Chelsea Handler on Uganda Be Kidding Me and Why She Can't Leave Late Night

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Melissa Holt
Handler waves on the set of her E! late night show, Chelsea Lately.

Chelsea Handler just released her fourth book Uganda Be Kidding Me -- fifth, if you count the book she edited that was written by her friends about her, called Lies that Chelsea Handler Told Me. Lucky for us, she's stopping in Phoenix on her tour to promote the book, which kicked off in New York City on March 4 with an interview with Ronan Farrow.

Handler performs at Comerica Theatre Saturday, March 22, and, in anticipation of her visit, we chatted with Handler over the phone (on her birthday) about what she wants to do going forward and why she felt the time was right to speak out after Bill Carter's controversial New York Times piece on late night comedians, in which Handler -- the only woman in late night -- was mentioned only in parentheses.

See also: Comedian Andy Kindler Calls Arizona SB 1062 "the Bill That Allows You To Knock Old Ladies Down in the Street For Religious Reasons"

So are you in L.A. right now, or traveling?
I'm in L.A., it's my birthday today, so we just had a nice, fun day at work.

Why are they making you work on your birthday?
I love to work on my birthday, it makes work so much easier. Not that the work I do is that challenging.

It's been just a week since your show's been on SiriusXM, how's that been going?
I don't know, I'm not there, but I think it's going pretty well. People are pretty excited about it.

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Melissa Holt
Cover of Handler's latest book, Uganda Be Kidding Me
Right now they're just simulcasting Chelsea Lately. But eventually you're interested in--
Perhaps, yeah, I like radio, I love the format, I love every time I do radio, and I hosted my own hour for them and I was like, "Oh, this is easy. And then I wouldn't have to be in hair and makeup everyday. So I don't know. Who knows?

Does knowing that it's airing over the radio now change at all how you do your show now?
No, not at all. I know want anything changed about the way I "broadcast" -- I use the word very loosely.

So now you're about to go on tour for your fifth book, is it weird to think it's been a decade since you published your first?
Yes, it's crazy. I mean I cannot believe I even have one book, let alone -- this is the fifth.

So looking back to your first book, what were your hopes or aspirations for your career at that point? I mean, did you even imagine or desire where you're at now, or see yourself here?
No, I mean I consider myself to be a pretty lucky son of a bitch -- I never really had a plan in general. I just wanted to get out of New Jersey. I had really strong opinions. I had a really big mouth, and I was told over and over again that that wasn't likable or attractive or cute, or that I should just be more girly or ladylike and demure, and I just wasn't interested in being that, I wanted to be who I was. And it's not that I'm not a girl. I'm very much a girl, but I have opinions and I wanted to share them and I wanted to state my case and I had opinions on everything that was going on in pop culture.

I have opinions on a lot more than pop culture, but right now on E! that's kind of what we focus on, and that's kind of what our audience tunes in for. But we've broadened our horizons in the past few months because I want to talk more about politics or sports or human interests or just funny stories that have nothing to do with anything. Right now we have so many politicos that are giving us so much material -- like Chris Christie and Rob Ford and Eliot Spitzer and Anthony Weiner -- so I kind of just want to branch out and do stuff that's more challenging. Writing a book is always a really, really good challenge for me. I'm a really big reader and I really enjoy books, and I've been lucky enough to read books that really made me laugh, which I appreciate a great deal, and I wanted to kind of do something like that on my end.

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Comerica Theatre

400 W. Washington St., Phoenix, AZ

Category: Music

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