You might say Chelsea Handler is turning over a new leaf. Her eponymous Netflix show has taken a more serious spin (she’s featuring politicians alongside the celebrities we know and love her for) and she’s become more involved with philanthropy — including a local nonprofit.
The comedian was first introduced to The Karam Foundation — a Syrian aid organization based in Lake Forest — by culture critic Leon Wieseltier at a photoshoot in New York last year; on May 5, she showed her support at a luncheon at The Langham, Chicago (330 N. Wabash).
“You have to be responsible as an adult,” said Handler before the event. “At a certain age, you stop thinking about yourself so much and start thinking about other people. I don’t have children, I don’t have a husband, so I can help a lot of people.”
That’s exactly what she’s done. In addition to supporting the nonprofit financially, Handler sponsors 33 Syrian refugee children in Turkey, plus more families in the U.S. “I’ve caused a lot of trouble, so I like to just do some nice things [as well],” she laughed.
Splash caught up with the comedian/talk show host/author about the important things in life, and what really happens behind the scenes of “Chelsea.”
SPLASH: Your Netflix show “Chelsea” is a lot more political this season. Have you received any backlash for this?
CHELSEA HANDLER: I don’t know about backlash, because I stopped looking at that stuff a long time ago. Every once in a while I’ll read a comment and be like [cringes] — but no, I don’t [usually] do that. I have too many other things to do, like sleep.
S: What’s something that happens behind the scenes of “Chelsea” that people would be surprised to know?
CH: I don’t know if anything would be a surprise, since I pretty much air all my dirty laundry. There are not a lot of secrets with me, or intrigue. I like to work a lot, and I like to have fun while I’m working, so everyone [who works with me] knows the drill. You have to add the fun factor, and then we can really accomplish something.
S: Are there any places here in Chicago that you need to stop by before you leave town?
CH: Well somehow last night I was dragged to three different gay bars and I don’t know how that happened. I was trying to go home and it was one and then it was another and then another. And I’m straight!
To learn more, or to donate to the Karam Foundation, go to Karamfoundation.org. And watch new episodes of “Chelsea” on Netflix Fridays at 2 a.m.