Starting her comedy career Chelsea Handler wowed audiences with her brash and sometimes vulgar act. She portrayed herself as a hard-partying beauty with an acid tongue. In 2002, Handler got a part on the cable sketch comedy show Girls Behaving Badly. She went to make guest appearances on such shows as My Wife and Kids, The Practice and The Bernie Mac Show. With her first book, My Horizontal Life: A Collection of One-Night Stands (2005), made her way on to the best-sellers list. She chronicled a number of her real-life sexual exploits in the book, which amused and sometimes stunned readers. The following year, she debuted her own series, The Chelsea Handler Show. Handler poked fun at celebrities as well as herself in the show’s skits and sketches.
While her self-titled sketch show only lasted a season, Handler found a larger audience for her sharp quips on pop culture with a late night talk show. Chelsea Lately premiered in 2007 and became a ratings winner, especially with young female viewers. On her show, Handler skewered the latest news with the help of comic guest panelists, and interviewed a number of Hollywood’s top celebrities. In addition to her show, Handler has continued to write books and tour with a stand-up act. She had another runaway hit with the 2008 book Are You There, Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea. In the memoir, Handler shared stories of her family, love life, and career. She has also found success with her popular comedy tours, including Chelsea Chelsea Bang Bang tour in 2010 to support the book by the same title, grossed more than $16 million. In recent years, Handler created her own production company, Borderline Amazing. She also found success in creating the mocumentary series After Lately in 2011, which gave viewers a comedic take on what goes on behind-the-scenes at Chelsea Lately.
In 2012, the sitcom Are You There, Chelsea?—which was based on Handler memoir—premiered, featuring Laura Prepon as an exaggerated version of Handler. Handler co-starred in the series as her fictionalized character’s older sister. While the television show mined the same material that shot Handler to super stardom, it was canceled during its first season. As her contract with the E! network reached its final months, Handler announced in March 2014 that she wanted to leave the entertainment channel. She reached an agreement with Netflix that June, which included bringing a talk show to the Internet television network and video streaming service in the spring of 2016. Handler also created a series of “docu-comedy specials,” which premiered on Netflix in January 2016. The series, which features some of Handler’s friends as well as experts, puts a comedic spin on newsworthy subjects such as technology and Silicon Valley, the wedding industry, racism and drugs. According to ABC News, Handler was happy to work with Netflix, describing the company as “the most forward thinking, alert group.”