Chelsea Handler Making Netflix Documentaries “Because I Had To Get My Brain Working Again”

Eric Charbonneau/Netflix

“Now I’m focused on the four documentaries,” Chelsea Handler said at TCA this afternoon, when TV critics attempted to ask her about her Netflix talk show. “We’re wrapping up the last.” Each of the documentaries, she said, is a “feature-length film – I’m a big girl!”

Chelsea Does Marriage, Chelsea Does Racism, Chelsea Does Silicon Valley and Chelsea Does Drugs are directed by Eddie Schmidt (This Film Is Not Yet Rated) and executive produced by Handler and Oscar-winning director Morgan Neville (20 Feet From Stardom) and produced by Gary Snoonian (Chelsea Lately).

“They’re all very different and amazing experiences for me work-wise,” she said of the docus, calling the four an “entry into the Netflix world. After we’re done editing then I’ll focus on the [talk] show. I’ve met with people I want to work with,” she said, but is not yet focused on that program.

Asked why she wanted to make documentaries after starring on a late-night show on E! for so many years, Handler answered/guessed, “Because I had to get my brain working again?”

“When I met with Netflix, they weren’t ready to have a nightly talk show.”

“Which isn’t necessarily what I’m going to end up doing,” she added quickly. “I’m not looking to do a nightly talk show. That wasn’t my intent.” She hedged when pressed as to how often and in what format her show will appear on the streaming service, saying, “I can’t give you a direct answer because I don’t have that information to give you. When it’s on it’s because it’s ready to be on.”

Asked if there’s anything in the news she’s missed covering as a late-night host, Handler first insisted she has “enjoyed not paying that much attention,” but then added, “Rachel Dolezal from the NAACP was a very joyful story for me to watch – beyond ridiculous.”

“The healthiest thing to do when, you’re constantly immersed in this business, is to take a break…You get out of that head space and can come back to it with a different perspective. It’s like going on a little diet.”

Handler struck a deal this year to move to Netflix for the four documentary specials and a full-time talk show in 2016 that is billed to debut simultaneously in all Netflix territories.

Miley Cyrus sang “It’s Over” and a star-studded cast performed a “We Are The World”-esque group-sing as Handler bid goodbye to E! last August, after seven years. In Handler’s now infamous Howard Stern radio interview a few months before her exit, she called E! “a sad, sad place to live” and “a failure.” When TV critics asked her to comment on that network today, she declined to take the bait.

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