Simply by being crass, cranky, boozy and horny – Chelsea Handler has made a career out of pissing off America’s uptight moms. Handler’s crude wit and abrasive opinions are showcased weeknights on E!’s Chelsea Lately – where Handler and her roundtable comedic counterparts dissect pop culture news in such naughty ways that they transpire into off-camera feuds with silly geese like Kris Jenner and Matt Lauer.
Since its debut in 2007, Chelsea Lately has featured a cast of rotating comics on said roundtable. Everyone from Kevin Hart, John Caparulo, Jim Breuer, Natasha Leggero to the likes of Cloris Leachman have all taken a seat there, where they laugh at Chris Brown and discuss Lindsay Lohan’s driving record.
While folks like Breuer and Leachman are roundtable passersby – the late night show consistently features familiar faces within its rotation. “The cool thing about Chelsea Lately is that there’s truly a cast,” says show writer and roundtable regular, Jiffy Wild. “Every time you tune in there’s going to be at least one or two people on the show that you — as a viewer — really feel like you know and you know their point of view.”
Wild, along with the show’s other writers and roundtable regulars, including Sarah Colonna, has taken full advantage of their Chelsea Lately stardom.
Wild originally started as an “art guy” for the show and is now a stand-up comic who frequently opens for Lately castmates Colonna, Josh Wolf, Chris Franjola in posh places like Las Vegas. Colonna’s first book Life As I Blow It, debuted at number 5 on the New York Times bestseller list, and she was included in Elle’s Women In Hollywood Power List. In addition, Colonna and co. currently star in the third season of After Lately, a satirical spin-off. The loosely constructed comedy documents the behind-the-scenes escapades that occur during the making of Chelsea’s flagship program.
How do you guys think After Lately stands apart from Chelsea Lately?
Sarah Colonna: The cool thing about After Lately is that it stands on its own as a show. If you don’t watch Chelsea Lately, you won’t be lost watching After Lately. You know, it’s a semi-scripted comedy show. And yes, it’s about the writers and the staff of Chelsea Lately but the storylines are never solely about Chelsea Lately.
Jiffy Wild: Basically, you don’t need to watch Chelsea Lately to enjoy and understand After Lately. E! plays up After Lately like it’s a mockumentary. In reality, it’s a scripted comedy show, like a cross between The Office and The Larry Sanders Show.
Your After Lately costar Josh Wolf puts his balls on a lot of stuff in your office. What in the office haven’t they touched yet?
SC: [Laughs] Those things have been around. I mean, I don’t think there’s many things left for them to touch.
Have they touched Chelsea?
JW: Chelsea has never wanted anything to do with his balls.
SC: We’ve done our best to keep the balls away from her because we knew that would get him punched in the face. But she’s always enjoyed watching other people and objects get ‘balled,’ as they say.
JW: I had this little tin of ChapStick at my desk which I used regularly for probably six months. I kept it stored right in my top drawer. He’s just so calculating. After the tin was gone – he told me, like, another six months later, ‘Hey, I put my balls all over your ChapStick.’ And what can I do about that now?
Um. There’s really no coming back from that.
JW: I know!
Here’s a great transition! From balls to ‘blowing it.’ Sarah, your book Life As I Blow It was being worked on by NBC as a potential series. What’s going with the project now?
SC: Well, they bought it and we wrote the script. And they didn’t pick it up to shoot the pilot for this season. It’s hard because they buy so many shows and they only wind up shooting a certain amount of them. They were really happy with it. It just didn’t make the cut. It was in a different direction than their programming lineup. But now it’s being passed around to different cable stations that are doing more comedy series. So there’s still hope. I mean, of course it’s disappointing, but to get to the point where NBC bought the script and we wrote the pilot is something that I’m very grateful for.
How are your tours going?
SC: Really fun! We were just talking about that earlier, actually. Like, why do we all still go on the road so much? It’s because it’s fun. It’s where you actually get to interact with people who are watching the shows and people who just enjoy comedy. Performing live, on stage, is just a different aspect of your career. So it’s important to kind of keep your own thing going.
JW: I’m starting to put dates up. I’ll probably go out with Sarah soon. And I’ll be going out with Josh. I kind of take it month by month. I try not to be out of town too much, for my poor wife’s sake.
A lonely lady at home while her husband is on the road is no good.
JW: Exactly! I try not to keep her too single.