Will Chelsea Handler stay at E! after her contract expires in 2012? A New York Times profile of the bawdy and beautiful late night talk show host doesn’t exactly ask that question, but it hints that it is already in Handler’s mind. “Playing at the top of the minors, at least when it comes to television, is exactly where Ms. Handler says she wants to be — at least until 2012, when her contract expires,” writes the Times’ Brooks Barnes, who shadowed Handler as she promoted her latest book, “Chelsea Chelsea Bang Bang,” on the road and prepared for her talk show in Los Angeles.
Don’t know Handler? Aren’t familiar with the bombshells of questionable taste that she drops nightly on ‘Chelsea Lately‘? Well, she may not have legions of fans, not like the kings of late night, David Letterman and Jay Leno, but Handler devotees, similar to fans of salt and vinegar flavored potato chips, are intensely loyal and committed. Her stand-up act sells out wherever she plays, her three books have been big NY Times bestsellers (the latest debuted at No. 1), and her show is watched by roughly 900,000 people who adore her dwarf sidekick, former porn star Chuey Bravo, and other regulars almost as much as Handler does.
The Times notes:
Robert Morton, a former producer of “The Late Show With David Letterman,” says Ms. Handler is almost perfectly in sync with the tell-all nature of these times. “Chelsea represents what the culture demands of a successful talk show host: you have to bare it all. You know about her friends, you know about her sex life.”
What else should you know about Handler?
1. She swears she really is 35 years old.
2. The youngest of six, she grew up in New Jersey with a Mormon stay-at-home mother and a Jewish used-car salesman father. She was 9 when her oldest brother died in a hiking accident.
3. Before her talk show, she was a stand-up whose TV career began on Oxygen’s “Girls Behaving Badly” and then E! countdown shows like “50 Shocking Celebrity Confessions” and “101 Incredible Celebrity Slimdowns.”
4. Handler, whose second book was titled “Are You There Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea,” really does prefer vodka and once said, “”There are two kinds of people I don’t trust: people who don’t drink and people who collect stickers.”
5. She had a relationship with E! president Ted Harbert, but recently broke up. As the Times notes: In “Chelsea Chelsea Bang Bang” she spends a great deal of time mocking him, but he claims not to mind — except for a story involving a helicopter, a Vicodin and a wedding that he says isn’t true. “It’s funny — that’s why I signed the damn release,” he says.
Here’s the big question: Do you think she’s funny? Or do you find her offensive? Should she get a network gig? Let us know.