When Chelsea Handler needs to get a few things off her chest, she appeals to a higher power—vodka. Seems reasonable, when considering that she discovered her boyfriend was having an affair with a Peekapoo and she had to pretend to be honeymooning with her father in order to upgrade to first class. Welcome to Chelsea’s world—a place where absurdity reigns supreme and a quick wit is the best line of defense..
In this highly entertaining, deliciously skewed collection, Chelsea mines her past for stories about her family, relationships, and career that are at once singular and ridiculous. Whether she’s convincing her third-grade class that she has been chosen to play Goldie Hawn’s daughter in the sequel to Private Benjamin, deciding to be more egalitarian by dating a redhead, or looking out for a foulmouthed, rum-swilling little person who looks just like her...only smaller, Chelsea has a knack for getting herself into the most outrageous situations.
Are You There, Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea showcases the candor and irresistible turns of phrase that have made her one of the freshest voices in comedy today...
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Chelsea Handler is an accomplished stand-up comic and actress, as well as the bestselling author of My Horizontal Life. She is the star of her own late-night show on E!, Chelsea Lately; was one of the stars of Girls Behaving Badly; has appeared on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and Late Night with David Letterman; and has starred in her own half-hour Comedy Central special. Chelsea makes regular appearances in comedy clubs across America and lives in Los Angeles.Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
I was nine years old and walking myself to school one morning when I heard the unfamiliar sound of a prepubescent boy calling my name. I had heard my name spoken out loud by males before, but it was most often by one of my brothers, my father, or a teacher, and it was usually followed up with a shot to the side of the head.
I turned around and spotted Jason Safirstein. Jason was an adorable fifth-grader with an amazing lower body who lived down the street from me. I had never walked to school, had a conversation with, or even so much as made eye contact with Jason before. After lifting up one of my earmuffs to make sure I had heard him correctly, I nervously attempted to release my wedgie while waiting for him to catch up. (A futile effort, as it turned out, when wearing two mittens the size of car batteries.)
"I heard you were going to be in a movie with Goldie Hawn," he said to me, out of breath.
Shit. I had worried something like this was going to happen. The day before, I had forgotten my language arts homework, and when the teacher singled me out in front of the entire class to find out where it was, I told her that I had been in three straight nights of meetings with Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell, negotiating my contract to play Goldie Hawn's daughter in the sequel to Private Benjamin.
The fact that no sequel to Private Benjamin was in the works, or that a third-grader wouldn't be negotiating her own contract with the star of the movie and her live-in lover, hadn't dawned on me.
"Yeah, well, that was kind of a lie," I mumbled, recovering my left mitten from in between my butt cheeks.
"What?" he asked, astounded. "You lied? Everyone has been talking about it. Everyone thinks it's so cool."
"Really?" I asked, quickly changing my tune, realizing the magnitude of what had happened. It occurred to me that this was the perfect opportunity to get some of the respect I believed had been denied me, due to my father dropping me off in front of the school in a 1967 banana yellow Yugo. It was 1984, and my father had no idea of or interest in how damaging his 1967 Yugo had been to my social status. He had driven me to school on a couple of really cold days, and even after I had pleaded with him to drop me off down the street, he was adamant about me not catching a cold.
"Dad," I would tell him over and over again, "the weather has nothing to do with catching a cold. It has to do with your immune system. Please let me walk. Please!"
"Don't be stupid," he would tell me. "That's child abuse."
I wanted my father to know that child abuse was embarrassing your daughter on a regular basis with no clue at all as to the repercussions. Word had spread like wildfire throughout the school about what kind of car my father drove, and before I knew it, the older girls in fifth grade would follow me through the hallways calling me "poor" and "ugly." After a couple of months they upped it from "ugly" to "a dog," and would bark at me anytime they saw me in the hallway.
Our family certainly wasn't poor, but we lived in a town where trust funds, sleepaway camps, and European vacations were abundant, along with Mercedes, Jaguars, and BMWs -- a far cry from my world filled with flat tires, missing windshield wipers, and cars with perpetually lit CHECK ENGINE lights.
The idea that showing up at school in a piece of shit jalopy led to me looking like a dog didn't make much sense in my mind. It really irked me that I had to be punished because my father thought he was a used car dealer and insisted on driving us around in the cars that he couldn't sell. I wanted to tell my classmates that I didn't like his cars either, and I certainly didn't like being called a dog. I hadn't had a low opinion of myself before then, but after being called the same nickname for six months straight, you start to look in the mirror and see resemblances between yourself and a German shepherd.
If it had been mild teasing, I think I probably could have handled it. But it was incessant, and started from the moment I got to school until the moment I left. After a while, most of my friends in the third grade would avoid being seen with me in the hallways because they didn't want to be blacklisted too. My best friend, Jodi Sapperman, was the only one who would walk with me to every class and defend me when the fifth-grade girls would come over to our table in the cafeteria and ask if I was eating Alpo for lunch.
"Well, I shouldn't have said 'lie.' That's the wrong word," I told Jason. "I'm having trouble getting the trailer size I want. Goldie's being pretty cool, but Kurt is so mercurial. He doesn't understand why a nine-year-old needs a Jacuzzi and a personal chef," I said nonchalantly, with a wave of my mitten. "These types of things always take time."
"You get your own trailer?" he asked.
"Yeah, you know, your own little house when you're on set. Every actor gets one. There's sooo much downtime in movies, you really need a place to unwind. In my opinion, it's not nearly large enough to live in for three months, but it's my first major role, so I'm willing to settle for a little less than the crème de la crème."
My vast knowledge of movie-making at the age of nine came from spending every free minute watching television, movies, and reading any book about the filming of The Breakfast Club I could get my hands on. I think when you grow up in a house surrounded by cars from the previous two decades and parents who insist that ten dollars for a pair of jeans in 1984 is excessive, you have no choice but to immerse yourself in a world where money is no object.
"I didn't even know you were an actress," Jason said. "How did you get the part?"
"It's 'actor'," I said, correcting him. "The thing is, I was in a little Off-Broadway production with Meryl Streep." I took a long pause, allowing him to interrupt.
"Meryl Streep?" he asked. "The one from Sophie's Choice?"
"Is there another?" I asked, rolling my eyes at his naivete. "Anyway, she and I really clicked. She recommended me to the director of this movie. That's how Hollywood works -- one thing leads to another, blah, blah, blah. But they're having a ton of creative issues, so who knows if it will even go."
"Go where?" he asked.
"If the movie will even be made."
I could tell Jason was disappointed and I didn't want to lose his attention, so I hurried to keep him interested. I had always dreamed of becoming romantically involved with an older man and thought Jason not only had the makings of a wonderful lover, but also of a dedicated father to the two black twins I had planned on adopting from Ethiopia. "I mean, it will go, but it could take months. Maybe you can visit me on set."
"Really?" he asked, his eyes ready to pop out of their sockets.
I had to think of something quick to recant my offer after realizing I would never be able to pull it off, so I quickly added, "Well, I mean if your parents will let you fly to the Galapagos Islands."
"The Galapagos," I said, trying to come up with a reason they would be shooting the sequel to Private Benjamin surrounded by turtles. "They have a ton of rare animals there, so the movie's going to be more of her roughing it in the water with jellyfish and sea horses. It's basically a cross between Splash and Private Benjamin."
"I loved Splash!" Jason screamed. "This is so cool!"
"Darryl's a complete mess," I told him, shaking my head.
"Don't even get me started," I snorted.
Once we arrived at school, I played it cool and left Jason with his mouth agape, as I told him I'd talk to him later and went on my way. It felt great to get attention from him. Even if our star signs didn't end up being sexually compatible, he was cute and popular, and it would definitely not hurt to have him as a friend. He could be the perfect ally to help get the evil fifth-grade girls to show me a little respect.
By lunch, almost every person at school had asked me about the movie. Not only did the fifth-grade girls skip their daily harassment, one of them even said "hi" as she walked by. Not one person had made fun of me or barked at me all day. Before Jodi and I could even sit down to eat lunch, kids were scrambling to come up to my table.
"What's Goldie Hawn like?" one of the other boys in fifth grade asked me.
"Tiny," I told him. "We're practically the same size."
"Really? She seems so much taller in the movies."
"She's like a mom to me. We totally get each other."
Once we had a minute to ourselves, Jodi finally confronted me and said she knew for a fact I hadn't been in a play with Meryl Streep, never mind the Off-Broadway version of Sesame Street, which by lunchtime I had cleverly renamed Sesame Streep.
"I know, Jodi, but look at it this way: This is the first day in months that I haven't been called a dog or ugly by the fifth-graders, and I'll be honest with you, it feels pretty sweet."
"I know," she said, "but what are you gonna do when they find out you're lying?"
"They'll forget about it," I said, loving the attention. "I'll just tell them it shoots over the summer, and by the time everyone gets back next year, they'll have forgotten. Plus, all the fifth-graders will have gone to middle school by then, so they can suck it."
"Yeah, but what about everybody else?" she asked. "Isn't there a way you could actually get to meet Goldie Hawn and at least get a picture with her?"
"That's a great idea," I told her as I unbuckled my Ms. Pac-Man lunchbox to find a peanut-butter-and-cream-cheese sandwich. "What the hell is this?" I asked, unwrapping it and then slamming it down on the table. "My parents are the worst."
Jodi and I had been friends since kindergarten, so she was used to this kind of mix-up. As sweet and loving as my mother was, she had the organizational skills of a sea lion and could never remember to make me lunc...
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