Chelsea Handler (@chelseahandler) is a writer, comedian, producer, TV host, activist, and the author of five consecutive New York Times bestsellers — her latest is Life Will Be the Death of Me…And You Too!
[Featured photo by Ryan Hartford of Ecliptic Media]
What We Discuss with Chelsea Handler:
- Finding the line between mood enhancement and paranoia-generating abuse when it comes to cannabis.
- How a DUI at age 21 led to Chelsea’s entry into the world of standup comedy, and what she was really trying to get from her search for attention.
- As someone who’s never been afraid to quit a job she’s grown tired of doing, what really matters to Chelsea?
- What’s the difference between authentic generosity and generosity that just feeds the giver’s ego?
- Why is Chelsea writing books, doing standup comedy, and working on television projects when she was sure she’d burned out on doing all of these things not long ago?
- And much more…
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Love her or hate her, Life Will Be the Death of Me…And You Too! author Chelsea Handler is a force in the entertainment industry. She’s been highly successful from her 20s onward through today, and is a consistent hit-maker when it comes to her books, late night talk shows, and live comedy.
On this episode we enjoy a very rare chance to spend time with someone who also interviews others for a living, and discuss her very unorthodox entry into comedy — which almost ended with a one-way ticket to jail. We’ll also talk about chasing fame and money and, at the end of that dirty rainbow, just trying to fix our childhoods by getting love from strangers on the Internet or the other end of a cable television talk show. Listen, learn, and enjoy!
Please Scroll Down for Featured Resources and Transcript!
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More About This Show
If you’ve followed her career as a writer, comedian, talk show host — even from the periphery — it might surprise you to learn that Life Will Be the Death of Me…And You Too! author Chelsea Handler was once petrified at the thought of speaking in public. And then, at the tender age of 21, she got a DUI. This would change everything.
“I had to go to DUI school,” recalls Chelsea. “In DUI class, you go for 15 weeks and everybody gets up and tells their story — and I had such a fear of public speaking. I had an opinion and I’ve always had an attitude, and I was always kind of in-your-face about it, but I never thought of myself as a public speaker.
“Every night I would hide in an area where I wouldn’t get called on. And then at the very last class, I thought I’d gotten away with it, and then [the instructor] was like, ‘Chelsea, come up here.’ And I was so nervous. And then I started telling my story — and all I did was tell what happened, and it was ridiculous. I called the cop a racist — we were both white. Everything that didn’t make sense I did. And the audience was just laughing and I was on stage for 14-15 minutes until the guy was like, ‘This is not standup. Get off the stage! You’re enjoying this a little bit too much.’
“And that’s when I was like, ‘Wait a second. I like this!’”
Chelsea loved the feeling of making people laugh. It seemed to be the thrill of attention that appealed to her, but in retrospect, it may have really been a need for human connection.
“I lost my brother when I was young; I lost my father — because of losing my brother, he kind of got lost — so we were all kind of lost and out to sea and that is a misconnection,” says Chelsea.
“I just wanted everyone to pay attention to me, and really what I wanted was just somebody to say, ‘Where are you going and where have you been today?'”
Listen to this episode in its entirety to learn more about how far therapy has brought Chelsea since the results of the 2016 election spiralled her anger beyond control, how the death of her brother when she was only nine became a blueprint for the way relationships end in her life, how she went from taking Hollywood’s rewards for bad behavior to taking a closer look at the luck of her countless advantages, what she particularly enjoys about touring in support of her new book, how she went from scoffing at the idea of mindfulness to being grateful for it in every moment, and much more.
THANKS, CHELSEA HANDLER!
If you enjoyed this session with Chelsea Handler, let her know by clicking on the link below and sending her a quick shout out at Twitter:
And if you want us to answer your questions on one of our upcoming weekly Feedback Friday episodes, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Resources from This Episode:
- Life Will Be the Death of Me…And You Too! by Chelsea Handler
- Other Books by Chelsea Handler
- Chelsea Handler Tour Tickets, Live Nation
- Chelsea Handler: Life Will Be the Death of Me Podcast, iHeartRadio
- Chelsea Handler’s Website
- Chelsea Handler at Instagram
- Chelsea Handler at Facebook
- Chelsea Handler at Twitter
- Kiva Blueberry Terra Bites
- Cheeba Chews
- Chelsea Does… Netflix
- The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment by Eckhart Tolle
- Chelsea Handler Now Meditates, Thanks to President Trump, The Chicago Tribune
- Dr. Dan Siegel (Chelsea’s Psychiatrist) at Instagram
- “Chelsea Lately” Calls Diddy Dirty Money out for Being Late to Her Show, Old School 105.3
- “Dr. Laura” Schlessinger is Screwing up America, HuffPost
- Bonnie Tyler at Twitter
- Ask Dr. Ruth, Hulu
- Chelsea Handler Resisted the Urge to Confront a Gassy Airplane Passenger, Conan on TBS
- Moby | What to Do When Success Makes You Miserable, TJHS 96
- Episode 1, On the Lot
- Nice Piece, Girls Behaving Badly
- Open, The Chelsea Handler Show
- The Six Best Moments from the ‘Chelsea Lately’ Series Finale, Entertainment Tonight
Transcript for Chelsea Handler | Life Will Be the Death of Me (Episode 216)
Jordan Harbinger: [00:00:03] Welcome to the show. I'm Jordan Harbinger. As always, I'm here with producer Jason DeFillippo. Chelsea Handler --lover or hater-- is a force in the comedy and television industry. She's been highly successful from her 20s onward through today and as a consistent hit-maker when it comes to her books, late-night talk shows, and live comedy. Today, I enjoy a very rare chance to sit down with someone who also interviews others for a living and discuss her very unorthodox entry into comedy, which almost ended up with her going to jail. We'll also discuss chasing fame money and at the end of that dirty rainbow, just trying to fix our childhoods by getting love from strangers on the internet or the other end of the cable TV talk show. I was really impressed by her candor and energy during this interview and came away from this wondering if I would ever have the ability to be as open as she was in front of so many. And I really liked it cause she's one of the only other people that I know that talks naturally at 2X or at least 1.5 like myself.
[00:00:59] Six-Minute Networking is our networking course. If you want to learn how we've managed to get great guests like this on the show if you want to get people that you want in your social circle or your professional circle, go to jordanharbinger.com/course. That's, of course, free--That's how we roll. By the way, most of the guests on the show actually subscribed to the course and the newsletter. So come join us and you'll be in good company. In the meantime, enjoy this episode with Chelsea Handler.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:01:24] I know that you microdose weed. You're the only other person I've met besides myself that does that. So I'm wondering like what, what products you use?
Chelsea Handler: [00:01:32] I use those Kiva blueberries. I think I have those odds right now. I like Cheeba Chews. I'm coming out with my own weed lines. So I've had to do a lot of research on weed. You know what I mean? I've had to figure out like because I want women to be empowered and emboldened to use the cannabis space in the way that men feel that about. You guys can't have everything. So mine is really geared towards women and re-introducing people who've had a bad experience with an edible or smoking weed that it's a different game now. And that there's an educated component that's been missing for so long and it's a game-changer. I mean it has changed my life in so many ways and I've seen it changed so many people. So I am on the cannabis train.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:02:11] Yeah. I think it's amazing. I sort of just started in my late 30s, which is probably a weird time to start smoking one.
Chelsea Handler: [00:02:18] Me too actually. I mean, I smoked it into high school, but you know, that wasn't real. And that was like, just to pretend to be interested in something to be cool or whatever, but it made me paranoid a lot.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:02:30] That was the problem. That's the problem I still have. That's why I'm microdosing because people go, “Oh man, try this.” And I'm like, if I take a half a breath, too much of that, my day is over.
Chelsea Handler: [00:02:40] Yeah. Yeah. Now you can really modify your day. For me, it opened up so many doorways because it helped me to sit still. Like I was never able to do that. I was always running around like, Hey, 80 things at a time, on my phone and doing like multitasking, acting like a moron basically. You think you're getting lots on and you're actually getting very little done.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:03:01] Yeah. You're just finding new things to distract yourself with. That's exactly my problem with it. Basically, I like a mint that's 2.5 milligrams and then like one more. That's one with like some CBD in there and then don't go, oh, it's not working. Let me take more.
Chelsea Handler: [00:03:17] Yeah. Yes. You've got to let it sink in. And also you're in charge of your mood, so when you take something like that, it's a mood lifter. It's like an enhancer. For me, it's like it makes everything a little bit more sparkly. It makes everybody a little bit less annoying and these are all things we want to all be able to engage with.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:03:34] I agree. I saw you on your Netflix show doing the dinner where everything's infused that I can't do because that's after the mushroom salad or whatever. I'm just like, I need to go to bed and not think about all of the bad things I've done for the last 17 years because that's what's coming into my head now.
Chelsea Handler: [00:03:51] Oh, I see. Yeah, that's your ego. We all have that stuff.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:03:56] Well, I have plenty of things to be ashamed of.
Chelsea Handler: [00:03:57] Well, we all do, but you can't beat yourself up about the things that you've done. You can only beat yourself up about the things you're going to do and do the right thing. We all have our past. We've all made those kinds of mistakes. That's too much weed! Cannabis dinner with everything infused is too much. I was high for three days after that. I mean, I don't know if I was ever right after that, quite frankly. That's not what you want to do to people. I don't want to dose people and I want people to know, like people think, “Oh, it's that like I have to be so scared.” I've introduced so many people to cannabis, people's parents, people's kids. My niece who has anxiety, like it's helped her. People's kids with seizures what I'm saying. Not giving it out to children is not what I meant. It's a real game-changer and it's having such an impact and it's such a love drug. It's so much better. It's growing out of the ground. We have this thing that mother earth gave us that we criminalized and said this is illegal. How could something that grows out of the ground be illegal? Why?
Jordan Harbinger: [00:05:06] Yeah, well, when I did security at clubs when I was younger, I was like the guy in charge of searching people because I'm—
Chelsea Handler: [00:05:11] Yeah [crosstalk]. Exactly what I thought.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:05:15] I'm a management type. I'm not management material. The guys were always like, “Oh, these guys are high. Should we let him in?” And my boss was like, “Yeah! The drunk guys are the ones that are going to punch people in the face in three hours. These guys are going to go to sleep at the table and then we're going to have to tap them on the shoulder and ask them to leave. That's it.”
Chelsea Handler: [00:05:32] Exactly.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:05:33] You must be pretty sick of doing interviews by now. I've seen you on everything.
Chelsea Handler: [00:05:36] No, I'm not. I'm in a different place in my life. I'm present. I'm present now for everything in my life, so I'm not sick of it because I'm actually doing it instead of trying to get through it. I'm enjoying the process rather than the result.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:05:48] Is that like Eckhart Tolle, that type stuff
Chelsea Handler: [00:05:50] Basically. Yeah. Totally. It is. It is. My book is all about going to therapy and then that turns into a podcast cause people were so curious about it. I guess therapy is more taboo than I thought. You know, I live in LA, so of course, I'm in my own bubble about therapy. Everybody does it. I didn’t think it was like anything interesting other than revealing your own story. What I didn't realize was, or what I've learned is that I was revealing so many people's stories. That's so many of us are in the same boat and going through the same. We’ll all experience grief, we'll all experience loss. It's part of the human experience. So when it resonated the way it did, I just felt like, okay, let's give people more. Like, I have my psychiatrist down on my podcast today and we talk about our therapy and him breaking down these walls I had built up and created. I thought that was my personality. I didn't know I was like fortifying myself. I just thought that I was a tough girl. I'm like, that's who I am.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:06:43] You had a very unorthodox entry to stand up. Can you tell us about that? Because I don't think most people get into stand up when they're essentially in remand for grime.
Chelsea Handler: [00:06:51] Right. Thank you for using the word remand. I got a DUI when I was like 21 and I got in a lot of trouble because I had my sister's ID and I forgot to change it out when I turned 21 because I'd been using it for so many years. So that caused a whole ruckus of other events because my sister was really pissed at me.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:07:09] Yeah, because she got a DUI.
Chelsea Handler: [00:07:11] Yeah, exactly. She's a moron. She's like, “Ah, I didn't get this, bitch.” So anyway, I had to go to DUI school. In DUI class, you go for like 15 weeks and everybody gets up and tells their story and I had such a fear of public speaking. I had an opinion and I always had an attitude and I was always kind of in-your-face about it, but I was never thought of myself as a public speaker. Like I wasn't going to speak in front of multiple people, not stand up and do it. Anyway, they forced you to do it in that class. Every night, I would hide in an area where I wouldn't get called on. And then at the very last class, I thought I’d gotten away with it. I'm like, “All right, I got this. I didn't even get called.” And then he's like, “Chelsea, come up here.” And I was like, “Fuck!” And I was so nervous. And then I started telling my story and all I did was tell what happened, and it was ridiculous. Like everything I do was always just in a very immature. I called the cops are racist. We were both white. I mean everything that didn't make sense I did. And the audience, the class was just like laughing and I was on stage for like for 14-15 minutes until the guy was like, “This is not standup. Get off the stage! You're enjoying this a little bit too much.” And that's when I was like, wait a second, I like this.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:08:29] And what did you like about it? Was it like validation or attention or was it just like, “Hey, people are laughing. I like making people laugh.”
Chelsea Handler: [00:08:35] I loved making people laugh. I think what I really wanted, I thought I wanted the attention and what I think I was really wanting was a connection. Those two could get confusing because I lost my brother when I was young; I lost my father ---because of losing my brother, he kind of got lost-- so we were all kind of lost and out to sea and that is a misconnection. And so I think when you're searching for that to refortify itself in your life, you're like I have an attachment issue now. You can confuse that with wanting attention and that's what I was doing. I just wanted everyone to pay attention to me. And really what I wanted was just somebody to say, “Hey, where are you going and where have you been today?”
Jordan Harbinger: [00:09:16] Like to care about.
Chelsea Handler: [00:09:17] To give a shit about my day-to-day because my parents kind of didn't. They had six kids. I was the youngest, so it was a wrap by the time I came on the scene. I was basically like a good job of raising yourself and good luck. And so my brothers and sisters raised me and then my brother died. That paradigm shifts and your whole world becomes unglued. When you're a nine-year-old kid, you don't have the vocabulary to wrap that pain up or even acknowledge it is.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:09:45] Sure, of course. You might not have even known at that age that you had pain. You just probably thought that this is a thing that happened and I’ve forgotten about it but all this acting out happens later.
Chelsea Handler: [00:09:54] Yeah. And I didn't know that's what cemented so much of my personality, that event. It becomes a blueprint for your life. The way that relationships end. When I was nine, my brother said, “I'll be right back. I'm coming back,” and died. So from then on, every relationship I ended was like that. Here today, gone tomorrow. If you pissed me off, you're out of my life. It's over and I would never think about you again. And until my psychiatrist, who I talk about in my book, Life Would Be the Death of Me, until he painted the picture and said, “The reason why you end relationships like that is because that's how you think they end.” That was when I was like, “Whoa, Holy shit.” Yeah, that's pretty obvious. And it should have been to me, but it wasn't.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:10:40] It does seem. It's funny because, of course, I read the book and I went, “How did she not pick up on this?” But you're in it, you can't read the label while inside the jar.
Chelsea Handler: [00:10:47] How did she not pick up on this is a great title for my next book.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:10:49] Yeah, that’s your next book. With comedy though, you didn't just dabble. You obviously went kind of balls to the wall like he didn't get out of the DUI school and go like, “Oh, I guess I'll have a talk show,” that a bunch of people watch now.
Chelsea Handler: [00:11:00] No, everything kind of falls into place. I think once you get focused about what you want to do in your life, things start to come together. Once you have a real focus, it becomes something. I got one show and then I wrote a book and then I wrote another book and I just kept getting rewarded for all of my behavior, which was great for me. I was like I'm allowed not if I talk about drinking and sleeping around, and people seem to love it. Great! I'll just keep cashing in on this.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:11:24] Did you ever wonder why you got picked? Because it's not like they're the only person who drank and slept around. Did you ever think like, “Wow, they like it when I do it. I'm famous for this. I'm making money doing this,” other people are doing this are not getting—?
Chelsea Handler: [00:11:37] I didn't know. No, no, I didn't think about it in those terms. I just thought about it like at the time when you're going through it, you think it's because of your talent. You think you're really talented, that you have something unique that you're sharing. And then over time, you start to mature and understand that you are a privilege. I'm privileged. I’m white, first of all.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:11:55] I did notice that.
Chelsea Handler: [00:11:56] Thank you. And I'm pretty or I was pretty when I started and I'm just getting prettier and prettier as each year goes on. But, you know, I had a lot of advantages. I never struggled. I was never hungry. I've never been sexually assaulted. I've never struggled for any material thing in my life. I've never struggled—
Jordan Harbinger: [00:12:18] At all, you think?
Chelsea Handler: [00:12:19] Emotionally with my brother's death, with my mother's death. Have I ever struggled? Not in a way that can relate to what somebody any marginalized person has just to struggle. When you think about life in those terms, which was a big wake up call for me to be like, “Hey, get out of your own asshole and think about what's going on in other people's lives and why are all your friends white and why do you live in Bel-Air and why have you never lived in any community that's diverse when you sit here and think you're evolved or you're woke.” You have to take a deeper look at things and go, all right, I've got the luxury of taking time to take a look at myself and try to be better. So if I don't take that on, then I'm a real fucking asshole.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:12:59] Yeah. You've kind of squandered this opportunity to do it.
Jason DeFillippo: [00:13:04] You're listening to The Jordan Harbinger Show with our guest Chelsea handler. We'll be right back.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:13:08] This episode is sponsored in part by Calm. Are you struggling to get to sleep these days? Well, you're not alone. One in three US adults doesn't get enough sleep, and if you're not sleeping enough, it can really affect your cognitive function during the day--learning problem solving, decision making. Actually a few years ago, several years ago now, when I thought, “Oh, I can get by on five or six hours of sleep,” I was just really chronically under-rested. I don’t know if you know anything about that, Jason.
Jason DeFillippo: [00:13:33] Oh yeah. I know a little bit about that. It wears at you over time and it's insidious--Lack of sleep.
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Jason DeFillippo: [00:14:32] 40 million people have downloaded Calm. Find out why at calm.com/jordan.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:14:37] This episode is also sponsored by Experian Boost. You know that the better your credit score, the easier it is to get the stuff you want or the less you have to pay for that, in other words. The question is why is it so hard to raise your score. Well, because it takes into account a bunch of different factors, but often not the factors that you are routinely paying such as utility bills and things like that. And Experian Boost is a brand new way to essentially instantly increase your credit scores for free. A higher credit score can help you establish and get access to credit preferred rates for things that you want and need in life. Everything from computers to cars and Experian will help you build better access to credit and people all across America have already raised their credit scores with Experian Boost and you can do it as well. So paying your utilities, your cell phone can improve your credit score. Normally places don't report those bills getting paid. It doesn't do anything for your credit score, but it should. Water, gas, electric cable, cell phone--you're paying those every month. Normally, they're just kind of ignored and they focus on a few factors, but that's why it would take months to see your credit score raise a point or two with Boost your credit score increases instantly because it can essentially log in and check the record of payment. It sees you paying on time, great credit boost, not bad. This seems like an obvious solution so I can't really believe it's taken so long for a company to do this. Experian Boost can potentially help you establish or increase your access to credit. Jason.
Jason DeFillippo: [00:16:01] Boost your FICO score instantly for free. Boost is only available at experian.com/jordan. That's E-X-P-R-I-A-N.com/jordan.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:16:10] it seems really obvious they should use utilities --water, gas, electric cell phone-- in your credit report. It seems obvious. I don't know why that hasn't been a thing so far,
Jason DeFillippo: [00:16:20] But now it is at experian.com/jordan.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:16:23] That's right.
Jason DeFillippo: [00:16:24] Thank you for listening and supporting the show. To learn more and get links to all the great discounts from our amazing sponsors and to help keep the show going, visit jordanharbinger.com/deals. Don't forget we have a worksheet for today's episode so you can make sure you solidify your understanding of the key takeaways from Chelsea Handler. That link is in the show notes at jordanharbinger.com/podcast. If you'd like some tips on how to subscribe to the show, just go to jordanharbinger.com/subscribe. Subscribing to the show is absolutely free and it just means that you get all of the latest episodes in your podcast player as they're released so you don't miss a single thing. Now back to our show with Chelsea Handler.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:17:01] You chased fame and money and you felt exhausted as a result. That's from your book. So do you remember the motivation behind that? I'm curious because to me fame sounds like the kind of thing you either care a ton about from the get-go. Like when you're young, you’re like I'm going to be famous, everyone's going to love me. Or you just do something like the DUI school, you get a taste and you're like, “Oh, I like this a lot. I'm going to keep doing this.”
Chelsea Handler: [00:17:23] Yeah, I mean I wanted attention definitely and I liked it too and I'm still liking it. I'm on tour now for my book. I just turned my book into a stand-up tour. I was like, I'm never going to do standup again. I'm never going to do standup again. I was done. I had burned myself out just like I had burned myself out with my books. I didn't want to do standup or write a book until I did have something to say. I do have something to say now. Even that evolution of me coming back and I just added all these cities which you can get tickets for at livenation.com. I should plug that because I just added new dates. But like that in itself is just like me returning back to what I really am supposed to be doing. Now that I'm lighter and I'm more focused and I have my feet on the ground a lot more because I took the time to actually say, “Hey, I could do a little bit better at this whole life thing I think.”
Jordan Harbinger: [00:18:09] We'll link to your dates in the show notes and live nation and there's probably a page where they can book tickets and buy things. You add new dates if everything was sold out before now you can go see Chelsea live. Is your show standup or is it like a presentation of the book?
Chelsea Handler: [00:18:24] It's both. It's like a one-woman show I read from the book and then I'm going to do like an hour of standup.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:18:29] Oh nice. All right. That sounds—do you enjoy doing that? Is that fun?
Chelsea Handler: [00:18:32] I have been enjoying it. I mean this is the first time I've done a book tour without having a TV show to come back to every week. So I fly out every Thursday, Friday, Saturday. Like I'm going to Westbury Long Island and I come back and I have those four days to like get ready for the next week. I've never done that before. I've never done a tour when I didn't have a TV show. I've never released a book without a TV show. It's a whole different world for me. And I'm like, Oh, this is what being present is. Actually sitting still and talking about the same thing over and over again and if you don't interfere it with a million other things, you can actually be focused about it.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:19:07] Yeah. You mentioned before that now you feel like your work quality is elevated now that you're not focused on 87 different things.
Chelsea Handler: [00:19:13] Yeah.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:19:14] That's satisfying for me to do. Like I spent 20 hours preparing for an interview, maybe 10 and I like doing that. Other people say, “Who's coming in today?” “Oh, Chelsea Handler.” “Cool. She's that white girl from that show. Like, okay, well I'll fake it.” It's more fun to like know what you're doing.
Chelsea Handler: [00:19:33] Yeah. I went through life a lot, like what you just described a lot and now I'm more interested in knowing what I'm talking about.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:19:40] Yeah. It's better that way though. It's like you know that you're in some way fulfilling your potential. You're not just like riding on talent and going like, I hope nobody spots me fucking winging it.
Chelsea Handler: [00:19:50] Right, right, exactly. But also being present for that, like being in the moment. You can't lose when you're actually paying attention to what someone else is saying. You know what I mean? If you really are present, no one ever gets flustered. The conversation flows naturally. Like it's also important. And it sounds kind of like corny. I mean, I know I certainly looked at things like being present and words like universe and manifest and all of that shit as what, like a whole pile of dog shit in Topanga Canyon. And I certainly had that attitude. And then, of course, I ate my words and became exactly what I was making fun.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:20:25] But it's really easy. I'm on a vendetta against all this sort of bullshitty self-help stuff that's on Instagram because what it does, it looks great in the moment and then someone like you or me who needs it goes, “Oh, that's all bullshit. Okay.” And then you throw the baby out with the bathwater and you won't listen to something that actually will help you because you'd put it in the same camp as somebody who's like, here's a picture of me on the beach doing this. And it's like you can because you're enough and you're just like, ah, throw it out. And it screws it up for people that are actually looking for, for real guidance or help. It becomes a problem because you can't find anything that you don't put in that lump of like LA bullshit. Then it's beach trendiness and it seems like you did the same thing actually.
Chelsea Handler: [00:21:08] Yeah, yeah. No, I mean, you know, it's whatever you want to take seriously, I suppose. With the election and that political stuff and people are like, go back to being funny. It's like yeah, I get there when I get there, I'm not worried about my funny, I've got that in spades. What I needed was serious stuff. I needed to balance it with some real like empathy and understanding of people. Like that's what I was in a deficit of. So don't worry about my funny, my funny is always going to be there. This is what I'm talking about right now because it's important to share.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:21:42] Do you feel like the activism might've come from --well this is, I'm leading the witness here-- but do you feel like, okay, I spent a lot of time caring only about myself. Now I'm spending time trying to make the world better based on strong views that you have.
Chelsea Handler: [00:21:55] Yeah, yeah, absolutely. After the election, I had such a strong reaction and it was such a trigger for me about what happened during my childhood, which was explained to me by Dan, my guy who was like, this is just the other time you felt so destabilized. I want it to get out, I want it to get out of my own show. And, and, and, and being screaming from afar, I wanted to get on the ground and actually talk to people. My entry point into therapy was ostensibly under the umbrella that I need to have conversations with people who voted for Donald Trump and not scream and yell at them and not have the veins pop out of my neck. I want to be able to make a point without yelling. That was my modus operandi going into therapy. And what I got out of it was a lot more.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:22:42] Your mom died young and I know your brother died young too. You mentioned that you do seem really tough though. I mean, it can't all be fake. And you even said that people used to say they were scared of you. I think people probably still are.
Chelsea Handler: [00:22:54] Yeah. I think it's fine to have some people scared of me.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:22:57] I was going to ask you how that feels.
Chelsea Handler: [00:22:58] I've got so many people in my life. Thinning the herd is not a big deal. There’s just a lot of people always in my life. I'm a very social person. I have no boundaries. I've got people that are in and out. People who shouldn't be in my life or in my life because I just don't care about boundaries. I don't have the kind of parameters. I never grew up with it. I'm always like, Oh, somebody could be like squatting in my house for three months and my whole team or all the people like, “When are you going to get rid of that guy?” I'm like, “Oh, who cares?” And then I'll do something terrible and I'm like, “Oh, okay. You guys were right.” I'm like that.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:23:32] Really? So there's like some dude on your couch in theory right now.
Chelsea Handler: [00:23:35] No, there’s no one on my couch.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:23:37] Okay, they’re in the bedroom.
Chelsea Handler: [00:23:38] But you know what I mean? They're staying—
Jordan Harbinger: [00:23:40] Nobody’s on the couch. Please join me.
Chelsea Handler: [00:23:42] No, no, no. What are you talking about?
Jordan Harbinger: [00:23:44] They have their own room. They have their own bathroom. I heard you wrapped your talk show because you got sick of doing it and I'm curious why you got sick of doing it. Because that's my worst fear is like waking up one day and going, fuck I hate doing this. I don't have that feeling at all now but it scares me because I don't know what else I could possibly do.
Chelsea Handler: [00:24:02] Yeah. I think it was part of the election. It was just such a dark time. And so I couldn't focus on the show. All I cared about was Trump. All I cared about was when is he going to be removed from office because I thought it was like impending. Like it was going to happen any day. They're going to drag them out of the White House in his underoos and just throw him in the jail. Like I really believed that was going to happen. And then finally I was like, okay, this is news changes from reportage to speculation and conjecture very quickly usually. So once you realize that the news is nothing and means nothing and is just spin and pontificating. I mean it's so stupid really when you think about it. Once I got off that train, I was able to start to like to think about other things. I wanted to be in a place of action rather than reaction. That's always been my thing. I'm always been reactive and I'm the one who's going to go in and defend anyone and yell at you and tell you you're stupid. And I wanted to be in a place where I wasn't talking so much, and now here I am, doing one podcast after another, then my own podcast. I can't shut the fuck up.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:25:13] Yeah. We tried to do a New York Times photo thing. I don't know if you knew about that and they're like, “Oh she doesn't have time to do hair and makeup.” And I went, “All right, fine. No problem.” But I just thought it was funny because your team goes, ”What's the story about?” I go, “It's about me telling everyone that they don't all have to do podcasts because some people shouldn't.” And they go, “Do you know that you know that Chelsea has a podcast?” “Yeah, I think she'll be on board. Like she'll get it. Not everyone should be a talk show host. It's a thing. You don't have to do it because they exist. Not everyone has to have it.”
Chelsea Handler: [00:25:40] I had a very, I had an aversion to do it too as well because of that reason. Of course, I mean listen, everybody does have a fucking podcast. It's a joke. It's a great draw because there is no hair and makeup and that's something I could get on board with. But mine is a limited series podcast to go with my tour because I figured, let me see what this is. And people were really curious about the therapy components. So I'm allowed to like have my psychiatrist on it. I'm allowed to do whatever I want. I mean I really enjoyed being on podcasts as a guest. There's something so nice about not performing for a camera, not having the visual. I mean I don't care because I've been on camera forever, but there's something very much more intimate obviously, which is why podcasts are so popular and people love them.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:26:24] You don’t have to perform really. You can just talk.
Chelsea Handler: [00:26:26] And I like that especially for what I'm talking about right now.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:26:30] You mentioned that talent booking was one of the main reasons you didn't like doing the show. And I thought that was interesting because, for me, my number one biggest pain in the ass is like, “Are they going to confirm? Are they going to change it? Is this going to happen? Oh, they're going to yank it at the last minute. Good thing I flew down to LA.” That's a constant thing. And I realized, well, okay, if Chelsea Handler is not big enough to not have a pain in the ass with talent booking, then I can just get over the fact that this is going to get erased when I hit a certain level because it's not going to happen.
Chelsea Handler: [00:26:59] Yeah, it’s a total pain in the ass and then everybody's jockeying for the first interview for everything. So you have to play this like, you know, echelon thing like with Jimmy Kimmel and Jimmy Fallon and who goes first and who goes second. It's like, why am I at war with all these people? Like I can't have Charlize Theron on before you do. It's that kind of shit. So I didn't, I didn't like that at all and everyone's got their own audience. Nobody gives a shit. I mean, nobody gives a shit about this shit. Honestly, it's so stupid. So then I've just realized I didn't give a shit either. And that's very liberating. I mean, I know people already think I don't give a shit, but like it's the next level of I don't give a shit. Now, I really don't give a shit about any of it, about anything because I know it doesn't matter. All that matters is like really, really like spreading good vibrations.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:27:52] I can appreciate that. I think one thing that you mentioned that really hit home was you said, “I have to be fake in celebrity interviews,” and I guess probably pretending to care about what they're doing. First of all, that's hard. It's hard and I'm good at like getting involved in someone's life, but it would be so hard for me to be like, I can't wait to see Avenger. The newest thing that like you're sitting in front of me like wow. Or asking questions or being enthusiastic at a certain time. And I think that half the time that the talking points are made up by the PR person in the car on the way to the interview and you have to get past all of that and it seems exhausting to do.
Chelsea Handler: [00:28:28] Yeah. I mean it's exhausting when people aren't real. A lot of people take themselves really seriously in this industry, which is unfortunate because it's hard to take someone seriously, in my opinion, that takes themselves seriously. It's much more fun to have a real conversation to be down and just to be down and be cool and just talk about whatever. Like without having talking points, without worrying about so much about how you look. It's hard to say that I'm guilty of the very same thing.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:28:55] I mean, I'm sitting here with a fucking iPad full of talking points, so it does hit home.
Chelsea Handler: [00:29:01] I mean, that's good preparation and everything and I'm not poo-pooing that because that is important and I wish more people would be better prepared, myself included. That's something I'm a little lazy about being prepared for interviews, not because of anything, I don't have an excuse, but I think—
Jordan Harbinger: [00:29:17] Do you feel like maybe you don't care enough about some of the things that you have to do to prepare for them.
Chelsea Handler: [00:29:21] Well, I try to make sure that whatever I do now, I do care about. I try not to have—Do you have another one of those Coke Zero? It looks really good.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:29:29] Here take this.
Chelsea Handler: [00:29:30] Is it cold?
Jordan Harbinger: [00:29:30] Yeah, it is. It's super cold. It's ice-cold and somebody will maybe get me in another one, maybe. Sorry, I don't mean to turn you into a server but yeah. Isn't that nice? I never have that. You probably have that all the time. I can’t—
Chelsea Handler: [00:29:44] It’s so good.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:29:44] It's so rare that I get to be like, “Excuse me, can you—” I never get to do that, so thank you for allowing me to do that.
Chelsea Handler: [00:29:51] How did that feel?
Jordan Harbinger: [00:29:52] It felt so good. Good in a way where I'm like, God, don't get used to this. Jordan, don't get used to this.
Chelsea Handler: [00:29:57] Yeah. It gets easy. You can get, you can get amnesia, domestic amnesia. I had it for a long time. I still am coming out of it, but yeah, you get a lot of people doing a lot of things for you and you start to think that's how the world goes round and it's really embarrassing.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:30:10] Yeah. Like I need to take a breath right now and be like, just enjoy it now, and then let go.
Chelsea Handler: [00:30:13] And yeah, you're a white guy so you really can't get carried away with it. It's a wrap on white guys. So just divorce yourself from the idea that that's a comfortable feeling for you.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:30:20] The sun is setting on me being able to do that. Look, I've heard you say you lack empathy. Speaking of like bossing other people around and being a horrible boss, but you did set up scholarships for your employee's kids. And as much as it might be like, Oh well, you know, I don't care. And like I'm, I'm hard to get along with nobody that I talked to whose names I can't even get into because they all love you. Your staff loves you.
Chelsea Handler: [00:30:47] Oh well thank you. That's very nice. We had a great time. There's nobody on my staff that shouldn't because it was awesome. I mean, you know what I mean? We had an amazing time on that show and yes, I took care of all of my employees because I would do that for strangers if they worked for me. I mean your employees become your family.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:31:03] You can literally just walk in. It's fine. Like it's more distracting. Thank you. Thank you. And plus I get to go. Thank you very much, everyone, for bringing that Coke in.
Chelsea Handler: [00:31:14] Yeah. That's never been a weakness of mine. I’ve always been generous. That's easy. That's an easy thing for me.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:31:20] That's easy for you. I mean, I'm surprised to hear that because the image that is portrayed—maybe not voluntarily by you, but maybe it's a media construction is like, Oh, you know, watch yourself. She's nice. She's not super friendly. Like a lot of people want to either make you look like that or that's what you've looked into and I put that in air quotes like that. You've looked into like, yeah, she has a little bit, it's a thing.
Chelsea Handler: [00:31:41] Yeah, I get that. I can understand why people think that but I'm no, generosity is a different thing. That's easy to do. You have a lot of money and you can share it. It doesn't really affect me either way. It's very ego-driven generosity too. You give people things to A, maybe make up for your behavior or B, because it doesn't take anything away from you. So real generosity is taking something away from yourself to give to another person. That's real generosity. Spreading money around when you have millions of dollars, that's kind of just expected. You know what I mean? It's being nice and being generous. I've always had that. That's never been my deficit. My deficits or other things.
Jason DeFillippo: [00:32:28] This is The Jordan Harbinger Show with our guest Chelsea Handler. We'll be right back after this.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:32:33] This episode is sponsored in part by Apartments.com.
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Jordan Harbinger: [00:33:28] This episode is also sponsored by KiwiCo. We all love a good subscription box from food boxes to wellness boxes. They're all the rage right now, but what about a subscription box for your kids that's fun, educational, and helps them develop creative confidence? Well, I love KiwiCo. We tried this, I gave it to my friend's kids. KiwiCo like the fruit. They create these super cool hands-on projects for kids to make learning about STEAM--science, technology, engineering, art, and math. They make that really fun. It's designed by experts, tested by kids. You don't have to worry about gathering supplies. Everything is included and they have different lines to choose from for kids of all ages zero to 16. So Tadpole, all the way up to Eureka creates where they build something really legit for the teenager. If you're pressed for time each month, the kid in your life gets a new, fun, engaging project with everything they need. No 4:00 a.m., where the batteries? Well, I hope your kids, not up at 4:00 a.m. but no more Christmas—Jason, you remember when we were kids, you'd get a toy for Christmas and it's like, “AA batteries. Do we have any of those?” “No”. “Oh, everything's closed. Guess you can't have your toy until tomorrow.”
Jason DeFillippo: [00:34:32] That was the worst.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:34:33] That was the worst. Anyway, each box comes with all supplies, everything. Detailed instructions are written for kids, not for adults that have engineering degrees. There's an educational magazine you can learn about that crates theme and you can do it together. It's all about like engaging with the kid and doing it and it's fun. They build little gadgets. They build little simple machines. They stick stuff together. It's educational and fun. So Jason, tell them where they can get the KiwiCo kits.
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Jordan Harbinger: [00:35:23] This episode is sponsored in part by Arm & Hammer Cloud Control litter. I love my cats, but I don't love all the dust and all the gross kitty litter stuff. I just feel like there are tons of weird bacteria. First of all, Jen is pregnant now, as you all know, she's not allowed. There's so much research and alarmist stuff about not letting pregnant women clean the litter box. Apparently, there are bacteria in there that can do real damage. So the fact that that's floating around in the air just makes it gross. I don't love cleaning up Momo’s litter box for a good reason and that's why this Arm & Hammer Cloud Control litter is kind of a game-changer for us here. There's no cloud of nasties when the litter robot--yes, we have a robotic litter box. That's a whole different thing. When that thing turns and does this thing or when we have to scoop, it's dust-free. There are no heavy perfumes. I don't need my living room smelling like an old lady and cat poop. I'll just settle for a little bit of muted cat poop. I don't need heavy perfumes. There's not this airborne dander from scooping or swirling around. So what happens in the litter box stays in the litter box with this new Cloud Control cat litter by Arm & Hammer, more power to you.
Jason DeFillippo: [00:36:32] Thank you for listening and supporting the show. Your support of our advertisers is what keeps us on the air and to learn more and get links to all the great discounts you just heard so you can check out our amazing sponsors, visit jordanharbinger.com/deals and don't forget the worksheet for today's episode. That link is in the show notes at jordanharbinger.com/podcast and if you're listening to us on the overcast player, please click that little star next to the episode. It really helps us out. And now for the conclusion of our show with Chelsea Handler.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:37:01] I do love that you yelled at P Diddy on camera because he was late.
Chelsea Handler: [00:37:04] He was like three hours late.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:37:06] How satisfying was that?
Chelsea Handler: [00:37:07] Oh, I went off on him. I went off on him backstage and on camera. I was pissed.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:37:11] I have so many guests—
Chelsea Handler: [00:37:12] So disrespectful.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:37:14] It is and I appreciate that you're in a position where you were able to do that to somebody like that. I have a whole list of guests where I'm like, in my dreams, I'm able to tell you a new asshole for showing or like canceling while I'm sitting here with everyone. The lights are on and they're like, “Oh, he's going to eat lunch first.” Like, “Are you kidding me? How dare you?” But I have no, I've no power at all.
Chelsea Handler: [00:37:36] Yeah. Right. Well, with P Diddy, I felt like at that time deserve to be yelled at.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:37:43] Yeah, just generally.
Chelsea Handler: [00:37:44] Yeah, just in general. That's how I felt at that time.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:37:48] Did your mom listen to Dr. Laura growing up? Is that a real anecdote?
Chelsea Handler: [00:37:51] Schlessinger. For sure all the time. That AM radio and you know that fuzzy reception. My childhood is just filled with like long hot car rides where there was no air conditioning and listening to that static.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:38:05] Yeah. Where you drive under a power line and it's like—I think I understand what you said.
Chelsea Handler: [00:38:09] It’s just like, “Mom, can't we listen to just some real shit, like some music or I don’t know some Bonnie Tyler.”
Jordan Harbinger: [00:38:16] Of course, Bonnie Tyler. Did her vice not drive you crazy though? Like were you listening to that thinking--When I heard that I went, I would never agree with that. I would never give that advice. Or like how sanctimonious is this person?
Chelsea Handler: [00:38:29] Yeah. I remember thinking my mom has been brainwashed listening to this.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:38:35] This is why you're parenting me this way because Dr. Laura was like, “Kids don't have privacy. I go in my kid's closet and I read their diary.” And it's like, this is why you're creating this person right now because you're listening to her who's got her heads so far up of her—Well, we don't have to get on that road. I feel like I was parented in part by Dr. Laura and I was like, wow, if your mom was into the same thing, no wonder we have the same little—
Chelsea Handler: [00:38:59] And she is so still alive, isn’t she?
Jordan Harbinger: [00:39:0] I don't know. Probably, I mean there still is—is she? It's got to be replaced by now.
Chelsea Handler: [00:39:06] I don't know. I think she and Dr. Ruth Westheimer are still alive.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:39:09] Dr. Ruth though is a pioneer in the way like she was like—
Chelsea Handler: [00:39:12] Yeah, she was on Ellen the other day.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:39:14] Really? How old is she now?
Chelsea Handler: [00:39:16] She's like to a hundred.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:39:17] Yeah, minimum. I did enjoy your book, by the way, the latest one. I know you were talking to Conan and you're like, yeah, this is a book that I wrote when I had something to say and he made a pretty funny comment, which was like, “Oh, so the other books you just wrote for money,” which is kind of like you're busted on that one because I feel like a lot of people in your position really do that. You write a book and then it's like, “Hey, you want another like $2 million?”
Chelsea Handler: [00:39:40] Yeah, I would like to make a statement that I got on the book writing bandwagon way before any of these other girls did. I mean I did my horizontal life when I was 27 years old. That was before every celebrity came out with a memoir. I'm not taking responsibility for that movement, but I didn't jump on a bandwagon. My first book was before I was on a TV show. It just came out when I was on one. So I like to think of myself since I didn't go to college and I liked to overcompensate for my lack of education. I always like to think of myself as a writer first. It's like writing six books, you know? Some people will have one. Some people have two. When I started writing books, I was like, what if I just become an author? Maybe that's what I'll do. And I remember my first editor, his name was Colin Dickerman. He was like, “No, you can't survive on that. You'll never survive on being an author.” And I'm like, the author part of my life is the most satisfying part of my career.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:40:34] Why is that?
Chelsea Handler: [00:40:35] Just because I love to be able to write and I'm getting so much better at it. Like this book is so much stronger in terms of my writing and then my last books that I just know I can get better and better. And then if I keep honing the skill like I could become a great writer one day.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:40:51] So you wrote this book yourself. There's not like a ghostwriter person who's like, “Hey, what do you think of this chapter?”
Chelsea Handler: [00:40:55] No, no, I don't have a ghostwriter. I've written all my books myself.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:40:58] I really feel like--I don't know if I could do that. I can write but I'm might be even scared to do it, thinking that there’s someone else's better and suited to this.
Chelsea Handler: [00:41:06] Yeah. A lot of people have people helped them with the books.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:41:09] And you just don't need that.
Chelsea Handler: [00:41:10] No, I don't want that. I want to be able to get better at it. That's not the way for me to learn. The way for me to learn is to do it and I have to do it by myself and sorted out. So I'm really like proud of that aspect of things. Like I feel like I'm maturing as a writer and I'm getting to a place where I'm going to whip something up.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:41:28] Yeah, it was well done. Pardon me, I'm always a little surprised when I have somebody like Moby wrote a book and I read it and I went, there's no way he wrote this. There are words in here, I'm googling what they mean. Some DJ didn't write this book and when I asked him, he was like, “Yeah, I wrote this. I was a philosophy major and I really liked this.” And I thought like, that's so much more impressive because it's also not like you telling a story and someone's going, “Ooh, she sounds like a horrible person. Let me rewrite this in a different way that makes her sound good.” And then you're like, “Oh yeah, that looks good.” You running at yourself as completely different. You don't try to whitewash your past. You just tried to be as real as you can and it's unusual I think.
Chelsea Handler: [00:42:07] Well, yeah, I mean it is unusual I suppose. I mean, who knew truths was such a commodity in this industry. I think that's what—you find what you're good at and you lean into it. Like, I want to be telling the truth, like whatever I'm going through, I'm going to tell you the truth about it. So right now this is what I'm going through. So here's what's happening. When I was drinking and partying, that's what was happening. I keep coming back to that because it is authentic and you can only tell your story. If you're doing the line of work that I'm in, which is being basically a communicator, then that's what I got to do. Like that's kind of my job and I like it and I'm good at it. So just keep doing the things that you're good at and then you're just going to keep getting better at them.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:42:50] It's cool that you still care about the craft because it's easy to not care after a while. After a measure of success, you can just—I mean, you see it with music where you're like, Oh, they got 20 million for that. That's why they made it and you don't seem to do that at all.
Chelsea Handler: [00:43:04] Well, I've done it, but I would like to not do that again. I definitely have taken a paycheck before thinking about what I was going to do. Like, oh yeah, sure I'll do that. I've definitely got in exchange for a paycheck, delivered a project that I didn't really think about beforehand. But I would hope that I don't do that anymore.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:43:24] Yeah. You can even hear your voice crack as you read certain emotional parts of the book and some people would probably be tempted to go, Oh, let me retake that. And I don't want to, I want to keep my image as a showman buttoned up and unlock. I don't want to sound like I'm vulnerable here. And you don't seem to have a problem with that at all.
Chelsea Handler: [00:43:41] No, I don't have a problem with the truth. I like it. I mean, anything that's true is okay with me.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:43:47] You've thought deeply in this book, especially deeply about your family. Like your mother's death is in there. There's a lot of pain in there. And I'm wondering what role that played in your career, the pain did. Like was it feel as if or it was your career, like more escapism in the beginning?
Chelsea Handler: [00:44:02] Both, like it was a source of motivation in many ways because I wanted it, the attention that was kind of withdrawn from me, from my family, from my dad after my brother died from my brother. I wanted a lot of attention. So it was a way to cope and it was a driving force, like to get the attention, I thought that will be what I needed. I was thirsty and I was dehydrated from love and in a sense and, and I thought the attention would be love. And it is, and it does help. It feels good to be loved and to have people who have fans and have people say that you changed their life or that you are saying something that they are thinking but it didn't have the courage to say. All of those things keep you going. So like it all leads into the other thing. It led to my charge of life and wanting to take charge of my life. Not having to rely on, on a guy or my father because he's disappointment in my mother was. And everybody who was adults seem to be unreliable. So it was about me growing up at nine and saying, “Okay, I'm going to go up, I'm going to be rich and famous and I'm going to take care of everybody in my life so that nobody ever has to take care of me.” That was my goal and that was my net narrative and I was going to do whatever I had to do to get that to happen. And I did and it happened. So be careful of yourself because we're all really strong.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:45:22] Yeah, it's rare to accomplish a big, ambitious goal like that. Do you think about having kids yourself at all or are you like, “Oh I could do this and then not screw them up,” or are you like, “Wow, I'm not ready for that responsibility?”
Chelsea Handler: [00:45:33] No, I'm not. I'm not interested in having children. I mean, I've never been interested in having children. I don't think we need more of me. I think I'm going to be able to do so much more in this world because I don't have children. Like I can do so much more good because I don't have that distraction and I don't have the expense.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:45:54] Yeah. I suppose if you're not all gung ho all in on having kids, you definitely shouldn't do it.
Chelsea Handler: [00:45:59] No. I think people need to take a real close look and why they're having kids and think about it. You don't have to have kids. Like just because everyone's been doing it for so long, it's really nice to actually go, “Whoa, wait, what do I want to do in my life?” For me, I care so much about traveling and caring so much about seeing the entire world as much of it as I can see. I am selfish in that way. Yeah, I could have a boyfriend and I could get married, but the children are not on my map unless somebody needs me to be a parent to somebody in an emergency situation. And of course, I would do that. But my contribution is not children that much I know.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:46:40] The activism is like more of what you're into now.
Chelsea Handler: [00:46:43] Well that and the work I'm doing, making it good and making it something that I'm into doing, getting back into standup and having fun with this new information and letting people know that we're all bunch of fucking idiots just trying hard and so like let's help each other out.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:47:02] Growing up on sort of unparented. Is that fair to say?
Chelsea Handler: [00:47:06] Semi-parented.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:47:07] Semi-parented. Now you have like 30 people around you all the time. Like even trying to get this done, it was like, “Oh well hold on, let me call Chelsea's team,” and then, they call and then it's like there are three layers between maybe four between even making this happen. And people being like, “Oh, Hey, Coke zero.” “Yeah, that looks good.” “Can I have one of those?” And now you have like 30 parents. Their lives revolve around you. It's like this whole team of people. How do you get used to that?
Chelsea Handler: [00:47:33] I don’t know anything about that. I just deal with my assistant Brandon and he tells me what to do. There's probably a big team around me. I know there is a big team around me, but I don't know about all these different layers. I can only imagine how annoying it must be. But yeah, a lot of people want to talk and have to insert their opinions and a lot of things. That's just the way it is in this town. It's really, really boring.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:47:56] Do you think that's boring?
Chelsea Handler: [00:47:57] Yeah.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:47:57] I think it's fun that your assistant tells you what to do. I feel the same.
Chelsea Handler: [00:47:59] Yeah, he totally dominates me. I don't even argue with him. I was standing on the deck at my house this morning and I said this wood looks too red. I don't like the red tint in it. I want it dark brown. And Brandon goes, “I think the red is fine.” And then he walked inside. That was it. He decided to overrule me in my own fucking house and I just said to you, okay, whatever Brandon says. Basically, he's inserting himself into my brain and slowly commandeering and I'm fine with that.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:48:28] You need someone.
Chelsea Handler: [00:48:29] I'm so tired, I'm fine with that. I'm just like, listen, I want to marry him. He's gay and he's my husband.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:48:34] Yeah, I feel like you might need someone like that
Chelsea Handler: [00:48:38] He even likes to ski and I mean, I made him start skiing because I'm a very passionate skier. t's very important to me to ski. And he started skiing because of how important was to me and now he loves it as much as I do. So now I have my ski buddy too. I don't even have to go get a ski guide now.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:48:54] No. Well, you molded him into the parent you needed and now he's like, no, you, this is what you have now. You're going to do what I say.
Chelsea Handler: [00:49:03] Yeah, exactly. Now, I have parents.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:49:04] We're going to have a red deck, Chelsea. I mean I don't live here, but your deck is red and that's how it's going to be. Do you think you found what you were looking for in LA, like when you came here to be famous and loved and everything, like you have accomplished that, but do you feel satisfied having done that?
Chelsea Handler: [00:49:20] Yeah, I feel super satisfied. I mean, I got way more than I could've ever asked for. I mean, my life is ridiculous.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:49:27] It is. It seems awesome.
Chelsea Handler: [00:49:30] And it just keeps getting better because now I'm awake. I'm a little bit more with it and so everything's better. Life just becomes easier when you stop fighting everything and lean into like the good stuff and not resist change and just say, “Okay, that situation didn't work out. Let's move on to the next thing.” Don't fight things so much. I always was such a fighter and it's like, it's okay. It doesn't matter. Everything is going to be okay. Ultimately everything is going to be fine. We have no choice in the matter, so you can either get along with everybody or you can fight with everybody.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:50:05] You do seem to have a sixth sense for your career decisions though. You were cut out for this town in some ways. I was reading this anecdote probably yesterday. You quit hosting the show called On the Lot, which was produced by Mark Burnett, Steven Spielberg. Like these are guys where everything they touch turns to gold/platinum and you were like, “This sucks. This is terrible. I'm not doing this.” That takes serious guts and then it lasted one season.
Chelsea Handler: [00:50:29] Well, I quit. First of all, I was really bad at the job. That's why I quit. I'm sure that was something. I was terrible. It was like a reality show host, which I can't do that. It's a very Ryan Seacrest. He's great at that. I'm not, so I quit because I was bad at it and because I had my other show, but that was beginning. I'm a quitter. I quit a lot of shows because I have this very same reason I jump in and then, or I get bored. That one I didn't get bored. I just was like this, I'm terrible. Mark Burnett knew or how bad I was and we all agreed it was good for me to quit that.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:51:05] Really? So, you didn't just like leave going, this is a train wreck out, I’m out.
Chelsea Handler: [00:51:08] Well, that too, but I also just was not interested in hosting a television show like that. Like I could host a talk show, but hosting a reality show with contestants kind of made my vagina hurt.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:51:20] Did you know you'd be good at the talk show thing? Like did you think, Oh I love talking, I can do this. I mean, how did you even know that that would be okay?
Chelsea Handler: [00:51:27] It’s natural. I mean, that's very easy for me to do because it's just so who I am. I am really inquisitive. I want to talk to people, I want to learn about everything. All of that was natural. No, I never aspired to be a talk show host per se. I didn't say, Oh, I want to have my own late-night show. It just kind of fell into. I did standup and then I did a show called Girls Behaving Badly. And then I started doing stuff for the E Network and then they gave me The Chelsea Handler Show. That didn't work. So then they changed that into Chelsea Lately. I've had so many television shows with my name in them. Between Chelsea on Netflix and then Chelsea Does and all of it. Eventually, you're just like, I got to change my name. Like it's too much. It's a lot.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:52:15] I've heard you say men are scared of you and that you don't like it, but is that a defense mechanism? Like are you scared of them? Are you really think that they're just scared of you?
Chelsea Handler: [00:52:23] Well, I think it's a two-way street. I think I am scared of them and they also are scared of me.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:52:29] What's scary though? Like, what do you think?
Chelsea Handler: [00:52:31] I think men think, “Oh, she's getting embarrassed me in public or talk about me and one of her books.” And they're not wrong. I had done that several times in my life.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:52:38] That’s like table statement like if you date somebody like you, you have to be like, well yeah, this is coming out on.
Chelsea Handler: [00:52:42] Yeah, you have to not give a shit. If somebody's going to write anything about you or have a conversation with me explaining that you don't want that to happen. I think I wouldn't do that anymore. I would like to think that I'm a little bit more mature now, so I'm not going to do that. But I certainly understand it. And men don't like loud roused women like that are intimidating to a lot of men and I understand that it is intimidating.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:53:10] I feel like my college roommate, he was like your biggest fan. He's like, “I like women that are just going to like,” he’s like every quality that you had. He was just like, "Oh I love that.” He wants to be like almost like not shamed, I shouldn't say, but he wants somebody going to like shove their opinion down his throat. He enjoys that and he's not a weak guy. He’s a tough guy.
Chelsea Handler: [00:53:31] Yeah. No, I think that is a real tough guy. Somebody who likes a strong woman. He's a guy that's really secure.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:53:37] He's an investment banker and his wife is just like, just absolutely cracking the whip on. And I'm like, “How do you deal with that?” And he's like, “Oh I thrive on that.” Like it's almost like if he could turn it up to another couple of notches up, he would. You do seem tough though. Do you think you'd get that from your mom? I mean anyone who fights breast cancer for 15 years after raising six kids is tough.
Chelsea Handler: [00:53:58] I think I am tough. I have strengths, I have a lot of strength. I have a lot of vulnerability now that I discovered, but that was resistant to and what I've learned through therapy is that being vulnerable is being strong. That is nothing to be ashamed of. It's okay to be emotional. It's okay to talk about my brother who died. It's okay to be upset by that for so many years I thought I couldn't allow anyone to see me cry. Why? Why is that necessary? Why do you think you can't let anyone see you cry? You have to sit and think about that. What does it mean? Does it mean you’re helpless? Does it mean you're a victim? All of those things. I think I am tough because of my life, but I think I would have been tough no matter what my life is because that's my personality. It's part of who I am. I'm a little rough around the edges.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:54:49] You were always like that though.
Chelsea Handler: [00:54:50] Yeah.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:54:51] As a talk show host, when you started going to therapy, did you take control of the conversation, thinking and like, “I'm getting away with this”? Like they're not, they're not making me dive down the rabbit hole.
Chelsea Handler: [00:55:03] Tried to for a while. In the beginning, I tried to. I didn't want to get emotional. I didn't want to cry. I'd get the lip quiver and I'd like to deflect and he'd be like sit. I'd tell him a story about my father not picking me up from Hebrew school and how after my brother died, they would just forget about me all the time and he'd be like, “Stop, sit with that.” And I'd be like, “Well no, no, I'm not done with the story.” And he's like, “No, no, no. Stop. Your father didn't pick you up from Hebrew school. What did that feel like?” And I'd be like, “Sad.” He's like, “No, what was underneath that?” I'm like, “I don’t know. Can you tell me.? Like, tell me please, I’m paying you. Give me some information here.” He's like, “Well, you know, helpless. Helpless.” “Yes. Helpless, helpless. I feel helpless.” That's why I get so frustrated when I can't turn on my iPad at home or my TV because I start to feel like that little girl helpless. I don't know how to do it and nobody here can help me and I'm all alone. And you know when you relate things like that and you start to see yourself in a bigger framework, you're like, I'm just a little girl. Like this is when I act like this and this is when I act like this and this is why I treat guys like this and nobody's good enough. Everyone's stupid because I have to protect myself. And once you peel that away and you become like a much fuller, richer person, you're like this is a much more reasonable version.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:56:17] Yeah. Do you think that becoming well known, having tons of fans, does that make you feel more or less alone over the years?
Chelsea Handler: [00:56:24] It just makes me feel less alone always. I mean, it always feels good to read DMs about people who've read my book or listening to my podcasts. Like I love interacting with those fans now before I think I thought of it as such an onus. I wasn't real enough to get personal because it was just such a provato. I must've done six comedy tours in six years while I was doing Chelsea Lately. Like, it was exhausting. And how can you have real moments when you're moving?
Jordan Harbinger: [00:56:51] Yeah. I don't understand how you even slowed down enough to have thoughts and emotions in life at all. And I wonder if that was by design. Like, okay, I don't want that. I don't want to feel stuff. I want to work and make a ton of money, make people like me and not slow down enough to go, Oh man, I kind of haven't handled my shit here.
Chelsea Handler: [00:57:12] Yeah, it was great. You have to do it at some point. It's like you have to examine yourself at some point. Otherwise, you hit a wall. And I did, I've hit a lot of walls. There’s a lot of times where I'm like, I'm done with this. I don't want to do this. I'm going to go travel. And then I get lured back in by a paycheck or by an offer. Oh no, you want to do a talk show? It's like, do I? Okay. I guess I do, but do I really. No! The answer is no. I don't want to do that. So now I know. I did it. It was fine. And it's an evolution and it's all right to have an evolution. It's way more interesting than not having one.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:57:50] What's luring you in now? Like what's, what's really commanding your attention?
Chelsea Handler: [00:57:56] We're going to sell the book, make the book into a TV show, and I think I'm going to be in it because I think it's time for me to do it myself. And that had never been appealing for me to play myself on television before. They've tried to develop my books before on television and I just feel like, okay, I could see myself doing this now and make it into like a great fun kind of curb with me and my psychiatrist trying to get better at life.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:58:23] Who’s going to play your psychiatrist?
Chelsea Handler: [00:58:24] Yeah, exactly. I don't know. I need everything to be so real. I'd have to convince my psychiatrist to do it, but he won't do that act. I doubt. It will just be a reality show of me and my psychiatrist at that point. So we'd have to get an actor so we could at least play with it.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:58:37] Like stern with his just cameras in the studio. It's just you in therapy being like, oh, I don't know if I want to talk about this.
Chelsea Handler: [00:58:43] Me in utero.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:58:44] Yeah. Oh gosh. Did your Ayahuasca experience change you at all or was that just kind of a thing you did?
Chelsea Handler: [00:58:49] Yeah, Ayahuasca, it was awesome. I changed my experience, my relationship with my sister for sure. You get to see yourself outside of yourself. The great thing about Ayahuasca is you see yourself as a kid and you see your body like hair bouncing. I was running on the beach with my sister and I saw us both and then I saw my dogs from childhood and who I had forgotten about. So they were all real memories that were somewhere in my memory bank, but I hadn't access them in so many years. So it releases all these memories and it's like a wave of a melancholy and you're just so overcome with love. Like all I did was have so much love and compassion for my sister, but that was way before I went to therapy. We did that in Peru. We shot it for Netflix and I write about it in the book also, but I haven't done Ayahuasca since I've been through to therapy and now that my brain is so much more developed and open and understanding like I would like to do Ayahuasca again now and see what happens to me because there are so many fewer blockages.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:59:51] It sounded like kind of a weird experience with your shaman. I was like, is this how it's done? Because it's like there's a whole Ayahuasca cult trend now. Like everyone's doing it and you're like, yeah, my shaman shat himself and he just sat there. I’m like, is that part of the deal?
Chelsea Handler: [01:00:06] You shit your pants or you can, well, you don't have to shit your pants. You could go to a toilet, or you can shit your pants, it’s totally your call or you vomit. They tell you those two things will happen. I vomited only so I didn't have the shadoobie part, which I was grateful for because vomiting I'm much better with than the other one. Yeah, that's part of it. You're kind of cleansing in a way. I guess you're purging.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:00:30] This has been great. I want to be really conscious of your time. You're awesome. Just as great as I would have hoped and thank you. This has been really cool.
Chelsea Handler: [01:00:36] Thank you. It was nice to meet you.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:00:38] Likewise,
[01:00:40] Big thank you to Chelsea Handler for coming in today. The book title is Life Will Be the Death of Me and You Too, and links to her stuff will be in the show notes of course. We're teaching you how to connect with great people and to manage relationships using systems and tiny habits over at our Six-Minute Networking course, which is free over at jordanharbinger.com/course. Don't try to do it later. The number one mistake people make is not digging the well before they get thirsty. Once you need relationships, you're too late. The drills take a few minutes a day. The course is free. You can find it all at jordanharbinger.com/course and most of the guests on the show actually subscribe to the course and the newsletters, so come join us and you'll be in some really good company. Speaking of building relationships, tell me your number one takeaway here from Chelsea Handler. I'm at @JordanHarbinger on both Twitter and Instagram. There's a video of this interview on our YouTube channel at Jordan harbinger.com/youtube.
[01:01:30] This show is produced in association with Podcast One. This episode was co-produced by Jason DeFillippo and Jen Harbinger. Show notes and worksheets are by Robert Fogarty and I'm your host Jordan Harbinger. Hey, I read everything by the way, especially the reviews that you send. So please review us on Apple Podcasts so that others can find the show if you need instructions, those are at jordanharbinger.com/subscribe. And remember, we rise by lifting others. The fee for this show is that you share it with friends when you find something useful, which should be in every episode. So please share the show with those you love and even those you don't. In the meantime, do your best to apply what you hear on the show, so you can live what you listen, and we'll see you next time.
[01:02:09] A lot of people ask me which shows I listened to and recommend and one that I both listened to and recommend is Dexter Guff is Smarter Than You, and when I first heard the show, I was convinced that it was making fun of people like me and possibly of me, and now I'm sure that that's the case because I've been on the show and confirmed that with Dexter himself. If you took everything about self-help and personal development that was probably really unhelpful and a little irritating and put them into one show with one really talented guy, it would be Dexter Guff is Smarter Than You.
Dexter Guff: [01:02:41] That is huge, huge praise my brother and let me unpack that a little bit. I think what you're saying is that I give some incredibly helpful, helpful, helpful tips and life hacks for people so that they can crush it in their own life. Now, certainly, do some people take that as a comedy show? They do. They do. I'd be lying if I said that they didn't, but you and I know better. It's just about thought leaders think influencing brain juice, a thought dog eating. It's an, all the good stuff rolled into one.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:03:10] You've had some great guests on there, but aside from myself, of course, he had Kevin Nealon on there. How did you convince him to show up for this?
Dexter Guff: [01:03:18] You know, Kevin Nealon and I have so much in common. We both spend most of our weekends up in the mountains that are chalets. And so we're banging back and forth between our chalets with each other and, and we just, one night kind of hanging out together, started to talk about not only his career but some of our own unique spiritual practices that we do together as spiritual brothers.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:03:38] Spiritual brothers, huh?
Dexter Guff: [01:03:39] Yes. His words, not mine, but I also agree.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:03:41] You can find Dexter Guff is Smarter Than You anywhere you get your podcasts.
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