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NBC trotted out the cast and executive producers for its upcoming comedy, Are You There, Chelsea?, based on comedian Chelsea Handler’s books about her misadventures during her twenties at the TCA Winter Press Tour in Pasadena on Friday.
“It’s a really hard time period to be in your twenties,” executive producer Julie Larson explains. “She was a person who lived her life in the moment. I don’t see her as juvenile, but embracing that fleeting time in her life.”
As one would expect, the session had a lot of very fun moments punctuated with Handler’s account of herself growing up during her twenties. The comedian also explained how star Laura Prepon brings her own take to the character.
“I was a lot angrier than she is in the show,” says Handler. “I kind of barreled through the twenties with no rhyme or reason. The character Laura plays isn’t going to be a caricature of me.”
As you can expect, with a cast that includes Prepon, veteran comic actor Lenny Clarke, and Handler there were some funny and revealing moments during the session. Here’s the five funniest moments.
1. I’m not f–king you, Lenny. Clarke listed Handler’s accomplishments – four bestselling books, two hit E! shows, and the highest paid comedian in America right now – as reasons why NBC would give this series a chance. In response, Handler says, “I’m not f—king you, Lenny.” But, the very quick Clarke responded without missing a beat, “I’m wearing her down.”
2. I like being under the radar. When one reporter wondered why Handler didn’t just play herself, she replied that she already had other jobs and didn’t have the time. He mentioned that she recently had an opportunity to get out of her E! contract and she replied, “I don’t have time to star in my own TV show. If I did, I would. I like my E! show, I love being under the radar.” Snap. She meant that in the best possible way, E!.
3. I changed her name, so that my family doesn’t sue me. While the ads for the show prominently feature Handler as Chelsea’s sister, Sloan, the comedian wanted to make it clear she only appears in seven episodes – as much as her schedule would allow. When a reporter asked Handler if she really has a sister named Sloan, she answered, “I have a sister… I changed her name [for the show], so my family doesn’t sue me.”
4. I’m over me. Further explaining her reasoning for not playing herself, Chelsea says, “It’s a pleasure to have someone play me, because I’ve been living this life all these years and I’m over me.”
5. I’ve only got one DUI [reporters applaud]. Handler says that the character may be living her life on the edge, but there are consequences. As she lived her own life, Handler says that it was all about correcting herself after making mistakes as it will be in the series as well. “In real life I got a DUI,” she says proudly of a moment that actually occurs in the show. “But, I haven’t gotten one since.” And that won her some applause from the group. Funny and awk-ward.
Are you there, Chelsea? premieres January 11 at 8 p.m. on NBC.
Email: Jethro.Nededog@thr.com; Twitter: @TheRealJethro
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