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Chelsea Handler on Her Move to Netflix: ‘I Had to Get My Brain Working Again’

Chelsea Handler was on hand at the Television Critics Association press tour on Tuesday to promote her upcoming Netflix documentaries and talkshow, and praised the streaming service for enabling her to create what she says is the best work of her career.

Netflix, they’re very well known for letting talent drive its own car,” she said on stage at the Beverly Hills event. “They give you the structure that you need and they let you drive … it’s such a pleasure to work with people that have faith in you and let you blossom.”

Handler left E!, which was home to nightly talkshow “Chelsea Lately,” and infamously made headlines for slamming the cable network on her way out. On Tuesday afternoon, the comedienne was asked about her exit and noted that she has no interest in further discussing E! as she’s not a person who “wallows.”

“It was a great, fun time for me. It brought me to a different level of success,” she said. “It wasn’t a place where I wanted to live for a long time. I think it’s just a natural progression … I wanted to do something else.”

“I’m really fortunate that I was in a position to quit,” she went on. “I don’t miss it. I loved it, it was fun and I was done. I don’t think anyone needs to hear me bitch about E! I’m very happy where I am now.”

However, when discussing her move to Netflix, she explained the choice was “because I had to get my brain working again,” adding, “It’s the difference of playing with kids on the playground or being in a really well-respected college.”

At Netflix, Handler is creating a new talkshow, in addition to four documentaries, which she is just about wrapping up — “Chelsea Does Marriage,” “Chelsea Does Racism,” “Chelsea Does Silicon Valley” and “Chelsea Does Drugs.”

“They’re all very different, and it’s been a really amazing experience for me work-wise because it’s obviously a lot different than anything I’ve ever done before. They’re feature-length films. I’m a big girl,” she said of the docs, pointing out that the Silicon Valley topic was of interest because technology makes her “irate,” and she wanted to explore marriage now that she’s 40, though she has “zero prospects.”

As for the drug doc, Handler said she will experiment with substances on-camera, though the project is really about exploring the consequences of drugs. “It starts with a marijuana-infused dinner … by the end of the night, you just see what happens to your brain … I’ve had a fun time with drugs in my life, but it’s not about that.”

The experience of working with Netflix has brought Handler to a “new level,” she said. “You respect their option. It’s so important to be in a job where they’re smarter than me. Their notes are really respectful and open.”

Though the TCA session focused on the four docs, Handler did offer up details on her new talkshow: It will premiere sometime next year, will be broader than “Lately” and, it will air at least twice per week.

“We’ll be in your face,” she said. “Don’t worry.”

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