In a world in which the headlines are dominated by Paris, Britney, Lindsay and badly behaving celebrities who are famous only for the moment, Chelsea Handler feels like somebody needs to say something … and she's the one to say it.
"I think there's a class of people that need to be slapped. They just happen to be celebrities. It's people who are in the public eye," Handler said on the set of her show "Chelsea Lately," which appears nightly on the E! network.
And so Handler pokes fun at Brad and Angelina, Star Jones, and anyone else she thinks deserves it.
"It's nice when you have a new story," she said. "Like Eddie Murphy and his marriage. … They were married for a week."
Handler is a smart-mouthed, good-looking blonde who grew up in New Jersey and came west right out of high school to make it in Hollywood. She had planned to be an actress, but took more pleasure in delivering her own lines. So she became a standup comic and, at age 33, a television host.
"I can't keep my thoughts to myself," she said. "I have no filter."
One of her biggest targets is herself. She tells vivid and often sexually laced stories about her personal life and her love for Grey Goose vodka. She said that there's nothing she wouldn't say about herself to get a laugh.
"If I'm going to go after people like I do, I have to be the biggest target of all," she said. "I will talk about anything."
Handler wrote a popular book about one-night stands — her own — and now she has a new book of anecdotes, "Are You There, Vodka? It's Me, Chelsea," which hit number one on the New York Times bestseller list.
Handler's humor is not the cerebral kind. Just for example, the first line of one chapter reads, "After sleeping around for the better part of my twenties, it somehow occurred to me that I wasn't giving everyone a fair shot."
She jokes about what happens in bed, what happens in the bathroom and the screw-ups of everyday life.
"I constantly get myself into situations that are humiliating," she said. "And nobody can believe it."
So, for instance, she has written about getting arrested for drunken driving and a one-night stand with a dwarf.
"But from my experience, it kind of brings out the best in people when you're just honest about who you are," she said. "And if that honesty happens to be something that you probably shouldn't bring up at the dinner table, then go for it."