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5 Authors like Chelsea Handler: Quick Wit & Sarcasm

Roxanne_Sancto_itcher_contributorIf you’re looking for hilarious books penned by quick-witted and sarcastic female authors like Chelsea Handler, you might want to turn to Lena Dunham or Margaret Cho. ~ Roxanne Sancto

Vodka & One-Night Stands

Chelsea Handler is a comedian, author, actress, producer and host of her own late-night talk show ‘Chelsea Lately’ and if there’s one thing we all love and admire about her, it’s that she always tells it exactly the way it is: even if it’s not polite or pretty.

Handler published her first book ‘My Horizontal Life: A Collection of One-Night Stands’ in 2005. This is a collection of funny essays describing some of her most comical, weird and adventurous sexual experiences told with Chelsea’s incomparable dry and brutal style.

Her 2008 book ‘Are You There, Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea’ landed on the New York Times Nonfiction Best Seller List. The title is inspired by Jude Blume’s ‘Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret’ but obviously, the books have very little in common. Margaret turns to God in times of worry and doubt; Chelsea turns to Vodka.

It’s always refreshing reading the works of women who are not afraid to share their thoughts and opinions on every-day matters or even serious topics like equality, struggles with alcohol or drug addiction and politics in general. If Chelsea has given you a taste for powerful women in the literary world, check out these fine ladies and their brilliant writing.


Authors Similar to Chelsea Handler…

Sarah Colonna

Image Source: images-amazon

Recommended Book:  ‘Life As I Blow It’ (2012)

If you’re a fan of ‘Chelsea Lately’, you may already know Chelsea’s hilarious side-kick Sarah Colonna, a roundtable regular and writer on the show. But did you know she is a ballsy writer as well? If you can’t get enough of writers like Chelsea Handler, you’re really going to get into Sarah Colonna and her tales of the entertainment industry, dating disasters and a series of bad choices ending in embarrassing situations.

Sarah Colonna grew up in Arkansas but left for LA shortly after attending university, in the hopes of launching her comedy career. In her 2012 book ‘Life As I Blow It’, Colonna details just how lonely, frustrating and devastating the entertainment world can be. She may have moved to LA with all the right drive and ambition, but she was still stuck working as a waitress for several years before finally landing a slot on Comedy Central’s ‘Premium Blend’.

Having said that, Colonna speaks of these experiences with honesty and a charming sense of humour and ‘Life As I Blow It’ focuses more on her sarcastic and comical outlook on her past dating life, the poor choices she’s made and how they made her grow as a person and a comedian.

Similarity Match: 85%
After reading ‘Life As I Blow It’, you will understand why Handler and Colonna work so well together. Their humour is very similar but Colonna goes into more details about her honest feelings than Handler does.

Margaret Cho

Image Source: nyculturebeat

Recommended Book:  ‘I’m the One That I Want’ (1999)

Growing up in a San Francisco neighbourhood full of “old hippies, ex-druggies, burn-outs from the 60s, drag queens, Chinese people, and Koreans,” Margaret Cho soon realized that she wasn’t going to be taking the conventional route in life. She was much more excited by the creativity and inspiration she found in the performing arts and improvisational comedy than the idea of a boring day job.

In the early nineties, Cho started building up her stand up career and appeared on several TV shows. In 1994, she starred in the ABC sitcom ‘All American Girl’, which was based on the content of her stand-up routine. Unfortunately, this would turn out to be an intense and negative experience. Advertised as one of the first shows to feature an East Asian family as the lead characters, network executives and producers were more interested in focusing on Asian stereotypes than portraying something real.

Cho was criticised for her weight and the “roundness” of her face and ended up going on a severe diet that ended in kidney failure. One day she was told she was “too Asian”, the next they’d imply she wasn’t “Asian enough”. The experience had a lasting effect on Cho who ended up turning to alcohol and drugs for comfort.

In 1999 she published the autobiography ‘I’m the One That I Want’, which details her experiences on ‘All American Girl’ and speaks about the struggles she had within the entertainment world due to her ethnicity and weight in a humorous, in-your-face manner. The book was later released as a concert film.

Similarity Match: 75%
Like Chelsea Handler, Margaret Cho is not afraid to voice her opinion on humorous matters as well as serious political issues, but while Handler is more about the sarcasm, Cho enjoys the in-your-face approach.

Tina Fey

Image Source: wordpress

Recommended Book:  ‘Bossypants’ (2011)

Having grown up in a family with a great appreciation for classic comedy as seen in Monty Python and the Marx Brothers, Tina Fey knew she wanted to break into the world of entertainment one day. By the time she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Virginia – where she spent “four years attempting to charm the uninterested” – she had already gained experience as a singer, performer and editor for the school’s newspaper ‘The Acorn’.

In 1997 she started performing with The Second City and soon landed a role as a writer for ‘Saturday Night Live’ (SNL); by 1999 she was the head writer of the show.  In 2006 she created and starred in the sitcom ‘30 Rock’ which won the Emmy Award for Outstanding Comedy Series in 2007. In recent years, Tina Fey and her friend and colleague Amy Poehler, have become the faces of female comedy.

In 2011, Tina Fey released her comical autobiography ‘Bossypants’ which made the New York Time Best Seller list and remained there for five weeks. The cover shows Tina Fey in a dress shirt and tie, sporting bulky, hairy men’s arms as a means to portray her position in a predominantly male working environment.

Divided into twenty-five chapters, Fey discusses various aspects of growing up, womanhood and body image, her career and life in general. The book starts with the chapter ‘Origin Story’ which describes how she was attacked and left with a facial scar aged four. The third chapter ‘All Girls Must Be Everything’, speaks of the impossible beauty standard today and how she has come to embrace features that others may deem flaws.

‘Bossypants’ is written in a manner that often allows the voice of Fey’s ‘30 Rock’ character Liz Lemon shine through.

Similarity Match: 65%
Tina Fey and Chelsea Handler share their roles as female comedians with strong voices in common; their lifestyles and the topics discussed in their books differ.


If You Like Chelsea Handler, You Will Like…

There are plenty of female comedians who have made us laugh out loud with their life stories and the weirdo situations they tend to get themselves into. But there are similar authors like Chelsea Handler in co. who will make you giggle harder with every page you turn, even though they’re not actually comedians…

Lena Dunham

Image Source: santmagazine

Recommended Book:  ‘Not That Kind of Girl: A Young Woman Tells You What She’s “Learned”’ (2014)

Lena Dunham is probably best known for her movie ‘Tiny Furniture’ and her HBO show ‘Girls’. She’s only twenty-nine years old but my, what a resume she has! Whilst attending the Oberlin College she started experimenting with “tiny flawed video sketches”. Her film ‘The Fountain’, showed Lena walking around the Oberlin campus in a bikini and brushing her teeth in the public fountain. Upon posting it on YouTube it went viral – for all the wrong reasons. People had more to say about her body and her “misshapen breasts” than they did about the actual efforts behind this film.

Following her success with her first feature film ‘Tiny Furniture’ and the show ‘Girls’ – which she writes, directs and stars in as the lead character Hannah Horvath – Lena Dunham published her first book ‘Not That Kind of Girl: A Young Woman Tells You What She’s “Learned”’. The book is a collection of essays in which Dunham speaks about her on-set nudity, her sexuality and even her personal experience with OCD, “guided mostly by a Woody-Allen-with-a-uterus kind of whimsy” (Leah Greenblatt, Entertainment Weekly).

Chelsea Handler and Lena Dunham are at very different stages in their lives but both tackle their written word with honesty and the right dose of humour.

Helen Fielding

Image Source: wordpress

Recommended Book:  ‘Bridget Jones’s Diary’ (1996)

If the name Helen Fielding doesn’t mean much to you, the name Bridget Jones definitely will. What started out as an anonymous column for The Independent in 1999 garnered such popularity, Helen Fielding published it in novel format resulting in ‘Bridget Jones’s Diary’  (1996) (there’s also a great movie adaption – find similar films here). Presented like an actual diary, Bridget Jones shares her concerns about her weight, alcohol, cigarette and food intake, her love life (or lack there-of) and funny anecdotes about colleagues such as Mr. Fitzherbert whom she calls Tits Pervert.

The sequel, ‘Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason’, follows her on a disastrous working holiday to Southeast Asia where she lands herself in prison for a supposed drug charge.

Unlike Chelsea Handler, Helen Fielding has dedicated her writing to the fictional genre, but her books are full of the same kind of self-deprecating humour as Handler’s.


Talented, Funny Female Authors with a Thing or Two to Say

It has been amazing seeing a flood of new female authors taking over the literary world with their hilarious insights and sharp wit.

Which author is making you cry with laughter at the moment?

My name is Roxanne Sancto and I’ll be writing all things music, book and movie related for itcher mag. I also write for New Heroes & Pioneers’ upcoming Festival and Culture magazines, to be launched in the spring of 2014. I am the co-author of The Pink Boots and am currently working on two new novels. I love music, literature, cinema, crafting, yoga and animals.
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