BY MORGAN UNDERWOOD – STAFF WRITER
TV personality, talk show host, and comedian Chelsea Handler has been turning TV on its head since her beginnings on the E Network with her show “Chelsea Lately”. Now with her new show “Chelsea,” which will be premiering its second season on Netflix May 5, she is changing the game of talk shows and television by delving deep into political issues with the delicious side of satirical comedy for which she is so well known. She is pushing the buttons of the Trump Administration one at a time. Recently, The Cento was invited to partake in a special press conference put on by Netflix on behalf of Chelsea Handler. Select college newspapers were able to view a live video conference with Ms. Handler as she was asked pre-selected questions by moderator Lindsay Weinberg from UCLA’s The Daily Bruin. After this portion, a few students were able to directly ask Ms. Handler some questions. The witty replies of Ms. Handler are as follows:
Recently Chelsea Handler has taken a great leap into political interests, now stating it is a subject that is quite dear to her heart. When asked about the premise of the special format of her new show “Chelsea,” she claimed it was to “Take the piss out of the Trump Administration.” Yes, this may be a little crass, but she as she stated during the press conference, “she’s a comic who wants everything to be funny and easily digestible (for an average viewer),” especially in this “dangerous time for media” and current political climate. “If you look at the administration in a serious way it gets scary, we have to stay light and have fun,” she said. Ms. Handler spoke more on the topic of her new show, saying that she chose to skip college and thus was using the show as a means for her to learn more about the things that she missed out on such as sports, science, and politics. Netflix is also able to offer her more freedom than her previous networks; she is now able to be more controversial, more open about her own life and opinions, and put herself in new situations that arise with her changing interests. Truly, she is now able to have the show she always wanted.
Chelsea Handler is also known for being more than just a little outspoken and brazen with her personal opinions. Many know her as an advocate for social issues and awareness in the LGBTQ and feminist movements. When asked about her outspokenness on LGBTQ issues, she claimed that she feels she needs to be vocal because at this point “we should go forwards not backwards.” It makes her happy to stand up for a group that she isn’t party to, and by “spending time with people you don’t have a lot in common with, [you learn] your world is much bigger than you perceive,” she explained. On feminist issues, Ms. Handler was asked a wide range of questions, first being her views on how misogyny is seemingly becoming a part of everyday life. “We should not accept it,” she said, then adding that we should “scream, yell, and fight [it, because] you can change the way things are for the good.” She emphasized that this is something we should not forget. When asked whether she felt there was a stigma for women in society who choose not to marry or have children (similar to Handler herself), she stated that “[she] didn’t believe there was a stigma, that the stigma is only there if you believe in it.”
She was later asked to elaborate more on her views on feminism, Ms. Handler being an outspoken feminist herself. She explained how feminsts are both men and women, that “feminist is not a dirty word,” and that “smart guys will agree with this.” Furthermore, “everyone should be a feminist because women succeeding helps everyone,” she said. For her feminist inspiration she cited many strong women that came before her, specifically Gloria Steinman, who she says “paved the way for us.” “You have to respect those who came before you and opened the door,” she remarked. The question I was able to aks Ms. Handler was if she felt that she earned more backlash for being politically outspoken because she was a woman (as opposed to being a man). In response, Ms. Handler said that “[she] doesn’t pay attention to the critiques” because “there is safety in numbers and there are a lot of people against [the current] administration.” Additionally, she’s “normally always the one who is really outspoken, but I feel a sense of responsibility to make people understand that it’s too serious to not get involved,” she said.
When it comes to local politics, Ms. Handler feels very strongly about the role and importance of local politics citing the power of grassroots movements in recent years. When asked what she believed college students could do to be involved in the current political climate, she advised that we should find common ground with those who are different than us, participate in these grassroots movements, and try to be informed because “it feels really good to be involved.” She was later asked what she wanted students to take from her show, and her reply was that she wanted students to know that “you don’t have to conform to society, you can be an adult and have fun.” Other advice she had for students included how to handle rejection and failure. “Be strong, focus on yes’s not the no’s (there will be plenty of no’s), be relentless [because] things don’t come easily,” she said. She also provided advice that she wished she had received during the most influential time in her life. “Start traveling more; to learn about yourself you must get outside yourself,” she encouraged. “[You should] do the things that make you happy, be who you want to be, be someone you look back on and think you’re a badass,” she added.
For her final words of wisdom for students, she said, “enjoy the moments you’re in, [and] remember the time you’re in now, and all the excitement ahead.” So with that, go enjoy the day– and maybe catch up with Ms. Handler on Netflix with her first season– and be sure to look out for the second season coming soon.