The Surprising Life Event That Inspired Chelsea Handler to Pursue Comedy

Comedian Chelsea Handler is known for telling all kinds of crazy, interesting stories throughout the years, and one that is also on-brand for her is the story of how she came to have a comedy career. Handler revealed that she actually never thought about pursuing this line of work until one surprising event happened in her life. Keep reading to learn more about this fascinating comedian and how she got to where she is today.

Chelsea Handler has a successful comedy career

Chelsea Handler
Chelsea Handler | Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images

Currently, Handler is one of the most famous comedians around.

She got her start in the early 2000s by starring on the hidden-camera prank show, Girls Behaving Badly, on Oxygen. Later on, Handler also became a correspondent on The Tonight Show.

However, in 2006, Handler became more popular when she landed her own show, called The Chelsea Handler Show, on E!. Though it was short-lived, a year later, Handler moved to the late-night slot with another show: Chelsea Lately. This show ended up running for seven years before Handler’s contract with E! expired in 2014.

In 2016, she had a documentary series on Netflix: Chelsea Does. Later on, she also hosted a late-night series on the streaming network, called Chelsea, though that was canceled after two seasons.

What made Chelsea Handler want to pursue comedy?

Handler is such a well-known name in comedy that it’s almost hard to imagine a world where she is not in it. As it turns out, that could have happened had it not been for her DUI arrest when she was 21.

On an episode of the YouTube series Hot Ones, Handler told the story of how she had to take a class after getting a DUI.

“I had to go to this DUI school,” she said. “I go one night a week and they teach you how to avoid getting more DUI’s.”

According to Handler, at some point during the class, every student had to get up and share the story of how they got their DUI. Handler was initially reluctant to do it, but after the teacher called on her, she shared her story anyway.

Handler recalled: “I started telling everybody the story – about how I called the cop a racist (we were both white) and I had my sister’s ID that I was using, so I got in even more trouble. And it went great.”

The class was very receptive to Handler, to the point where, according to Handler, she “didn’t even get off the stage.” Afterward, Handler got a lot of compliments from her classmates. The experience gave her the confidence to pursue a career in comedy.

What is Chelsea Handler up to now?

Although Handler is still a comedian, these days, she is changing the focus of her a career a little bit.

After the cancellation of Chelsea, she posted a lengthy message on Twitter, sharing that she wanted to “devote as much time as I can to becoming a more knowledgeable and engaged citizen and to focus on projects that have significance to me.”

Currently, she has a documentary for Netflix that will be released in the fall of 2019. It will be about white privilege and racism in the United States. She also has a contract with NBC/Universal to produce content. According to Chelsea Handler, she is excited to use the platform to tell meaningful stories.

“I’ve spent most of my life telling personal stories about myself,” Handler said. “I’m excited to have this opportunity to work with NBC/Universal and put my focus and energy into telling other people’s stories and developing entertaining content all around.”