I’m on the subway feeling like a bag of dicks and contemplating if I have any scrap of dignity left after my friend’s bachelorette party weekend. I’m almost at the Union Square stop when I reach my inevitable conclusion: no. Fortunately, I have at my fingertips someone even more of a joke than me--and it isn't just the girl on the seat next to me sucking terribly at 2048. It is Chelsea Handler. Are you there, Vodka? It’s me, Chelsea* is a collection of short, comical autobiographical essays that depict Handler’s ridiculousness at various ages. Turns out she hasn’t matured a bit from age eleven to now. On the other hand, she’s seriously running shit. She has authored four books on the New York Times bestseller list, hosted her own late night talk show for seven years, and has even scored a spot on Maxim’s Hot 100 list a couple of times. She also has her own column in Cosmopolitan which is shamelessly my one true goal in life. The book gained widespread success after her first book, My Horizontal Life: A Collection of One-Night Stands impressed readers in 2005. I’m personally intrigued by that one, mainly because I don’t think I’ve got the audacity to read 50 Shades of Grey in public and a girl’s gotta spice up her day somehow.
It’s important to understand what kind of person you’re reading about when reaching for something on the lighthearted side. Chelsea’s stand-up comedy career launched after she told her DUI story to a class of fellow offenders and realized her delivery was on point. That should accurately give you an idea of who we’re working with. This woman gives me hope that I can continue to be a hot mess and not only not self implode but perhaps even make a career out of it! And in fact, Chelsea and I vibe very well on a lot of issues. For instance, she is a huge asshole. I’m not sure if I was an asshole all along but I will say that living in New York exacerbates my jerkish tendencies. I avoid eye contact with homeless people at all costs, I’m definitely not going to take any flyers people are handing out, if you’re walking slow in front of me I’m liable to punch you in the face, and I certainly don’t plan on doing the ALS ice bucket challenge. Chels (if I may) happens to live in Los Angeles, but she still has firm opinions on a specific subset of the homeless population. While in Costa Rica, she tells us that…
“…a homeless man with a dog approached us and put his hand out. This happens to be something that I have a real problem with: homeless people with pets who approach you for food. How can they have the nerve to beg for food when they have a perfectly delicious dog standing right there? I didn’t care if this guy understood English or not. ‘Tell me when you’re out of dog, buddy. Then we can talk about splitting a falafel’” (Handler, 239)
See, she’s a jerk. While I do love that about her, I can’t ever fully respect someone who doesn’t like dogs. Or sweater vests for that matter (another serious character flaw of hers). I like most dogs better than most humans and a sweater vest is the single hottest thing a guy could ever wear. But while she does have quite the laundry list of things she does not like (redheaded men, children, doing favors for friends, going on vacations with family members, restaurants without full bars, etc.), there is one thing she is very vocally passionate about: midgets. This woman really loves midgets and there is an entire chapter devoted to explaining how her self-proclaimed “healthy obsession” developed. I’m pretty indifferent to midgets, but I will admit that my favorite Jackass bit involves them: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jl4ButVeOUQ. The only thing that’s missing is Tyrion Lannister.
Midgets and all, this book was pretty good. Not mind-blowing or anything but it did its job—it made me laugh, aloud even, and it gave me a brief break from the more serious tone that runs through so many of the books I choose to blog about. With all of the sadness in life (I saw Alpha Dog the other night and that shit was depressing), it was a breath of fresh air. Chelsea doesn’t take a single bit of her life seriously and I respect that immensely. Sure, she’s obnoxious and offensive, but it’s all in the name of hilarity and I’m not entirely sure that her jokes on controversial topics are reflective of how she truly feels about the issues. She has actually gone through some intense stuff in life—one of her brothers died when she was just nine years old and she had an abortion at age sixteen—but she copes with them through laughter. She might not be your cup of comedic tea but I think that everyone could find at least some part of her book funny. If not, you probably have a giant stick up your ass and you should get that checked out.
Moreover, the writing itself isn’t so simpleminded. Her witticisms were executed well and you could tell that she has some brains. It’s certainly not something Floyd Mayweather could just pick up and read (lol speaking of 50 cent, fun fact: Handler dated him for some time). Overall, I give it 3 out of 5 camel humps. It gave me some giggles but it wasn’t a must read; it might be a good idea to have on your book list but you don’t need to drop everything and put it at the top of your queue.
*Handler, Chelsea. Are You There, Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea. New York: Gallery Books, 2008. Print