Chelsea Handler Needs More Jennifer Coolidge in Her Life

Early in the pandemic, one of Chelsea Handler’s sisters moved in with her. That wouldn’t have been a problem, except that she brought her three adult children.

“I didn’t have children on purpose, and everyone knows that,” Handler said in a phone interview this month. “Just because I have five extra bedrooms doesn’t mean I’m looking for company.”

Handler’s new comedy special, “Revolution,” is equal parts Covid diary — Covid sex, Covid pets, Covid houseguests — and social commentary, particularly on the fraught subjects of power, gender and race.

“My brother was like, ‘Chelsea, not all white guys are bad guys,’” she says in the special, which begins streaming Dec. 27 on Netflix. “I go, ‘Nobody said that. Nobody ever said that. But now you sound suspicious.’”

Handler spoke with us about what it took to move her family out (“I had to put my house on the market and sell it”) as well as some of her favorite things, including skiing, oysters and fiction by Madeline Miller and Kristin Hannah. These are edited excerpts from the conversation.

1. Future Islands Somebody turned me on to the band Future Islands about six months ago, and I’ve been loving it. It’s nice and mellow. It’s great background music when I’m home. It’s my cup of tea. You can only listen to so much Top 40 before you want to rip your eyes out.

2. My Siblings It’s really nice to have adult closeness with all of your siblings. They’re the only people in your life who understand exactly what you went through with your parents growing up. We’ve gotten closer and closer as we’ve gotten older. There are five of us. We’re a big pack, a unit. My most meaningful relationships are with my siblings.

3. “The Great Alone” Kristin Hannah’s “The Great Alone” is a book about something that I would never normally read about: Alaska, the wilderness, living off the grid, all things that I have no interest in. It’s really about aloneness and survival and Mother Nature and what it brings to everybody in terms of mood, in terms of stability, in terms of livelihood — and it’s one of the most beautiful books ever. It’s far out of my comfort zone, and I like it a lot when I enjoy something that I normally wouldn’t have an appetite for.

4. “Circe” Madeline Miller’s novel “Circe” is a book that took me to another planet. It was so beautifully written. You would read the end of a chapter and just have to put it down and think about what you just read because it’s so poetic. It’s kind of a metaphor for life and the people that come in and out of your life, and loss and love and death and, again, aloneness. For a long time I was very scared of spending time alone and reading about people being alone. That’s why “The Great Alone” and this book both struck me so much. It made being alone seem like something almost mythical and mystical.

5. Oysters My favorite in the world are the grilled oysters at Blue Plate Oysterette in Santa Monica. But I will eat oysters almost every night before I go onstage, whenever I’m somewhere that they’re going to be fresh. I try not to have them in Iowa.

6. Gratitude I’d heard people banging on about gratitude for a long time, and it usually just annoyed me. Then someone told me that you can actively shift your energy by writing down everything that you’re grateful for. So, a few months ago, I started writing down 20 things I’m grateful for every morning. I can’t describe to you what a difference it makes. You are on a higher vibration and frequency when you wake up and start counting all the things that you’re happy about.

7. Stand-Up Comedy To be able to get onstage and command an audience of a few thousand people every night feels really good. Strangers are sitting next to each other, laughing at the things that you’re saying. That is the best gift that you could give anybody.

8. Martha’s Vineyard When I was a little kid, all I wanted to do was go to the Jersey Shore with the rest of my friends, and my parents were like, ‘You’re not going to the Jersey Shore. We have a house in Martha’s Vineyard. That’s much nicer.’ Now that I’m older, I think it’s one of the most magical places. I have the best memories of being there with all of my family. We grew up there every summer of our lives. We still go there every summer. It’s one of the milestones of my life.

9. Skiing I’m not very coordinated, so 10 years ago I decided to pay somebody to teach me how to be a good skier. I wanted to be good enough to be able to ski off anything. I had a private ski guide for seven years and now I’m an expert skier — I can heli-ski, I can ski off the top of anything — and that was a big dream of mine. I take skiing very seriously.

10. Jennifer Coolidge She’s been great in “The White Lotus.” Everything she serves up in all of her performances is everything that we could all use a little bit more of. The ridiculousness, the kind of wide-eyed, bushy-tailed approach to life, and the kind of unapologetic nature of who she is, I think, is a great example for all women not to take ourselves so seriously. We all need a little bit more Jennifer Coolidge in our lives.

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