Chelsea Handler's frank, sometimes brash sense of humor on her late night talk show "Chelsea Lately" has won her a pretty loyal following. Now there's news she's about to take her one-liners to a whole new venue. Our Tracy Smith sat her down for some Questions-and-Answers:
Chelsea Handler had an itch: She no longer loved her own long-running cable TV show.
"It's the seven-year itch," she laughed. "I've got it in a big way."
In April, she scratched it, and announced the show would be ending. And now, she says, she feels "very fulfilled" to be leaving.
And why not? She's the only female late-night talk show host on TV right now, and her program on the E! network, "Chelsea Lately," is watched by more than half a million people every night. Her five books are all bestsellers, and her stand-up comedy tours are standing-room-only.
But Chelsea needed a change.
"I had a really good time doing this show, and I probably stayed a little bit longer than I wanted to," she said. "But I just kind of had a feeling, 'Oh, maybe I should stay a little bit longer until another woman does a late night show.' And then I came to the conclusion: that's not my responsibility. If I'm ready to move on, I should move on."
She was making her decision while men were playing late-night musical chairs. Jimmy Fallon nabbed Jay Leno's spot. In Fallon's seat: Seth Meyers. Stephen Colbert will take David Letterman's chair, and Craig Ferguson will leave his.
And where was she in all those discussions? "Well, I mean, I've never wanted to do any of those jobs. I've never wanted to take over for Letterman. Obviously when that happened, it was like, 'Oh, well, maybe.' There were definite phone calls about it. But I never sat down in a meeting and said, 'This is what I want to do.'"
"You never wanted to do a late-night network TV show?" asked Smith.
"No, I'm not a network kind of girl!"
After all, Handler's known for saying whatever's on her mind, and she doesn't seem to give a bleep if it offends.
Like when she feuded with CNN's Piers Morgan:
MORGAN: "You tweet, very amusingly."
HANDLER: "I wish you did . . . I want your viewers to know -- I mean, they must know because they're probably following you on Twitter, I mean, you can't even pay attention for 60 seconds -- you're a terrible interviewer!"
So maybe it's no surprise that Handler's next job is one even the cable censors can't touch: She's moving to the streaming video service Netflix -- not a TV network -- known for hot new shows like "House of Cards" and "Orange Is the New Black."
"And I want to do more interesting stories," Handler said. "I didn't want to be tied to doing celebrity news. I want to talk about human interests, I want to talk about politics, I want to talk about sports. I want answers to questions that I want to ask."
Handler is scheduled to create four documentary specials in 2015, and then, a full-time talk show in 2016. It's a big leap.
When asked if she was scared about stepping off that precipice, she replied, "I'm never really scared. I don't really have a lot of fear-based issues."