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Chelsea Handler shifts gears in Netflix’s Chelsea Does

Associated Press Wednesday, February 3rd 2016 05:17 PM

PARK CITY, Utah: After turning 40, quitting her late-night talk show, traveling the world and living alone, Chelsea Handler is feeling more thoughtful and more insecure than ever before. She wonders if audiences are still interested in what she has to say, and worries she might be an egomaniac for even thinking that.

She’s shifting gears, and she’s showing it, in person and on screen in “Chelsea Does,” the four-part Netflix docu-series she premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. It was released on the streaming channel last week. Her talk show is set to begin in May.

“I wanted to do all those things: have fun, be ugly, be funny, sad, cry,” she said of her approach to the new project. “I wanted everything, like a phantasmagoria of experience. And I learned a lot and I had a great time filming all of them.”

Handler shared her perspective on each of the installments.

Concerning marriage, Handler said series producers Morgan Neville and Eddie Schmidt pressured her to interview her ex-boyfriends and go on dates with a bunch of strangers.

“I got my first boyfriend from when I was 20 in LA and had just moved there, and he was so nice,” she said. “He was like, ‘You did everything you said you were going to do, and it was so sweet.’”

When it comes to Silicon Valley, Handler met with a therapist throughout the making of the series, and she found their discussions about her frustrations with technology among the most fruitful.

“My whole house is run on an iPad and I just don’t know how – like I turn on my TV and a microwave goes on downstairs,” she said. “I feel like a toddler. I don’t know how to do anything and I have people who do too many things for me so I’ve forgotten how to even be resourceful.” Handler says she “definitely got better at technology” after the segment.

On drugs: A six-course marijuana-laced meal and Handler’s experiences with ayahuasca are featured in her documentary on drugs.

She said the hallucinogenic Peruvian brew induced nausea and deep feelings of love.

“You feel beautiful, like everything is beautiful and life is exactly what it should be,” she said. “And then I had this epiphany ... like it’s okay to be alone. As I thought that – it’s okay to be alone – I thought, ‘I want to go down and tell everybody what just happened.’”

The segment that affected Handler the most was her exploration of racism. “The most mind-blowing thing was the racism in the South,” she said. “I just didn’t realize how bad it still is.”

Discovering that hatred showed her “how little I knew about the history of slavery,” she said, “and all of that ugly, dirty garbage that we have in our history as a country.”

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