On the day after the election, Chelsea Handler was so devastated, she wanted to move to Spain. Then she came to work on her Netflix talk show in Culver City and saw the faces of her staff. The millennial women in her office hugged her and begged her not to retreat. “They all just said, ‘You’re our only outlet. You’re our mouthpiece.’ That will motivate anybody, and it motivates me,” Handler says, lounging in the living room of her house in Bel-Air with her dogs, Chunk and Tammy.
Her streaming talk show, “Chelsea,” has taken a hard stand against Trump, as Handler helped register 17,000 voters and lined up recent guests like California Sen. Barbara Boxer, Van Jones, and Jake Tapper. The comedian, who plans to lead the Women’s March at the Sundance Film Festival on Jan. 21, spoke with Variety about how she’ll continue to call out Trump.
You just wrapped the first season of your show on Netflix. How does it feel?
It feels right. We have more of an impact being on Netflix than I would have had on another network, because we have a huge international audience. It’s nice to be able to let them know that just because this man is our president, this is not a representation of everybody in our country. It’s a representation of less than half the people.
|“There’s a toddler in the White House.”|
Would you ever want to interview Donald Trump?
Why would I? I don’t ever want to see him. I don’t ever want to interact with him, which won’t be a problem. Once he came up to me in a restaurant in L.A. to introduce himself — to tell me he’s Donald Trump. I said, “Great.”
What do you think the role of your show will be during a Trump presidency?
First and foremost, I’m a comedian. But also, we have to hold him accountable. And we have to make fun of him, just like you’d make fun of anybody who was president. Obama was boring in that sense — there was nothing to make fun of because he was so responsible and such a leader.
Do you think your show will be more serious going forward?
I think the great thing that Netflix has afforded me is to be serious when it calls for it. I’m not going to be funny on the day after the election, when I was horrified and crying all night. It was going to be a celebratory day. I walked into my office that morning, and I thought, “There’s no way I’m going to be able to do this.”
Were you surprised that you cried on air?
Yeah. The last thing you ever want to do is break down. It’s just so unprofessional. But my whole life is being unprofessional.
There’s been a lot of talk of how the media didn’t treat Hillary Clinton fairly.
Absolutely. 100 percent.
|“I’m not going to be funny on the day after the election, when I was horrified and crying all night.”|
What could they have done differently?
Stop covering [Trump] so much. They were treating him as an entertainer first. It was a reality show. We’ve turned into a reality show. I blame the Kardashians, personally; the beginning of the end was the Kardashians. The way these people have blown up and don’t go away — it’s surreal. Everyone is for sale. We’re looking at a man that gets mad at Vanity Fair for reviewing his restaurant poorly. By the way, have you ever been to that restaurant? It’s the biggest piece of garbage you’ve ever walked into. That place looks like a Southwest airport lounge. It’s the worst.
The fact that there have been so many scandals on his campaign was reminiscent of a reality show.
Somebody should have put a stop to it. The idea that so many people were so wrong about the outcome is so screwed up. The fact that Russia is interfering with our election is beyond repair. How do we ever recover from that? What’s to prevent them from doing it for the rest of our lives?
Women were an important part of Clinton’s coalition. Yet Megyn Kelly was attacked when she called out Trump’s sexism.
I like Megyn Kelly. She’s a badass. There’s a toddler in the White House, and it’s not one of the children. The other thing about his children, they have absolutely no influence over him. The idea that Ivanka is going to help women, or do anything for women, is absurd, because she’s a puppet. They’re all his puppets. They’re scared s—less of him, and the fact that they’re still around him means they have never stood up to him.
|PICKING UP THE PIECES: Handler speaks with California Sen. Barbara Boxer after the election.|
Did you see that Trump met with Kanye West?
Kanye needs to get on his meds.
Could Trump be impeached?
I hope so. Probably. But how would they even get him out of there? He doesn’t abide by laws and rules. They’d have to physically remove him. It’s becoming clearer what a sociopath he is. I think our job as entertainers — or my job — is to reach across and figure out the people who are so disenchanted that they voted for him, and try to find some common ground.
Do you think a Trump voter could watch your show?
Yeah, I think so. As long as you’re not racist or a bigot, we can find common ground. A lot of these people don’t have time to watch the news. They are working three jobs. I get that the working class is fed up. That’s important to get. When there’s such divisiveness, it’s so ugly. Who wants to f–king fight all the time?