Monday, May 3, 2010

Chelsea Handler Book Signing

I recently attended a book signing for Chelsea Handler's latest book, Chelsea Chelsea Bang Bang. As I've mentioned in previous posts, I watch her talk show, Chelsea Lately, nightly, and she has been talking about her comedy and book tour quite a bit. I have read her previously published memoirs, My Horizontal Life: A Collection of One-Night Stands and Are You There, Vodka? It's Me, Chelsea, and I had been really looking forward to the release of her newest book. Each memoir is a collection of essays chronicling her life that is irreverent, engaging, and hilarious. Chelsea has a real flair for storytelling and a talent for pulling her readers in with the vivid accounts of her life's adventures. If you're reading this and thinking, "Samantha, I don't believe that Chelsea is as funny as you claim," I can provide photographic evidence that she is indeed funny. Here's a snapshot of Baker and me reading Are You There, Vodka? It's Me, Chelsea aloud to one another at the beach last summer:
Disclaimer: While I find Chelsea Handler to be a brilliantly funny writer, I do not--I repeat--do not recommend this book to the conservative reader or those who are easily offended. You've been warned.

2nd Disclaimer: While I am a big fan of her books and talk show, I am not endorsing her as a stand-up comedian. Stand-up simply isn't where her talent lies. I've seen her Comedy Central special, and I've read reviews of her act, and I would personally not pay $70+ to see her. Neither would Chelsea, according to Chelsea.

Now that that's out of the way, I will continue:

I had never been to a book signing before and sort of wondered what they were like. I figured, if
I were to attend a book signing just for the fun of it, she'd be the kind of author I would want to meet. Also, this accomplishes item #4 on my list of 101 Things: Attend a Book Signing.
The rest of this post will be both anecdotal and informative, should you ever decide you'd like to attend a book signing (probably not.) First, the nitty-gritty about book signings, in case you don't give a flip about my brush with fame:

  • Call in advance and ask if this is a ticketed event (Paula Deen and Dog the Bounty Hunter's book signings were ticketed, Chelsea's was not), how many attendees they are anticipating, how far in advance they recommend arriving, and if there are any restrictions (which items will the author sign, is proof of purchase required, will the author pose for pictures, etc.)

  • Arrive early. You're gonna be there a while no matter what, might as well get a good parking spot and a decent place in line.
I asked if Chelsea would be signing anything in addition to Chelsea Chelsea Bang Bang, and the clerk said that her handlers (pun not intended) had strict guidelines and would only be permitting autographs for Chelsea Chelsea Bang Bang. She also mentioned something about my not being allowed to bring anything else with me (previously purchased books, bottles of Belvedere, etc) and that I would probably be asked to return said items to my car. Oh, and she told me that Chelsea would not pose for pictures, but that there would be a designated area where I would be permitted to take photos of I'm a paparazzo, or like she's the new panda at the Dallas Zoo. No thanks, I can find plenty of other ways to look like a pathetic loser.

Now, the skinny on Chelsea and the booksigning:

  • I arrived two hours early, got a front row parking spot and secured a spot in line at around 60 out of 400-500 attendees.

  • I sat quietly in line for two hours while reading Waiter Ranta memoir I snagged off the shelf. Good book.

  • The book signing began right on time.

  • The line moved quickly and efficiently, but I was unable to see Chelsea until the girl directly in front of me was having her books signed, so I have little to report in the way of personal observations. 

  • Despite what the bookstore clerk told me, Chelsea totally signed items not purchased at their bookstore. Attendees had to provide proof of purchase for Chelsea Chelsea Bang Bang, but her earlier works and bottles of Belvedere were permitted. Had I brought more crap for her to sign, I would have had a little more face time with her.

  • There was an iPod on a dock right beside Chelsea that blasted music by The Black Eyed Peas and Natasha Bedingfield, so couldn't hear a word she said until it was my turn.

  • "What was Chelsea like in person?" This is the question I've been asked by friends. Chelsea was friendly, gracious, and seemed genuinely kind. Also, she was strikingly pretty. Much has been made about Chelsea's appearance (she has been criticized in the media for looking rode hard and put up wet; many doubt her claim that she was born in 1975.) I, Samantha (snotty little priss that I am), do hereby solemnly swear that Chelsea Handler is as pretty in person as her most flattering airbrushed publicity photos. She has a smokin' bod and an enviable tan. Ok, enough already.

  • "Did she say anything to you?" While signing my book, she said hello to me and said, "Hey, your brother, Brad, is here!" She is referring to Brad Wollack, the comedian who appears on Chelsea Lately and who would be her opening act for that evening's comedy show.
I see the resemblance. Everyone knows that all redheads look alike. 
Here's what I have to show for my afternoon at the bookstore:

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