Chelsea Handler

Active - 2001 - 2013  |   Born - Feb 25, 1975 in Livingston, New Jersey, United States  |   Genres - Comedy, Drama

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Biography by Nathan Southern

A brash, acerbic, by-the-throat comedienne who built a career out of skewering pop culture fixations such as Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie, Chelsea Handler grew up in a devout Jewish household in New Jersey (with five siblings) and entered show business by way of stand-up comedy. In that sphere, Handler's unapologetically blunt and occasionally self-denigrating routines both turned heads and won her a massive following; she appeared and performed in such venues as HBO's U.S. Comedy Arts Festival and the Montreal Comedy Festival. Handler achieved her broadest recognition, however, on television; she was a fixture on the Oxygen network's Girls Behaving Badly (2002), a reality program in which an all-female cast set about playing outrageous, Candid Camera-style practical jokes on unsuspecting men. The E! network subsequently signed Handler for two eponymous programs: The Chelsea Handler Show (2006), a loosely knit collection of skits, blackouts, mock interviews, and spoofs done with a biting edge, and a follow-up series, the after-dark Chelsea Lately, similarly structured but more specifically devoted to sending up pop culture phenomena and developments.

On the side, Handler also published a popular book, the tell-all My Horizontal Life: A Collection of One-Night Stands -- which described in graphic and comic detail the performer's entire sexual history -- and made guest appearances on network series including The Bernie Mac Show, Reno 911!, and The Practice.

She gained fame as both an author and a TV personality, and also appeared in the 2012 romantic comedy This Means War, and saw her books adapted into a short-lived television series That 70's Show alum Laura Prepon played Chelsea and Handler herself played the recurring character Sloane.

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  • Is the youngest of six siblings.
  • Competed in the Miss New Jersey pageant as a teen.
  • Moved from New Jersey to Los Angeles at age 19 to pursue acting.
  • Pursued stand-up comedy at 21 after a DUI, when she had to tell her story to a class of other offenders and it made them laugh.
  • Big break came when she made a video of herself talking about her experiences as a waitress, sent it to L.A.'s Improv comedy club and was invited to perform there.
  • Relased her first best-selling book, My Horizontal Life: A Collection of One-Night Stands, in 2005.