Chelsea Handler is named to Time’s 100 Most Influential People.
Born on February 25, 1975 in Livingston, New Jersey, Chelsea Handler was the youngest of the six children of a Jewish used car dealer and a Mormon housewife, Seymour and Rita Handler. Relocating to Los Angeles when she was 19, Handler began doing stand-up comedy after telling her story about a DUI charge to a class of other offenders, who found it funny. She was soon enlisted to join the cast of Girls Behaving Badly on the Oxygen channel, doing Candid Camera-style pranks. The Chelsea Handler Show ran for two seasons on the E! network in 2006 and 2007.
The second woman ever named to host a late night talk show (as in so many things, Joan Rivers was the first), Handler’s show Chelsea Lately debuted in July 2007, and the show’s mix of stand-up, roundtable discussions, and celebrity interviews was a wild success. Already notorious for her writing and her popular YouTube clips, by 2010 Handler was riding the social media wave with 2.2 million Twitter followers and 54,000 Facebook fans.
In the same year in which she was listed in Maxim’s Hot 100, Handler was named to Forbes’ 100 Most Powerful People on June 28, 2010, which noted “Her bawdy obsessions—drinking, midgets, bodily functions, minorities, relatives, overinvolved mothers—brought in $19 million-plus for the 12 months ended June 1 … A handful of years ago no one in entertainment had heard of her.”
Her books have led the bestseller lists for months at a time. They include Are You There, Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea and Chelsea Chelsea Bang Bang. Time’s recognition of her influence in 2012 is due to her expanding array of outlets in live and recorded performance, books, videos, a production company, and her espousal of social causes like cancer research and the Human Rights Campaign. Self-deprecating, raunchy, and funny, Handler’s popular status epitomizes where humor and talent can take a woman in a digital age.
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Jewish Women's Archive. "Chelsea Handler is named to Time’s 100 Most Influential People.." (Viewed on December 5, 2023) <https://jwa.org/thisweek/apr/18/2012/chelsea-handler-is-named-to-time-s-100-most-influential-people>.