By Sabrina Ford
NEW YORK (Reuters) – Chelsea Handler may have more jobs than James Franco — award-winning actor, daytime television star, writer, director, novelist, academic.
Handler is a queen of late-night TV talk shows who has hosted “Chelsea Lately” on cable TV network E! since 2007. She is the author of four best-selling books, creator a new TV sitcom scheduled to air in January and recently signed a development deal with E! to create several new series.
And Sunday, Handler’s “mockumentary” series, “After Lately,” debuts for a second season of spoofing her guests, her “Chelsea Lately” staff and herself as they work on the show.
“It’s fun and funny to just exploit what goes on at our workplace because there aren’t a lot of workplaces like it. Everything is based on real situations. You get a real glimpse into what’s happening in our real lives. We fight all the time but we’re one big happy family,” Handler told Reuters.
It may be hard to imagine the famously outspoken Handler holding her tongue about anything — one of her books is titled “Are You There, Vodka? It’s me, Chelsea” — she said she and her staff often use “After Lately” to communicate unspoken ideas and issues that come up between them.
“It can be a passive aggressive way to tell people we think they’re annoying. If someone does something stupid, we’re like, ‘let’s write an episode about that,'” said Handler. “It’s a good way to say, ‘Oh wait, everyone in the office thinks I’m a narcissist.'”
Sneak Peek – “Are You There, Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea:”
The show’s second season will poke fun at celebrity guests including Jane Fonda and Sharon Osbourne, as well as Handler’s friends Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon — the latter appeared on the first season of “After Lately.”
“They’re all for it,” said Handler of recruiting her A-list pals to be mocked on late-night television.
“We’re all really good friends and they’re totally into it. After we did the first episode with Reese she was like, ‘I have to come back next season,’ and when Jen saw Reese’s episode, she was like, ‘I want to do an episode too!'”
Witherspoon’s episode spoofs her recent attempt to write a speech to honor Handler at an upcoming awards ceremony.
“I’m so annoyed with Reese hanging out at the office all day that I just go off on her,” said Handler who is an amped-up version of herself on the show. “Jen (Aniston) ends up commiserating with the writers about how big my head has gotten. Then Jen says that they’re only friends with me so that I don’t talk about them on my show.”
The deal Handler recently signed with E! guarantees that her inaugural series “Chelsea Lately” will air on the network through 2014. Handler told Reuters that among the projects she’s developing are late-night shows for comics Ross Matthews and Whitney Cummings.
Cummings eponymous NBC sitcom “Whitney” has received mixed reviews and suffered a recent schedule shuffle, but “2 Broke Girls” the CBS series she co-created, is a hit. Handler’s upcoming series based on her book, “Are You There, Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea,” premieres on NBC in January.
“I think it’s the best time, possibly, to be a woman in comedy,” said Handler. “It’s good to be in a group of women that are succeeding. You’re just trying to bring each other up so if one woman does well, we all do well.
(Editing by Bob Tourtellotte)