Laughter: Chelsea coach’s best medicine

Aren’t you ashamed, Chelsea manager? The brutally honest comedian answered the question with an emphatic “No!”

Handler in her late night E! Talk Show, Recent Chelsea. She also readily accepted. Whether she’s digging into her love life, mocking her reputation as an alcoholic party girl, or offering coming-of-age stories, the new omnimedia queen doesn’t shy away from her weaknesses, missteps, and utter humanity.

It’s fitting that Handler is also a writer – she has four bestsellers, her fifth book, A joke about Uganda, a book based on travel A collection of essays for inspiration, hitting shelves in March – because her life is an open book.

“I don’t take myself too seriously,” the star said. “I think it’s emotionally healthy. If you’re kidding yourself, I don’t think there’s any point in being stupid about it. It’s better to share it and laugh. Everything is a good story in my opinion, about 20 minutes after that It’s always fun, even if it’s very embarrassing or humiliating.”

As she recounts in her second book, Are you there, vodka? It was me, Chelsea, who first knew she could be a comedian at the age of 21 after being charged with DUI. When she was asked to speak to a court-mandated class about her drink-driving experience – which entailed spending a night in jail with the female murderer – she kept her peers laughing. The rest is comedy history. For that matter, the same goes for wheel loading. “I had one drink and driving,” she told the reporters’ panel. “I haven’t gotten one since.”

What sets Handler apart, then, is her total self-acceptance, with all her flaws. “I accept my shortcomings,” she said. “I don’t have too many regrets. You have to embrace the things you don’t like about yourself or the things you feel embarrassed about. You can’t: I don’t want people to know I did it! Who cares?”


She feels the same way about her love life, and she’s not uncomfortable talking about it at all. The comedian has never been married, but has had several public long-term partnerships — she dated former Comcast CEO Ted Hubbard for four years before being an on-and-off lover, Hotelier Andre Baraz, who broke up in October – is the first to tell you she’s enjoying her romance.

So the double standard that women often face when it comes to their sexuality doesn’t go well with her. “I feel like it’s our responsibility as women to go out and get what we want,” Handler said. “There’s nothing wrong with thinking ‘that’s a handsome guy’! Then walk up to a guy in the bar – which I actually did this weekend in New York City – and give him your number. It doesn’t matter if he calls. The important thing is that you put yourself out there and you don’t really care about the outcome. I’m not ashamed at all.”

She was equally unsuspecting about her unplanned pregnancy at 16, and she was in pain. Choose to terminate the pregnancy after reflection. Although she didn’t joke about that memory, she didn’t hide it either. It appears that brokering honestly is Handler’s business.

Dealing with shame

Openly sharing experiences through the lens of comedy is a form of therapy, says Dr. Mary Lamia. Lamia is a professor at the Wright Institute in Berkeley, California, and a clinical psychologist practicing in nearby Kentfield.

“We all make mistakes and feel shame,” she said. “But experiencing relentless shame is a dangerous emotion. It separates us from others and is the first step in suicide. One big reason. The antidote to shame is relationships. When we accept what happens to us, we connect with other people. Acceptance from others is a form of healing.”

Before the live audience didn’t lose Lamia, Handler criticized her history for laughs. “There are four clinical responses to shame,” she said. “You can hide or quit. You can avoid, that’s why substance abuse. You can attack other people. Or you can attack yourself. When a comedian uses shame to make us laugh, all she does is turn these four responses. Come here. Storytelling and using comedy to create joy for others is restorative. That’s exactly what people do in self-help sessions or with friends.”

Anyone who follows Handler’s writing knows that she provides Self-deprecating humor. But how does she feel about fooling other public figures?

“People will call me a bully. I don’t see it that way,” she replied. “I think it’s better to call people out for their ridiculous behavior than to say nothing. I like people who have opinions. When I agreed to be my show, I said I wouldn’t be a no-show host.” Don’t Make fun of people who deceive themselves. This is not the most popular way of doing things. But it’s really fun. “

Using laughter to deal with sadness and loss

The theory that many great comics draw humor from sadness may be true in Handler’s case. At age 10, she Lost her big brother Chet when he fell off a cliff while hiking. His sudden death devastated her family and continues to affect its members decades later. “I’m 40 now, and when people leave, I Think, ‘Are they going to die? ‘” she said.

Handler also felt the loss deeply when the star’s mother went through the final stages of breast cancer in 2006. But, unlike when her brother died, She had time to deal with her grief.

“When my mom died, we had 6 months to a year to emotionally prepare for it,” she explained. “It was sad. , but not that hard. I think the things you can’t recover from are the things you didn’t warn about. “

“Sudden loss is unfinished business,” said Kenneth J. Doka, Ph.D., professor of gerontology at the Graduate School of New Rochelle College.. “But one is no easier than the other.” Losing a young man leaves open questions. Can it be prevented? There can be guilt, anger, and plenty of “if only”. “

Handler left little “if only” space for her mother. The comedian stayed by her mother’s bedside when the cancer got worse. She recalls her How a living father refused to accept the inevitable.

“My mom said, ‘You have to explain to your father that I’m really dying because he doesn’t believe it. ‘ And my dad was sitting there, reading the used car section, or whatever. I yelled, “Did you hear what Mom was saying? She said she was going to die! You need to say goodbye to her.” He said, “I won’t say goodbye. No matter what we have to do, we’ll keep her alive. “I said, ‘No. You cannot let others live for you. You make them die for them. That was the only time in my life when I actually became an adult. “

The sadness in her voice was palpable as she relived the moment. A beat passed, and then her comic couldn’t resist: “Yes, for 3 weeks.” “

Chelsea’s Wellness Program

Handler first moved from cheap jersey wholesale to Los Angeles to start an acting career at age 19. While she has occasionally appeared in feature films over the years, stand-up comedy Better fit.

“I’ll be in these auditions and I’ll be surrounded by these half-sized actresses. The truth is, everyone is still half of me! She joked. “Everyone in [Hollywood] has a little body deformity. I feel guilty about it. You are surrounded by people who look perfect. “

But after years of living a comic lifestyle — late nights, alcohol-fueled travel, cigarettes, and maybe some other substances — Handler is committed to cleaning up her behavior “I broke a lot of bad habits this year,” said the trailblazer, the second woman after Joan Rivers to host her own late-night talk show.

“I don’t” Stop smoking,” she added. “I work out a lot now, play tennis, do Pilates. When I was in my 20s, I would party anytime, whatever activity I wanted. It was boring. I actually feel healthier now than I did before