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Chelsea Handler on Al Franken, political correctness, and whether she'd date a conservative

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Chelsea Handler is in Minneapolis!

Or she will be. City Pages is not aware of when her flight gets in. (We're fans, not stalkers.)

Handler is in town for a sit-down "conversation," one hosted by KARE 11's Jana Shortal at the State Theatre as part of Twin Cities Pride 2018. The Minneapolis event is part of a series of political and social discussions Handler's staging across the country.

Fans of Handler's comedy can expect a lot of talk about politics and activism, which doesn't really sound all that funny. Coming from Handler, it often is, as exhibited in a recent interview with City Pages to preview the show.

Though the caustic comedian isn't dropping her edge entirely -- see her diagnoses of Donald Trump and Rudy Giuliani below -- she's hoping to make new connections as part of her tour, meeting and talkjng with the kinds of people she's less likely to encounter in Hollywood.

Attendees should expect an environment where people are comfortable enough to share, and open-minded enough to learn form each others' experiences, and funny enough to make dirty jokes.

As for the like-minded, Handler's goal is to rally them right off their asses and into sustained political activism. 

"And this is coming from someone who just wants to smoke pot and drink every night, so, if I have my shit together, everyone can have their shit together.

Click here to read part 1 of our Q & A, and here to learn more about (still-available) tickets


City Pages: People have pointed out that Trump, specifically, seems to have no sense of humor. Is there something to that?
Chelsea Handler: Well, yeah, I think he has -- he’s a psychopath. Those people aren’t particularly funny, and what they do find funny is not funny. Whatever the opposite of funny is, that’s what he is.

CP: Of all the weird characters who have surfaced, is there one in the Trump universe who is your favorite to make fun of?
Handler: Well, [Rudy] Giuliani’s pretty ridiculous right now. He’s like, unhinged. Something’s really wrong with him. I mean, I think something’s really wrong with Trump, but something’s really wrong with Rudy Giuliani, too. It’s like they both are suffering from late-stage syphillis.They don’t make sense, they haev no short-term memory, they constantly contradict themselves. They say one thing one minute, and another thing the next. They need to stop -- well, no, they need to continue, because I do see this presidency unraveling.
It’s easy to become really negative. I had to, like, go away for a month after the New Year to ski every day and not watch the news, because I was becoming toxic. But I came back regenerated, and ready to harness that, and turn it into something positive. Let’s get the most women elected that have ever been elected in a year. Let’s make 2018 the year of the woman. We have mid-term elections coming up, we’ve had special elections where we’ve turned red districts into blue. We can make something fantastic come out of this, and so, that’s my agenda right now.

CP: In a Minnesota-specific question, should Al Franken have resigned, and should liberals have been sad to see him go?
Handler: Yes and yes. It was a bummer that he had to resign, because I think there are no shades of gray in this movement. You can’t really get away with groping somebody, even though a grope is far different from sexual assaulting someone, in my opinion. But, he had to go. If the liberals are going to stand for something, it has to be zero tolerance.
So, it sucks, I love Al Franken, I think he’s a great senator -- he was a great senator, and it’s sad to say that. I’ve met him several times and I like him a lot, but I think it was one that needed to happen in order for us to stand for something.

CP: What about the idea from some, almost always on the right, that Hollywood should stay out of politics?
Handler: Why? I mean, we pay our taxes, we’re citizens. Why would that preclude us from having an opinion? I don’t understand that argument, even. Because I’m successful, and in show business, I shouldn’t care about the rest of the country?

CP: You live in California, and for conservatives, “California,” “San Francisco,” “Hollywood,” these have kind of become buzzwords, warnings for what other states could become like. But aren’t things actually going pretty well in California?
Handler: Yeah, California’s pretty progressive. We care about the environment. There are huge movements in California to protect our environment. The federal government doesn’t seem to have that as a priority. It’s just a simple level of corruption that’s happening, on a federal level, that is exactly what Trump campaigned against. Like, with [EPA director] Scott Pruitt? It’s just disgusting.
I think my motivation is to get, if you haven’t been involved, please get involved. And if you’re young, get involved and stay involved. It’s so much better to be informed than it is to just bow out and be like, “I can’t take it.” I get that, that it’s overwhelming, and the news cycle is crazy… but you should be informed.

CP: Conservatives bring up “political correctness” as something liberals are behind that’s ruining American discourse, or education. There’s also a lot of comics who don’t like being told what they can say, or joke about. Where are you on political correctness?
Handler: I think we’re in a time now where we realize, “Oh, just because we had a black president doesn’t mean racism is over.” I’m one of the idiots who thought, “OK, we nailed that, now let’s get a woman in there, and that’ll be done.” And it’s like, well, look what just happened. We’ve illuminated the fact that racism is alive and kicking, and it actually unearthed some of the grossest parts of it. I guess they were always there, but they weren’t as vocal or active as they are now.

CP: Do you, or would you, either date or party with conservatives right now?
Handler: Yeah, I would. Listen, I’m not opposed to conservatives. I think supporting Donald Trump is a lot different than being a conservative. This is about values, and this is about humanity, and he’s bereft of it. So I can get on board with somebody’s who’s conservative. I don’t know, if I would date them, how long that would last. None of my relationships last long anyway, so that would just be par for the course.
But, yeah, I’m not like, “Oh, I only consider myself a Democrat.” I consider myself more of an independent. I’m open to that. I get that there’s a way for us to have a conversation, rather than to have it be this vitriol. I’m learning that, too, I spent my whole life making money yelling at people on stage.
So, for me to sit down with a conservative and have these debates that I’m having -- or conversations, I would say -- is very hard for me to not freak out and yell at somebody like Tomi Lahren. But I’m doing it, because it’s necessary. It’s necessary to sit there and listen, and make your points without screaming and yelling, which is something I've learned at the tender age of 42. Or maybe I’m 43 now, I’m not sure.