Chelsea Handler thought she knew herself. . . Until recently.
During her travels through the ups and downs of the entertainment industry the comedian, author, activist and television host has learned a lot; perhaps more in the last three years than ever before.
In her New York Times bestselling book, 'Life Will Be The Death Of Me. . . And You Too!' and its accompanying stand-up tour, Chelsea rediscovers herself as a privileged human being, and explores some of the corners of society she once refused to shine her light on. The person perhaps most responsible for this brand-new outlook on life is none other than US President Donald Trump.
“I didn't know how something like Donald Trump being elected President could happen. So I wanted to educate myself,” Chelsea reflects.
“I just kind of took a deeper look at myself and my own kind of privilege and how I came into this world and the fact that I've been rewarded for what people would qualify as 'bad behaviour' over and over again.”
That 'bad behaviour' is part and parcel of the Chelsea Handler the world has come to know over the years, in fact some would say it got her to where she is today; Chelsea discovered her penchant for the realm of stand-up comedy thanks to a DUI, which she copped at 21.
“They sent me to 'DUI school' where they basically teach you how to get out of your next DUI,” Chelsea laughs.
“But at the end of that class, everyone had to get up and tell the story about their DUI and when I got up I was really, really dreading it because it was public speaking and I was like 'oh god this is going to suck' and then when I did get up, I ended up having the best time.”
Since that day, Chelsea has mastered and perfected her skills, never afraid to shy away from taboo topics in her stand-up, but she says the recent election of Donald Trump as President woke her up.
“I wanted to do more meaningful stuff. I felt like, 'you know what, this isn't meaningful. Making fun of people my whole life isn't meaningful', there's other things to make fun of.
“It was nice to get a grip and be able to campaign for candidates that I believe in and get up to speed on all the political subject matters that I wasn't aware of, and how our government works.”
Chelsea's new lease on life is admirable. Her book has been lauded by critics; a sign that it's never too late to change your view of the world.
The recent documentary 'Hello Privilege. It's Me, Chelsea' on Netflix is yet another extension of this, with Chelsea purposely putting herself in uncomfortable situations and confronting her own fears in order to learn about and to understand the outdated, deeply-rooted perceptions which America – and by extension the world – has on people of colour.
In the stand-up counterpart of her reawakening, she's hoping to communicate the importance of sharing your truth and looking at the bigger picture: Both things she's done a lot of recently.
“I think people hate the term 'white privilege' because it implies that these people that benefit from white privilege are going to have something taken away from them. That's not the case, we don't have to look at it like that,” Chelsea explains.
“We can look at it like 'the more people succeed, the better off we all are as a society'. I just wanted to start that conversation.”
Chelsea Handler Tour Dates
4 October – Queensland Performing Arts Centre 5 October – State Theatre Sydney 7 October – Arts Centre Melbourne