Why Chelsea Handler made a documentary calling out her own privilege

The comedian opens up about her documentary “Hello, Privilege. It’s Me, Chelsea” and what she hopes people will learn from it.
6:13 | 09/18/19

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Transcript for Why Chelsea Handler made a documentary calling out her own privilege
So what made you want to do this particular documentary? Why -- why about privilege? Well, there was an election. I don't know if you guys heard about that, in 2016, and that pissed me off, and it made me really take a look at myself, and made me take a look at my own life, and my own surroundings, and how much I had taken for granted as being part of my talent and my drive and my will to work hard. I didn't take into account the color of my skin, and how much easier it was for me rather than a person of color to get away with the loud behavior that I was getting away with, and being rewarded for it, you know. I got a talk show to make fun of people. People are, like, yeah. That's a good move. Do that. I'm, like, okay, great. I found my calling and after awhile, you start to question, and after the election I was forced to question it. I didn't think racism was the way it used to be. I didn't think sexism was the way it used to be, and I was in a yooef, and I was living in my own bubble, and I decided to have a contribution rather than take it. It's your blue eyes and blonde hair too. It was all my features. It was about taking responsibility and putting work out there, out into the community, into the world that is representative of me taking note, getting my head On what other people are struggling with, and going through, and being actionable about it. Not going, oh, got that, and turning lightbulbs on, but turning lightbulbs on for other people in my position. Sometimes you have to feel uneasy, and you did that. You went to an open mic right? At usc? Yeah. You had to go up, and I'm assuming you got funny looks from people, but what was that experience like, and what did you learn from it? It wasn't welcoming, you there were black people in that room that were taking me to task saying, all you do is come in here and take, take, take. You making a documentary about white privilege is an example of your privilege, and I -- yes. That is correct, and it was good for me to hear. I like to be in uncomfortable situations. I get off on that. I want my opinion changed. I want to think differently. So instead of trying to convince people of my opinion, I wanted to convince people my opinion was going to change from others, and having them kind of put me in my place was a great place to start for me. I'm taking. I have taken a lot, and I want to give back. It was a necessary conversation, and by the way, the whole problem is that white people don't want to be uncomfortable talking about these things. They don't want to ask the wrong questions. They don't want to offend black people. They don't want to say the wrong thing. Guess what? It's okay to be uncomfortable. We can afford to be a little uncomfortable after everything that's happened and stretch our kind of brains and our bodies to -- to put ourselves in situations that aren't natural. That aren't comfortable. Something happened the next day too that was also uncomfortable for you. Right? After that open mic? Yes. I got called in for a lot. I had to take sexual harassment classes. I don't know where that came into the picture. Why? Because of my handsy nature. I'm, like, really? As a woman? Nobody can touch each other right now. I'm, like, all right. That's good to know, and racial sensitivity classes. We should all be taking all of those classes, and I think -- when I started the documentary, I had this idea that I was woke, that I knew what I was -- I was, like, I'm with it. I know what's going on. I know how to be a good advocate and ally to people of color, but then, you know, you look at yourself and you're, like, I moved from, you know, New Jersey to Santa Monica to brentwood to Bel Air. All white areas. Exactly the problem. I never thought about living in a diverse neighborhood, and opening my brain that way. It was a lot to learn, and I'm so grateful that I have, you know? I'm still learning. It's not like I'm cooked and ready to rumble. Still. We all have to learn how to be better. Do you know what was interesting for me in the documentary? I was watching it last night, and there was one scene in particular. So many scenes. I love Tim wise. I pitched him to the show a couple of times. He's incredible, but there was one scene in particular when you had the four white conservative women, and they said a couple of things. They said, when you ask them about what white privilege was to them or privilege, one said, well, black people have privilege too, you know? White privilege may be growing up with a mom and a dad. You don't see that a lot in the African-American community. One of the parents is always missing. One of them also says -- That's what she said? Yeah. One of them also said, black people have a lot of privilege. I mean, look at college. They get into colleges. They get jobs based on their skin color, and I don't think that's right, and then finally one said, it's just time to move on and quit talking about it. We have come so far. This, you know, issue is minuscule, and the way people are reacting is making it bigger, and I thought -- They need the training. But you know what? I think a lot of people feel that way, and so I thought it was really interesting to just hear people say that because they felt that way. What was your reaction when they said those things? Well, listen. I had to do a lot of therapy to even have these conversations with people because I have a temper and I'm reactive. When somebody's annoying, I want to tell them that they're annoying or that they're stupid, but my exercise in this film is to -- was to be more quiet and to stop inserting myself and saying, you're wrong. You're wrong, and to let them say what, you know, to be -- to be actually just kind of a space for everybody to speak openly, and kind of, you know, in a way you could say those women hung themselves out to dry from our perspective, but from theirs, they really believe that, and it's important for us to all understand what everybody's really thinking and believing and to have the conversation. The first step is having the conversation.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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