Chelsea Handler’s Joyful Rebellion

Chelsea Handler has had six New York Times best-selling books, five which hit number one, and counts more than 5-million followers on Instagram. The 48-year-old comedian, podcaster and personality on TV is also an outspoken advocate, everyday cannabis consumer and genuinely wonderful, hilarious human being.
Since we started the magazine, Chelsea has been on our wish list for covers. Today, with unrest all over the world and seemingly unceasing division, it seems now more than ever was the time for the star of Revolution on Netflix to appear and—just like that—she announced tour dates in Canada and we got her on the phone. She had just taken an edible, so we took one, too.
I take edibles every day.
I just took one right now.​
  • KIND: When you think about Canada, what comes to mind?

    CHELSEA HANDLER: Freedom, rights. Human rights, all rights. Compassion, empathy—no guns. You know, all the things that I wish America would be.

  • KIND: When you think about Canada, what comes to mind?

    CHELSEA HANDLER: Freedom, rights. Human rights, all rights. Compassion, empathy—no guns. You know, all the things that I wish America would be.

Even with everything going on in the world, there’s still joy, togetherness and happiness.
  • KIND: Amen.

    CH: I take that very seriously.

  • KIND: Jokes as medicine.

    CH: As a stand-up comedian, especially during this time, and really it’s just been one thing after the other since COVID, I’ve been drawn to creating a reprieve for everybody. I know what it means because these performances provide the same thing for me.

  • KIND: Has living, working and joking during tumultuous times changed your approach to the work?

    CH: I’ve become more professional. I’m making sure I’m delivering to the audience what they’re paying for and I’ve become more respectful and appreciative of my audience as I’ve gotten older and understanding the word gratitude—knowing what it means and actually having it, rather than hearing about it, like, ‘Oh, shut up.’

  • KIND: That’s the number one thing about getting older, becoming more appreciative.

    CH: It’s a pleasure for me, telling stories, and I’ve certainly come to appreciate all the fans that I’ve had in my life—some of whom have been with me for 25 years.

  • KIND: How do you describe what you do?

    CH: I go onstage and light audiences up and spread joy, sunshine and bright beams. Say, ‘It’s OK,’ not everything is dark and gloomy. Of course, not everything is OK, but there are in-between moments through darkness. I want people to laugh their asses off.
I want people to laugh their asses off.
  • KIND: Can you feel the weight lifting from your crowds?

    CH: Yeah, and in that sense the shows have been heightened because of the relief people feel in allowing themselves that moment in time. The shows have been electric.

  • KIND: You’re basically providing a mental health service.

    CH: At my age it’s about how much you’re giving, not about the taking as much.
  • KIND: How do you take care of yourself?

    CH: I meditate every day. I take edibles every day. I know how to take care of myself better than I did at one time. I’m not an idiot.
  • KIND: What does that mean?

    CH: I don’t get shit-faced when I have four shows that weekend.
  • KIND: Right.

    CH: I know how to preserve my energy for when I have to deliver.
  • KIND: Wait, you take edibles every day? When did pot first come on your radar?

    CH: When I learned how to speak.
  • KIND: Ha!!

    CH: I got serious about pot when it became legal in the state of California and accessibility changed. You’re not thinking about how much THC is in a cookie, it’s right there—5mg, 10mg, 2.5mg—whatever you’re down with, so that’s when I started taking pot more.
  • KIND: I’ve found it more agreeable to my constitution than alcohol, which I also still love.

    CH: The 2015 election was a dark time in America and that, anger and alcohol don’t go well together. So I pivoted. During COVID, I pivoted again, to edibles, and noticed it was a good mood stabilizer, a mood-lifter if you need it, and also it could help with sleep. There are so many benefits to cannabis that it didn’t take me long to get on board.
There are so many benefits to cannabis that it didn’t take me long to get on board.​
  • KIND: Are you only on the edibles train?

    CH: I don’t really smoke joints as much because my voice gets a little scratchy, but that’s my favourite form of injection, but I do take edibles. I just took one right now—a little Camino Chill.
  • KIND: Edibles and meditation aside, how else do you unwind?

    CH: December to me is when I go to Whistler; well, I go there and then stay for three to four months.
  • KIND: Most people leave Canada for the winter.

    CH: I’m like a bear. Like a bear that’s skiing.
  • KIND: It’s great that you’re playing so many Canadian dates.

    CH: I do them from Whistler. Basically I go hard for three months on tour then slow down and sprinkle dates from Whistler, then gear back up. Skiing for me is the most meditative thing that I do.
  • KIND: You’ve become (even more) famous for your naked Whistler skiing videos.

    CH: We were just being stupid one year when it was my birthday and I went pantless. Then I had to step it up a notch and decided to go topless, then it became a tradition.
  • KIND: You certainly look free.

    CH: There’s nothing more exhilarating than skiing down a mountain in a bikini. Although it’s also pretty great going topless. We’ll see what happens this year. I’ll have to figure it out when I get to Whistler and see my Canadian girlfriends.
There’s nothing more exhilarating than skiing down a mountain in a bikini. Although it’s pretty great going topless.​
  • KIND: What is it you love about Whistler?

    CH: Once I get there I get into a different zone in my life.
  • KIND: You’re outspoken about abortion rights, human rights. Do you not worry about being taken less seriously for also saying, ‘I do shrooms, I just popped a Camino Chill?’

    CH: I want to go on the record and say me sober I feel like I have too much advantage over other people. It’s better for me to dumb it down with a mushroom or alcohol, then I can calm down.
  • KIND: You don’t necessarily take mushrooms for yourself but for other people?

    KIND: You don’t necessarily take mushrooms for yourself but for other people?
  • KIND: Successful people usually don’t say this kind of shit.

    CH: There are personalities that can’t function highly under the influence of things—I am not one of those personality types. I don’t say everyone should do it, but I’m honest about what I do because there’s enough dishonesty and misinformation and it’s nice to be authentic, real and true to who you are. My fans know I’m not full of shit.
  • KIND: How did you give yourself permission to be free?

    CH: I don’t know that I asked permission, I just behave like myself and it’s not a strategy or tactic. It’s the way I am. I didn’t set out and say, ‘Today I’m going to tell everyone I do mushrooms,’ no. It’s just part of my ongoing conversation. Everyone who knows me personally knows my persona isn’t different from me. There’s not a lot of mystique.
  • KIND: If Seth Rogen says he takes shrooms, it’s expected. But when Chelsea Handler does, it almost feels subversive.

    CH: I feel passionately as I always have about women normalizing these behaviours. Men don’t only get to be stoners or potheads. I don’t consider myself a stoner or pothead, but it doesn’t need to have a negative connotation. Women should embrace whatever helps them get through the day and what helps them function at a high level or help them with their anxiety or whatever it is. I feel emphatically about always sharing the truth and there’s no shame in any of this.
Men don’t only get to be stoners or potheads."
  • KIND: Shame is such a depleting emotion.

    CH: I don’t feel shame, maybe that’s what my secret is: I don’t have a lot of shame.
  • KIND: Which allows you to share stories about your life.

    CH: My stand-up is all personal stories, like about me almost having sex with Andrew Cuomo; stories about my dinner with Woody Allen; Bill Cosby summoning me to his hotel room in Atlantic City—they’re really funny stories and I was always a bad-ass baller from the minute I was born.
  • KIND: And you just leaned in.

    CH: My gift for storytelling has given me a humongous career that I get to share in books and stand-up. It’s easy for me to make people laugh and it brings me joy to do.
  • KIND: Joy is the number one thing I want to give our readers.

    CH: I feel like it’s my purpose in life to bring joy and laughter, and give women a little more freedom.
  • KIND: What do you mean?

    KIND: What do you mean? CH: Women don’t have to take themselves so seriously. Everyone has been on us since the beginning of time. Do what you want to do. Don’t do what people are telling you to do! You don’t have to get married. You don’t have to have children to make a contribution to society. These antiquated notions and societal constructs that we choose to live by are a bunch of bullshit.
  • KIND: You’re living proof.

    CH: I’m living my best life. I’m not married. I don’t have children. I spend three months of the year skiing my heart out in Whistler. I never listened to anything any man ever told me. That’s my message.
  • KIND: And for men?

    CH: Men can also calm down. Everyone’s under so much pressure. Men, I feel like are victims of a societal construct too that what makes you valuable is if you’re successful and that’s still just a lot of bullshit. That’s my message for everybody that I feel positive about: calm down.
  • KIND: Body image is another thing both men and women can stand to calm down about. You’re blonde and skinny, but skiing naked and posting it on the internet still takes balls. ch a depleting emotion.

    CH: I have the same problems as everyone else when I look at certain body parts, like: ‘Ewww, what is that?’ It’s a waste of time for us to spend time hating ourselves. You’re bringing your own vibrations down.
  • KIND: What do you mean?

    CH: Embrace your shortcomings. If you have cellulite, wear it with confidence. The minute you turn insecurity into confidence, it becomes an attraction rather than a subtraction and people are only noticing the aura you exude so we shouldn’t be focusing on our shortcomings, it’s a waste of everyone’s time.
  • KIND: Take us out of here so we can go enjoy our edible high.

    CH: I just want to be a high vibe passing through the world so every time I leave an area, it’s better.
  • KIND: That’s a nice vibe for the new year.

    CH: Everyone should be concentrating on bringing vibes up, not down, and forget about negative talk to yourself. There’s no time for that.
  • KIND: I wanted to talk to you for three years and it was worth the wait.

    H: Everyone who doesn’t feel seen, needs to feel seen. I don’t want anyone to feel marginalized and I hope with my standup, with my podcast, with this interview, it’s all about demonstrating kindness. Just being kind and being cool. You don’t have to be judgmental. You don’t have to be nasty. You don’t have to have no self-awareness.

What the world needs now, says Handler, is laughter, kindness, empathy — and really good weed.