Chelsea Handler doesn't get enough credit. While everyone obsesses over the network late night wars, (and about the lack of women in the whole thing), Handler had steadily been steering her late night ship, E!'s Chelsea Lately into a successful property over the years. Handler is ending Chelsea Lately to start a show at Netflix, which is pretty amazing, given we still live in a climate where producers seem to have a mental block about hilarious women carrying late night hosting duties. Handler is leaving with aplomb on her own terms and getting a paycheck to match the big boys.
She's created a flavor and style that while too raunchy for network TV, certainly establishes her own cabal of late night comedy stars that owe their fame and television pedigree to her show. And of course, like any good late night host, in addition to giving new comedians a platform to reach wide audiences, Handler's show also serves as a platform for delightful celebrity interviews, so stars can stop by and promote whatever they've got in the works.
While that's standard talk show fare, Handler's interviews are especially charming since many of her guests have a personal friendship with the host. The personal touch adds a realness to her interviews outside of the usual stilted PR fluff, and Handler has no qualms in embarrassing her famous friends or going off book and letting us in to some insider moments she's shared with them.
So just who does Chelsea count in her roster of notable pals? Here's just a sampling of those fortunate enough to call Handler a bestie.
McCarthy and Handler's friendship is perhaps the most visible. The two blonde funny ladies gush about each other constantly. Over at HuffPo, McCarthy recounts one of Handler's best BFF moments. Embarrassed by a very public fall, McCarthy called Handler who came up with the perfect deflecting scheme to announce on her show: she would say she dared McCarthy to do the drop in exchange for a sizable donation to her charity. It's a pretty genius scheme when you think about it, especially since it let her have her cake and eat it too — she's ribbing her friend about her fall while making it all better in the same breath.
Aniston and Handler have a pretty well-documented friendship. The Friends star nominated Handler (alongside former costar Courtney Cox) for the ALS ice bucket challenge, and numerous star-chasers have spotted the duo around town doing the usual BFF stuff like grabbing dinner or hitting the salon for a pamper day.
Cody is spouse to one of Handler's staffers, so it's no surprise that the two are close. It's not just work; it's family. Cody has appeared on Lately's roundtable, on the couch as an interviewee and in sketches like the above's "Employee Spouse Review." In turn, Handler has appeared on Cody's internet chat show Red Band Trailer.
Friendship doesn't always mean agreeing with your friends. It's no wonder that Maher and Handler, two politically active and uncensored comics, might have quite a bit to talk about, having appeared on each other show's. Despite her protestations on her own show, Maher reported in an interview that he finally was able to drag Handler out to a social engagement she had been resisting: dinner with conservative pundit Ann Coulter. Despite this, Handler credits Maher with encouraging her to donate to 2012's presidential election.
This one is less "friend" and more "friend with benefits"... allegedly. The comedian and the rapper were long rumored to have something special going on, and on an appearance on Howard Stern's show, Handler spilled some of the details of their relationship, which reportedly ended due to him still carrying a candle for ex Ciara. You can catch their flirtatious vibe in the interview above, and the fact that she can still say nice things about the guy speaks to the sort of qualities that probably make her a great friend and confidant.
I can't wait to see which of Handler's BFFs will pop up on her new Netflix show, and according to reports, neither can the team at Netflix. As previously reported in Bustle, Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos went on record to say that they were looking forward to Handler "re-imagining the late night talk show for the on-demand generation." Considering you will soon have the option to binge watch Handler and her celeb BFFs any old time and not just late night, I'm certain it's something that's bound to disrupt the late night model as we know it.
Image: Getty Images; Giphy