Are you there, hip, young prime-time viewers longing for something a little less snuggly than ABCâ€™s family-centric Wednesday-night comedy block? â€™Cause itâ€™s her. Chelsea.
You know, Chelsea Handler â€” televisionâ€™s go-to gal for take-no-prisoners late-night chatting? The little-people-loving, boss-dating, Piers Morgan-filleting girl-grenade upon whose show Chelsea Lately her now-bosom-buddy Jennifer Aniston admitted she appeared so Handler would poke fun to Jenâ€™s face instead of behind her back?
Now Handlerâ€™s gone prime time with Are You There, Chelsea? Letting That â€™70s Show alum Laura Prepon have all the fun as man-hungry bar babe Chelsea, Handler instead dons a dark wig and stick-up-the-keister diction to play her own pregnant sister. The half-hour comedy (helmed in part by The Cosby Show and Roseanne ace Tom Werner) is based on Are You There, Vodka? Itâ€™s Me, Chelsea, Handlerâ€™s best-selling homage to well-lubricated bad decisions. Hence, fans of the book should be thrilled to see that her prison experience, lowdown curiosity about red-haired men, and leeringly unfiltered papa are all right there in the premiere. Along with a dazzling array of descriptors of, uh, lady parts.
But will the average prime-time viewer â€” ladies especially â€” be just as thrilled?
â€śI donâ€™t think women are that squeamish,â€ť Handler says. â€śAnd I think the more you hear people say something, the more everyone gets used to hearing it â€” and thatâ€™s what will happen with this. Thereâ€™s much more important things to freak out about!â€ť
Are You There, which follows the midseason return of the equally freewheeling Whitney, starring Handlerâ€™s friend and fellow comic Whitney Cummings, indeed provides viewers with a one-two punch of pungent comedy that NBCâ€™s new entertainment chairman Robert Greenblatt (who cut his programming teeth on such Showtime jaw-droppers as Dexter, Weeds and The L Word) says the network badly needs.
â€śWhen you get into business with someone whose voice you really like, you need to let it go out there unfettered,â€ť Greenblatt told The Hollywood Reporter. â€ś [Chelseaâ€™s] smart enough to know that sheâ€™s doing a mainstream network television show and that there are things â€¦that probably donâ€™t make sense in the bigger landscape.â€ť
â€śItâ€™s long overdue,â€ť Handler says. â€śItâ€™s a really good time for females in comedy in general so the timing couldnâ€™t be more perfect for a ton of women to be on television and be successful at it.â€ť
Hopefully a ton of viewers agree.
Are You There, Chelsea premieres Jan. 11 on NBC.
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