Are You There Vodka? It's me, Chelsea: My Chelsea Handler Hangover

October 9, 2012 Humor, Memoirs 30

Hello there, Bookworms!

I was feeling the need for some word nachos, and after some gentle prodding (by gentle prodding, I mean digital shrieking) from my good pal Chrissy, I decided to give Chelsea Handler a try. I dove into Are You There Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea with high expectations, since I’d been told by several people that Chelsea’s books were the funniest they’d ever read.

Let’s talk high points. Chelsea Handler has a wildly inappropriate sense of humor.  As a child she tells outrageously detailed lies in order to get her classmates to believe she’s a child actress starring in a movie with Goldie Hawn. She actually manages to score an autographed photo, which was all kinds of hilarious. She also dates a guy who sort of accidentally has an affair with a lapdog. She survives dramatic girl friendships in LA. She takes her father on the most awkward vacation ever. She has an unhealthy obsession with little people. And she drinks like a fish.

All these ingredients should add up to me busting a gut… I’m not bothered especially by profanity in my reading, not shocked by drug use or alcoholism, barely phased by outrageous family situations. But there’s something about Chelsea Handler that doesn’t appeal to me the way the memoirs of Tina Fey, Mindy Kaling, and Jenny Lawson do. Chelsea is brash and sassy, but she’s not…vulnerable. I think the reason this book was just okay for me instead of being laugh-till-my-tummy-hurts amazing is that I can’t relate to Chelsea Handler.

So many of Chelsea’s misadventures revolve around dating. I married my first serious boyfriend. I’m lucky that way. It does, however, leave a hole in my life experiences to appreciate the hilarity of dating and dumping a redhead or asking my middle eastern boyfriend if he thought his mom looked man-ish (she seriously has NO FILTER.) Chelsea does all sorts of crazy things that only a person who doesn’t give a crap about what the world thinks of her could do. I can’t imagine myself getting into a cursing match and brawl with three teenage girls. I couldn’t re-gift a game with by supplementing the missing pieces with Yahtzee dice. I just care too much about people’s opinions, even about people I don’t particularly like!

I’m perfectly fine with not liking everyone, but I’m haunted by the fact that not everyone likes me. I’ve got issues! (I know, total revelation, right? Only not even at all…) I appreciate a comedian with insecurities. I relate to feelings to isolation and ineptitude. Neurotic girl moments are my cup of tea. But Chelsea? She has no shame. She never takes the high road, and she doesn’t give a crap. I completely admire that, but I just don’t think I’m woman enough to handle the Handler. Sorry, Chels.

30 Responses to “Are You There Vodka? It's me, Chelsea: My Chelsea Handler Hangover”

  1. didibooksenglish

    I read a few reviews about this book a while back and they were really in between. Not something I would really pick up. Have you read any David Sedaris? He’s next on my discovery list. What do you think of his books?

    • Words for Worms

      I LOVE LOVE LOVE David Sedaris. I mean LOVE. I can’t put it into intelligent words or I’d have blogged about him already. Since you’re in France, you’ll probably get a kick out of Me Talk Pretty One Day. Parts of it discuss Sedaris’s attempts to learn French. Hysterical!

  2. JoulesDellinger

    I actually love me some Chelsea Handler and laughed like crazy at her first couple books. Then I started watching her tv show and read the last book (by her friends) and I’m kind of over her. She still has funny moments, but I kind of EXPECT her schtick now so it’s not quite as gut busting anymore.

    • Words for Worms

      It’s like everything about it should be hilarious. It’s all the sort of stuff I find amusing. And yet… It’s just okay to me. Makes no sense. Maybe I’m desensitized.

  3. Chrissy

    I love her. I feel like I relate to her…but then I did the dating thing big time. and I did the I don’t care what people thing thing…big time…and I think that I prefer the confidence over insecurities (though I have many of my own).

    • Words for Worms

      It probably says something about me that I can’t like anyone unless they’re damaged and discuss it. Lyssapants, you want to weigh in here?

  4. Sami

    I just find her to be mean… That may be her schtick but it comes across as just bitchy. I wouldn’t want to be friends with her…I think when you read Tina Fey or Mindy you feel like you could be their friend. Chelsea would be the one who makes fun of you in front of a room full of people thinking it’s hilarious…she is one of the Mean Girls that Tina Fey made a movie about.

    • Words for Worms

      LOL, oh Sami. I don’t know if I’d put Chelsea into the same category as the plastics, but I’ll agree that her sense of humor isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. I want Amy Poehler to write a book. And to be my friend. And then we’ll have a slumber party.

    • Karen McKown

      I agree with you Sami. I don’t find her funny at all, just mean. And she doesn’t seem confident to me, just psychopathic. She doesn’t seem to care about other people at all. There is a big difference between not caring about other’s opinions of you and not caring if you hurt others. Sorry, can’t stand her and will not ever read her again. Total waste of my time.

      • Words for Worms

        I think humor is such a strange concept. What’s laugh-out-loud funny to someone is annoying or offensive to someone else. Chelsea certainly isn’t my favorite, but I’m glad I at least took a sample of what she had to offer. I probably won’t go back for seconds, but hey. Variety is the spice of life and all that. Chelsea Handler is like… Green peppers to me. I don’t especially like them, but they can be tolerable in small doses. I love making food comparisons. I’m also eating lunch and berated two co-workers for hating pickles and olives. Tastebuds- also a strange concept.

  5. Lyssapants

    I’ve never read any Handler, but I tried two books by Sedaris, and I just don’t love them. They weren’t laugh out loud funny. Am I broken inside?

  6. Pants Pie

    I have a signed copy of this that Brian went and got for my birthday when it came out. I really, really liked her then. Lately I’ve felt like it’s a kind of Chelsea overdose going on so I haven’t kept up with her. A better book than this one by her is My Horizontal Life. The first chapter made me laugh until I cried. I do agree with you that we can’t relate to her since we married our first serious bf’s, but I still find her escapades funny.

    • Words for Worms

      Since you gave me such a good recommendation on The Bean Trees, I might give Chelsea another try. First though, I want to read Rachel Dratch’s book. I love me some SNL alums!

  7. Jen and Tonic

    I loved Chelsea Handler’s first book, but her other releases have really disappointed me. I feel that there is a personal connection missing, as you put it, a vulnerability. It seems like her books have been standup acts that went on way too long.

    And I LOVE Sedaris. Good call on that.

    • Words for Worms

      I feel so fancy to have you visiting! I have yet to put together a post on Sedaris because anything I could possibly say wouldn’t capture the awesome. Maybe one day I’ll find the words!

      • Jen and Tonic

        He writes so perfectly that it almost hurts. How can one person be so talented? I think I would cry if I met him. Like how tweens do when they meet a Jonas Brother, or Justin Bieber.

  8. curiousseaturtle

    You nailed it. Everyone just raved about this book and I couldn’t get past the first few chapters. You’re right…she lacks vulnerability. And empathy. I just can’t connect with her whether it is in a book, on her show or even when she is a guest star on a tv show.

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