Thursday, June 24, 2010

Chelsea Chelsea Bang Bang Keeps the Zingers Coming

Chelsea Handler is a nut, no doubt about it. If you didn't gather that from her two previous humorous memoir/ essay collections, you'll definitely know it after reading her latest book release, Chelsea Chelsea Bang Bang. The title reminds me, of course, of the 1968 Roald Dahl film Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, but the titles are where the similarities begin and end, except for perhaps the ludicracy (word, or not a word?) involved in both.

Famous for her talk show Chelsea Lately on entertainment cable channel E!, Handler dated the CEO of the network for several years. Chelsea Chelsea Bang Bang is a collection of stories about Handler's everyday life, many of which involve that former significant other Ted. Much of her life revolves around making him look like a fool with elaborate pranks, imbibing in lots of vodka and illegal substances, and hanging out with unsavory characters.

In fact, Handler seems to be a magnet for odd characters, as evidenced by her sidekick Chuy on the show and by the menagerie of people who she writes about in the book. In this collection, Handler does drugs with her brother on Martha's Vineyard, flies away from a friend's rooftop L.A. wedding in a helicopter (so that she & Ted can make it more quickly to a weekend away in Orange County -- a whole 30 miles to the south), and vacations in the Caribbean with her New York City driver (so that she can help him find love).

Is Handler's book likely to make its way into the literary canon or to change literature as we know it? Definitely not. Is it a fun book to read in bits and pieces? Absolutely. Handler's tales are cringe-worthy at some points, so much so that I had to lay the book down some nights without finishing the particular story I was reading. Her attitude towards her father, especially, had me wincing at times. But if you enjoy her off-brand of humor (and watch her show), you'll laugh out loud at many of her crazy antics.

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang clip, apropos nothing (well, except for my brain's insistence that it must have something to do with this book):

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