Words by Diedre Johnson
It was girl talk and a few fireworks of wicked wit when Gwyneth Paltrow sat down to interview, yes, interview, Chelsea Lately’s Chelsea Handler. The women, who really are firm friends, let it rip and Handler handled a glass of some sort of libation and Paltrow tee totaled. Sitting on a stage in the 89-year-old Alex Theatre in an LA suburb, the public chat, a part of Live Talk Los Angeles was a thinly-veiled promotion for Handler’s fifth book, Uganda Be Kidding.
Gwyneth Paltrow: This is your fifth book, you are touring to promote it, you do standup, you have your talk show. Where does all this drive come from?
Chelsea Handler: I looked at my parents and thought, “This is not acceptable.” Nah, I just don’t know.
Paltrow: Are you aware that you are a woman that other women look up to?
Handler: Yeah. You do book signings and people come to see my shows, and last week I was in eight cities doing stand-up shows and I do book signings wherever I go and it’s so moving because people will say, “Oh my gosh, you’re my idol,” and I will go, “Oh my God, what?” No, I love it. If someone had told me when I was eight or nine that I would have half of what I have, I wouldn’t have believed it. Maybe I would have believed it because it was always kind of what I wanted and now that I am smart enough and mature enough, when I was 29 1 wasn’t mature enough, it was just kind of the beginning for me. You’ve been famous from a very young age so I don’t even know what kind of mind-f**k that is.
Paltrow: Are there certain women you don’t like. What do you look for in a woman friend? What are characteristics you like or don’t like in that woman?
Handler: The first indication is if the woman has female friends. If she doesn’t then that’s usually a sign that she’s up to no good. If you’re a girl and you don’t have a lot of girlfriends then… I mean girls hang out with other girls. They hang out with guys but you hang out with girls first. That happens on the playground. I don’t like women who use their sexuality and have no regard for other women. I think there is a look in a woman’s eye when she’s been getting this from other women. When she’s not open minded.
Paltrow: Have you ever read some of your work back and felt the sting of that?
Handler: No, because I don’t and it is what it is. I think that’s a slippery slope. I think if you start to say, “Oh, I wished I hadn’t said that,” or if you apologize publicly, it’s just like, I’m a comedienne and we shouldn’t be taken that seriously anyway.
Paltrow: Do you ever get a guest on your show that is just a dud?
Paltrow: I’ve never seen you struggle…
Handler: Please, no, of course. There’s a different guest every day. Luckily, I have such a short format and it’s a very good show. Our segments are seven minutes so there only has to be two segments in the first half and now I can pretty much say, “l don’t want a Real Housewife on my show.” I mean I’m not interested in anything they have to say.
Paltrow: I know your contract is up in 2014, so what are you going to do?
Handler: Something. I don’t have a plan in place but I want to do something that exercises my brain a little bit more. I don’t know where it’s going to be or if I’m going to leave or what I am going to do but I definitely feel we’re getting used up, deflated… like a wheelchair without any wheels. I should take the day off tomorrow.
Paltrow: So do you want to interview real people?
Handler: Yeah. One of my favourite shows is Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel on HBO. It’s not about sports. I am not a sports fan, unless it’s funny like the Super Bowl. I want to educate my audiences who have been so loyal to me and talk about things that are happening in the world in a more responsible way. I don’t want to talk about Justin Bieber. When you have enormous success you want to be responsible to people that gave you that success and you want to take that to a different place. You want to elevate their friends, my friends. You want to ask questions that people are embarrassed to ask.
Paltrow: Do you want to have a partner? Do you think about it?
Handler: I think about it. I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about it. I don’t know how to balance a relationship and my life. I’ve never been able to really do that. I can’t half do it. I’m a better, happier human being when I can be really focused on my friends, my family and my job. It’s also because I haven’t found my soul mate. I don’t need a soul mate, girls are soul mates. Men are not your soul mates if you are not in a romantic relationship. Of course I love men. I have men around all the time but you have to have someone that brings out the best in you and I’ve never met anyone who really brings out the best in me and I have to bring out the best in them. You don’t want it to be a one-way street and when you do that for a long time, it’s really hard work.
Paltrow: Do you want a kid?
Handler: No, no, no. I don’t mind kids and I like kids and I like being friends with kids and I can tolerate some of them. That’s not a good use of my time.
Paltrow: So what will you do on our 40th birthday .
Handler: Oh, I will be renting a large or small island and I will be inviting a large group of people. I want to take a couple of months off from whatever I do and not work. Go live in Spain and learn Spanish so I can talk in another language. I want to live somewhere else just for a little bit and take a little break, and then come back and do something of which I’m really super proud. TVS