Reviewed By Carrie Cousins
Chelsea Handler is funny.
Her friends and family?
Not so much.
“Lies that Chelsea Handler Told Me” is a disappointing read with only a few laughs.
It is nothing like some of Handler’s previous books, including last year’s “Chelsea Chelsea Bang Bang,” which was a riot from cover to cover.
Maybe the difference is that Handler did not actually write the book.
Despite the cover image (and much of the surrounding promotion), Handler only penned a few paragraphs.
The storyline revolves around colleagues and family members telling anecdotes about times when the stand-up comedian, known for her daily cable talk show “Chelsea Lately,” told each of them a lie.
And not just any lie — a whopper that caused the person major embarrassment.
The premise is a good one. The practical jokes that Handler has played on her friends and family are rather funny. It is just that most of the contributors are not.
And each essentially ends with the writer droning on and on about how much they just love Handler.
The book falls short because audience was not taken into account. People who buy this book likely know Handler and her antics. They already love her. Hearing random people say so for 292 pages just seems unnecessary.
The tale by “Chelsea Lately” regular Josh Wolf provides more giggles than any other section of the book. (Wolf thinks he and Handler have duped his wife when it comes to betting on sports, but really the joke is on him.)
The opening two chapters by Johnny Kansas (a co-worker who is repeatedly belittled) and Stephanie Stehling (a longtime friend who was conned into visiting the doctor unexpectedly) are also well-done.
These stories provide a level of detail and humor that are reminiscent of earlier Handler books.
But the nine other chapters fall flat.
The stories shared by Handler’s family are the least entertaining of the bunch. Shoshonna Handler’s excerpt is not funny and is borderline spiteful and a little mean; Glen Handler seems to just ramble about his younger sister. Even the tale from Chelsea Handler’s dog, Chunk — which I suspect Handler may have written— is lacking hilarity.
The few words in Handler fashion come at the end of each chapter when she offers her take on the story in a few words.
This too, borders on a love-fest between Handler and the author of the chapter.
The book seems to lack real focus and direction. It offers a few giggles (most frequently in the chapters by professional comedy writers) but is nothing like what readers have come to expect in a Handler book.
But then again, that isn’t really what this book is about.