Milwaukee Magazine caught up with Handler via a recent telephone interview and asked her a few questions:
We’re excited to have you back performing standup in Milwaukee! How’s your tour going so far?
It’s going great. I just got back from Australia and New Zealand. I first did a few North America tour dates, and they went well. I didn’t want to do another standup tour until I had something new to say — this memoir provided good material. This is the first time I’ve been able to do a standup tour without having a bunch of other commitments, like my E! show. It’s really nice.
You’ve been in the comedy industry for about two decades. How has the landscape changed for women who are comedians? Are there more opportunities in the industry today?
There are so many more platforms for comedy these days. Now’s the time to be a woman in comedy — especially if you are LGTBQ or a woman of color, or both. The whole industry is waking up.
Given today’s political and social landscape, in light of the #MeToo movement and more gender awareness, for example, do you feel that many comedians tend to censor themselves more due to fear of backlash?
This just gives comedians an opportunity to be smarter – there are so many more things to make fun of today without having to insult groups of people. Self-deprecation is OK, though.
What advice would you give women who would like to enter the comedy field?
You’ve just got to hit the pavement and go, go, go, and you’ve got to be ready to hustle and put the time in. In this business, rejection can be fierce, so you have to have a thick skin — don’t worry about what other people say.
You’ve been candid about your recreational drug use. Do you feel that marijuana will be legalized at the federal level any time soon?
I think that legislation is sweeping its way more and more across the nation. For me, cannabis was a game changer. For example, after the Trump election, I felt so out of control with my rage, and I needed to do something more purposeful. Alcohol, of course, doesn’t go good with rage. Cannabis helped me calm down and stay focused. I’m currently working on launching a new cannabis line geared towards women — men have been in the cannabis industry for too long. Products will include tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV), a cannabis compound that acts as an appetite suppressant and regulates blood sugar.
What are some new projects you’re working on?
My new documentary series, Hello Privilege. It’s me, Chelsea (focusing on white privilege in America), just premiered on Netflix last month. Also, NBC just purchased the rights to Life Will Be the Death of Me, — they are going to turn my memoir into a TV series.
WHAT: Chelseay Handler’s “Life Will Be The Death Of Me” Tour
WHEN: Friday, Nov. 15 at 7 p.m.
WHERE: The Riverside Theater (116 W Wisconsin Ave.)