Comedian, actress, TV host, author, producer
Born: February 25, 1975, in Livingston, New Jersey
New Jersey Hall of Fame, Class of 2022: Performing Arts
Chelsea Handler pulls no punches. Her sometimes outrageous comments and ribald stunts are not just good theater, they are the essence of who she is.
The daughter of a German-born Mormon mother and an American-born Jewish father, Handler has been described as “a reluctant student.” At 19, she moved from New Jersey to Hollywood, California, to pursue her dream of becoming an actress. She landed some early TV roles, but mostly supported herself as a waitress. She also tried her hand at stand-up comedy.
Starting in 2002, Handler was a cast member of “Girls Behaving Badly,” a reality/comedy TV series on the Oxygen network. More TV work followed and in 2006, she began hosting her own sketch-comedy series, “The Chelsea Handler Show,” on the E! network. The following year, she kicked off a late-night talk show, “Chelsea Lately,” also on the E! network. “Chelsea Lately” ran worldwide for more than 1,000 episodes, and spun off another show, “After Lately.”
Handler’s subsequent TV work included “Chelsea Does,” a documentary series for Netflix. She also has appeared on several TV series and has been featured in numerous films. Her production work includes the reality series “Pretty Wild” and several talk shows.
Throughout her career, Handler has spoken openly and frankly about her personal life, her history of substance abuse and her political views. These and other subjects are frequent fodder for her stand-up comedy tours and her series of best-selling books, including “Are You There, Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea” and “Chelsea Chelsea Bang Bang.”
In recent years, Handler has invested more of her time in political activism, with a special interest in women’s rights. “It’s about being vocal and strong enough to let people know the truth,” she told New Jersey Monthly in 2019. “We need to talk about what we’re not supposed to talk about and stand up.”