Chelsea Handler took a break in 2018 from her nonstop schedule to work on a few different things: her country, and herself. She talks about both journeys as part of her new live show, Chelsea Handler’s Sit-Down Comedy Tour, which comes to Houston’s Revention Music Center on April 20. Handler spoke exclusively with OutSmart about the show and her book, Life Will Be the Death of Me, which Handler considers to be her first real memoir.
“After the election of Donald Trump, I had a nervous breakdown. I couldn’t focus on work or anything because I was so angry. I took a year off and started traveling around the country and speaking at colleges. I campaigned and fought for a win in the midterms like so many other people. Thankfully, it helped get 127 women elected to Congress. Our representatives [are starting to] reflect what our country really looks like, and not just a bunch of old white guys,” says Handler.
Handler also took time to see a therapist during 2018. This allowed her to dig deep into some lingering issues stemming from the death of her brother when she was nine, and the death of her mother later on.
For Handler, the loss of her brother felt like a rejection, and as a young girl she had no one to help her process her feelings. “My family was dealing with their own grief at the time, and everyone retreated to their own corners to deal with it. I felt like [my brother] just left me, and my trust was broken. When I grew up, I acted like I didn’t want the responsibilities of a relationship or a family because I felt like people you love will just disappoint you. But I didn’t make those connections, because I was in my own life. It helps to pay a professional to help you see those things.”
Make no mistake, the outrageous Handler is still as acerbic and funny as her fans expect—but perhaps a bit more enlightened and self-aware. Although her other books touched on her personal life (including her sex life and various vodka-soaked adventures), Life Will Be the Death of Me reflects a deeper and more personal shift for the author. It also sets the stage for her April 20 show, which swaps up Handler’s usual stand-up performance for a one-on-one interview format.
“It is going to be a fun show. It’s an interview style, but we talk about a lot of funny things. I talk about my ayahuasca trip. I talk about how legalized cannabis was a game-changer for me. It’s a deeper book, so I just didn’t feel compelled to stand up by myself on stage and talk for an hour. It’s not some serious show with me crying, though; no one wants to come see that. All of the emotions about grief and growth come together in a funny way, and I want it to empower people to talk about grief and all of the funny and sad things that come with that,” Handler assures us.
Handler has chosen different guests to interview her in each city, ensuring that each audience will get a unique experience. Connie Britton will be the guest for the Dallas show, but an announcement has yet to be made for the Houston stop.
In addition to the new tour and memoir, Handler has a new Netflix documentary that will be coming out later in 2019. This documentary follows up a set of prior documentaries that explored drug use, racism, marriage, and Silicon Valley. This will be her first Netflix project since leaving her talk show in 2017.
“The Netflix documentary talks about white privilege—specifically my experience with white privilege, which has rewarded me with a career built on a lot of ridiculous behavior,” admits Handler.
Tickets to Chelsea Handler’s Sit-Down Comedy Tour on April 20 at Revention Music Center are still available.
What: Chelsea Handler’s Sit-Down Comedy Tour
When: April 20, 8 p.m.
Where: Revention Music Center, 520 Texas Ave.