Chelsea Handler, from a different point of view

Chelsea Handler, left, and Laura Prepon spoke about their new sitcom, “Are You There, Chelsea?”, at the TCA press tour. The show premieres tonight at 8:30 on NBC.

In “Are You There, Chelsea?” — the new sitcom based on Chelsea Handler’s best-selling books — Laura Prepon plays Chelsea Handler and Chelsea Handler plays her sister Sloan. In real life, she isn’t actually named Sloan — but that was changed, the comedian says, “for legal reasons, so that my own family can’t sue me.” Got that?

“I’ve been living this life for a long time, and I’m over myself. And it’s a pleasure to play my sister, because everything I’ve been accusing her of my whole life, I can now re-enact before her eyes. She’s thrilled, surprisingly,” Handler said while promoting the sitcom at the Television Critics Association press tour in Pasadena, Calif., last week. “But, yeah. It’s a lot more fun for me to play her than it would be to play myself. It’s a lot more challenging anyway.”

“Challenging” is a good word to describe the sitcom and its place on broadcast television — like most of Handler’s material, the pilot is heavy on raunchy sex jokes and references to drinking.

Drinking a lot. The title of the show, in fact, used to be “Are You There, Vodka?” “Well, some people like tequila, you know. Some people like beer. Not everybody likes vodka,” Prepon joked about the title change.

“We don’t want to discriminate,” Handler added, then more seriously said, “We just thought ‘Are You There, Chelsea?’ is a really kind of play on ‘Am I there? What am I thinking?’”

That’s exactly what Chelsea asks herself in the pilot, which opens with the character getting a DUI and realizing she’s got to make some changes in her life.

“You realize there are some consequences to things that you do,” Prepon said. “[Chelsea] is ballsy and brash and not PC, and people are gonna love that about her, because I think that people relate to flawed characters. You know, nobody’s perfect.”

How real-to-life is “Chelsea”?

“I was probably angrier than she is in the show, which we thought wasn’t palatable,” Handler said of sitcom’s Chelsea.
   
“I went through my 20s in a way that not a lot of people do. I kind of barreled through them with no rhyme or reason or repercussions for anything. And so there’s definitely an essence of that. She’s not gonna be a caricature of me. We all wanted to give Laura license to make the character as great as she could, and she has.”

For more updates from the Television Critics Association follow Amber Ray on Twitter @amberatmetro.


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

New statue of Penn State's Paterno set for…

By David DeKokHARRISBURG, Pennsylvania (Reuters) - Fundraising for a new statue depicting Joe Paterno "as the man he was and not Joe the football coach"…

Local

Future Boston Alliance invites you to #RidetheLine, support…

#RidetheLine aims to show the city, the nation, and the globe our creative impact as Boston citizens.

Local

(Update) Body of missing BU grad Eric Munsell…

The dead man pulled from the water at Boston's Long Wharf Wednesday afternoon was that of missing 24-year-old Boston University alumnus Eric Munsell, Boston Police said today.

National

On newly released tape, 'Squeaky' Fromme says was…

Manson Family member Squeaky Fromme told a mental health examiner in newly released interview the "X" she carved in her forehead was meant to separate her from "the system."

Music

Championship of Collegiate a Cappella: Students who are…

Tickets to this Saturday’s International Championship of Collegiate a Cappella reportedly sold out within 11 hours of going on sale.

Music

M.I.A. talks 'Matangi,' divinity, spontaneity and holograms

"There’s pressure for me to become a theatrical production like 'Glee,' or something" says M.I.A., "It’s like, 'the pressure’s on, bitches.'"

Movies

Tribeca: 'Goodbye to All That' star Paul Schneider…

Paul Schneider talks about his new film "Goodbye to All That," not acting too much and how he'd rather indulge in simple pleasures than play the scene.

The Word

Taylor Swift battles paparazzi daily at Tribeca penthouse

We're entranced by these photos of poor Taylor Swift leaving her Tribeca apartment.

NHL

NHL video highlights: Bruins edge Red Wings in…

NHL video highlights: Bruins edge Red Wings in overtime of Game 4

MLB

MLB video highlights: Yankees rout Red Sox, 14-5

Felix Doubront struggles for second time in five starts

NBA

Jason Collins named to Time's 100 Most Influential…

Jason Collins was named to the list after coming out as the first openly gay player to appear in an NBA game.

NFL

2014 NFL Mock Draft: Updated, new April 24…

2014 NFL Mock Draft: Updated, new April 24 version

Parenting

New study: Inside the wage gap between boys…

According to a new study, there's a wage gap between boys and girls, with boys earning more allowance for less chores.

Tech

From Apple TV to Fire TV, big changes…

Apple is set to launch a new generation of it's Apple TV, which grossed over $1 billion in 2013. But competition from Amazon and Google looms.

Style

Katy Perry releases a new Claire’s collection

Katy Perry expands her empire by releasing an accessories collection at Claire's.

Style

MAC & Proenza Schouler collection unveiled

MAC Cosmetics is releasing a new collection with Proenza Schouler.