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Reviewed by Rich Follett for Readers' Favorite
Chelsea Handler seemingly has no boundaries whatsoever. This actually turns out to be a good thing; when she turns her impishly irreverent, staccato wit loose on the myriad absurdities inherent in a life spent in the public eye, a particularly unsettling brand of hilarity ensues and the wearying world we know ceases to exist for whatever enchanted period of time we are privileged to spend under her foul-mouthed, surgically brilliant spell. No situation, no topic is off limits and no one has immunity. Whether she is casting about for ways to euthanize her perpetually embarrassing and inconvenient father, angling for a dolphin to be installed in her living room aquarium, perpetuating an elaborate ruse about the death of a friend’s beloved English Bulldog (complete with a intricately staged funeral) or navigating her way through the endless affronts to sanity that life as a celebrity presents, Handler is a fresh and undeniably stellar comedic presence who deftly manages to make us laugh at ourselves almost as much as we laugh at the zany cast of characters and utterly bizarre situations highlighted in Chelsea Chelsea Bang Bang.
A certain brand of ‘don’t shit where you eat’ wisdom wends its way through the narrative; it is hard to argue semantics with a voice as common-sense forward as Handler’s. Her laser beam humor is based on the premise that human beings (including herself) are by nature ridiculous and therefore eminently worthy of a good skewering. Much in the same way that Greek tragedy offers a catharsis which makes us realize that our own problems pale in comparison to those of the characters in the play, Handler offers us, beneath her disarming wit, the ultimately comforting notion that we just might, if we play our cards right and mind our ‘p’s and ‘q’s, be judged slightly less absurd than our contemporaries on the day of final reckoning. It’s a slim chance at best, but the notion is compelling and the evidence entertaining as all get out. Chelsea Chelsea Bang Bang feels like a visit with Chelsea Handler, partly because she writes in a naturally conversational style and partly because she reads the audio book herself - always with a wink in her voice that makes the listener feel like a member of her circle of trusted friends. Chelsea Chelsea Bang Bang is vastly entertaining and wonderfully wicked - the perfect antidote for Puritan shame. Chelsea Handler’s quirky, prurient and supremely astute social commentary is unstoppable, unforgettable and utterly hilarious.