may be the best thing Netflix will ever produce–ever.