Chelsea Handler Disses Her Old E! Show Chelsea Lately: “I’m So Much Smarter Than That Show Was”

Chelsea Handler
 Mark Davis/Getty Images

Onward and upward! Chelsea Handler spent seven years of her life hosting E!'s Chelsea Lately, and now that it's over, she's ready for something bigger and better — emphasis on the latter. Speaking at the Code/Media conference in California on Wednesday, Feb. 18, the comedienne couldn't help taking a few shots at her former gig.

"The subject matter I was dealing with on E!, you know, it was a fun way to get started and kind of have a great time," she told hosts Kara Swisher and Peter Kafka of the late-night program, which ran from 2007 to 2014. "And then after a while, I just was like, I'm so much smarter than that show was, and I wanted to be doing a show that was smarter than I was." 

That's what she hopes to accomplish with her Netflix deal, which includes a new talk show in 2016. Handler said she chose the streaming service (now a major TV programmer thanks to hits like Orange Is the New Black and House of Cards) because she didn't want to just "go fill in someone else's shoes" at an already-established show on another network. "I wanted to create my surroundings," she explained.

She's still working out the specifics of what her new show will entail, but so far, at least, the Netflix partnership has been a success.

"It's nice to be involved in a show where I do respect their opinions," she said. "I respect Netflix. So it's like going out with a guy that you're proud to be seen with."

The stand-up star also spoke at the conference about her recent streak of topless photos on Twitter and Instagram. "I'm not trying to look fantastic. That's just a by-product," she joked. "I'm also not trying to sexualize myself in any way."

What she is trying to do is make a point about the nudity rules on various social media platforms. (Instagram, for example, does not allow nudity and will take down any photo it deems inappropriate.) 

Handler's most notable foray into toplessness was a pic of herself mocking an infamous shot of a bare-chested Vladimir Putin riding a horse in Siberia. She posted a side-by-side comparison via Instagram last October, at which point it was promptly deleted from the app.

"We were laughing — I was with my brother, you know, editing my topless photos with my brother like any close family will do — and then my cousin, like, three hours later through dinner was like, 'Oh my god, your photo was removed!'" she recalled at Code/Media.

Told by her cousin that it was probably because she was topless, she protested, "But he's topless. Like, Putin is topless. He shouldn't be topless. He's trying to run a nation. I'm a comedian! I'm sure there were so many discussions inside the walls of Instagram that were so stupid, which also gives me a thrill — that they have to sit there and talk about my ass, that they have to see that as professionals."

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