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Chelsea Handler Talks Netflix Projects, Super Bowl Ads

If you are looking for Chelsea Handler to replicate her E! latenight show when she brings an ongoing series to Netflix, keep on gazing.

The comedienne, who was spotted last night doing a Super Bowl commercial for T-Mobile in what seems to be one of her first major TV appearances since wrapping “Chelsea Lately” last August, said she envisions doing something akin to “’60 Minutes’ in a different format” that will not require her to dwell on the gossipy items that were a central element of her previous show.

“I want to make something that has a little bit of what I used to do and a little bit of what I want to do, and not have it so much about celebrities or to be about gossip, and whatever the hell is going on with who’s getting married, and who’s getting divorced and who’s having a baby. I do not care,” she told Variety in an interview.

Handler and Netflix announced in June of last year that she would work for the streaming-video service and create four documentary-style comedy programs before debuting a new kind of talk program that is expected to debut worldwide in 2016. The announcement had many wondering how Netflix might emulate the traditional-TV staple, which is heavily reliant on the news of the day and the current projects of celebrities who want to promote their newest appearance on TV or in the movie theater.

The comedienne said she was considering a program that offered fresh episodes “three times a week.” A spokeswoman for Netflix said the company declined to comment.

Fans might see some early themes for the new project in the documentary content she is currently producing, she said.

“I want to go to places I know nothing about,” Handler said, and attempt to make sense of them. She recently returned from a trip to Israel, where she encountered “tons of Palestinians, tons of Israelis” and determined that whatever preconceptions she had of the situation there did not really hold up. The trip will be a part of a show that examines racism, she said. Another project in the works will have her look at Silicon Valley. One scene could have Handler, who said she is not an expert on anything having to do with technology, trying to set up her voicemail. “I’d like to put an outgoing message on there,” she said.

The projects will “delve into worlds I don’t know anything about” and examine ideas people think they already understand, but may actually not truly comprehend, she explained.

Handler would appear to be contemplating such a program at an interesting time.  New comedy-news hybrids like HBO’s “Last Week Tonight,” with John Oliver, and  Comedy Central’s “The Nightly Show,” with Larry Wilmore, are delving into and investigating controversial issues and developments ranging from native advertising and allegations of sexual assault against Bill Cosby. These programs build on everything ranging from “the “Weekend Update” segment on “Saturday Night Live” to Comedy Central’s long-running “Daily Show,” but take those efforts to a different end.

Handler appeared last night in a 30-second commercial with Sarah Silverman in a piece from the Publicis Seattle agency that showed both comediennes attempting to one-up each other by using T-Mobile’s Wi-Fi calling. The outlandish scenarios ranged from Handler’s “subterranean petting zoo” to Silverman’s “hydroponic kale garden.” The piece was notable because it was funny during a Super Bowl broadcast in which many advertisers chose to talk about somber, serious topics.

Handler said she and Silverman helped craft the jokes in the spot, though the two did not appear on set at the same time. One scene, in which Handler skates about in a “figure-skating basement,” appears to have aggravated a previous injury. After hurting herself by falling and tumbling during the shoot, Handler said she visited a doctor who told her she had reinjured a previous fracture that she did not even know she had.

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