Orange is the new blech

Chelsea Handler and Seth Meyers talk books, politics, and therapy at 8th annual Martha’s Vineyard Book Festival.

Seth Meyers asked Chelsea Handler about her new memoir "Life Will Be the Death of Me" at the MV Book Festival. - Lexi Pline

Chelsea Handler held an orange in her hand onstage at the Martha’s Vineyard Performing Arts Center Friday night. “The orange,” she said to a sold-out audience, “I’ve had a problem with the color and fruit ever since the election.” 

Handler and fellow comedian Seth Meyers opened the eighth annual Martha’s Vineyard Book Festival with conversation that touched on Handler’s six books, the state of U.S. politics, dogs, drugs, therapy, and activism — plus an audience Q and A. 

Handler and Meyers have longtime ties to Martha’s Vineyard. Meyers spends summers with his wife, kids, and in-laws up-Island, and it’s where Handler recalls some of her favorite childhood memories — several of which come up in her latest book, “Life Will Be the Death of Me,” published in April.

Handler is known for her unfiltered humor and raunchy rhetoric, and delivered no shortage of that Friday night. But as she does in her latest book, Handler departs from what audiences expect of her, letting her fans in closer, digging deeper, and getting to the roots of what makes Handler Handler. “I wanted to tell my story, but it turns out it was many people’s stories, too,” she said. 

The concept for her sixth book came after the 2016 election. It roused anger, confusion, and consistently clenched fists. “I think it was a valid reason to lose your [expletive] mind.” 

But it also dug up deeper inner turmoil, discovered through therapy. “I live in LA, and LA’s a tricky place,” Handler said. “There’s a lot of talk about kale and chakras and sound baths. Those are the people I always thought needed therapy.” 

She found psychiatrist turned trusted confidante Dan Siegal — an integral part of her book and now life. Siegal helped Handler uncover unaddressed adolescent muck that stemmed from her older brother’s unexpected death when she was 9 years old. 

“My brain emotionally shut down,” she said. And later she recalled promising herself, as a 9-year-old, that she’d never cry about her brother again. Siegal was the one who offered Handler the orange metaphor. “I can’t be mad at a color,” Hander said. “I took it, and the anger was undone.” 

Handler’s book reveals a vulnerable side that came through Friday night. Vulnerable, yes, but always funny. The audience couldn’t have gone 30 seconds without laughing.

Meyers honed in on the message of the book, and maybe the evening as well. “It’s never too late to go back and fix something from your past,” he said. 

The talk was followed by an audience Q and A, where one member of the crowd asked for advice as an aspiring comedian. 

“You need to try and do it now,” Meyers said. “Find a stage and start doing it.” Which prompted comic Amy Schumer to stand up and chime in. She was sitting about four rows from the front. 


By the last question, Schumer replaced Meyers onstage, leaving Meyers to halfheartedly sulk stage left. “Aw. You poor, rich, white man,” Schumer said. The audience, and Meyers, erupted in laughter. 

“Does anyone want an orange?” Handler asked, and she lobbed it into the crowd.


  1. Would the audience have “erupted into laughter” if – instead of Seth Meyers – say, Oprah Winfrey or Whoopi Goldberg were a host leaving that stage… while a comic mocked: “Aw. You poor, rich, black, woman.”
    Of course not. Blatant racism and sexism like that would be so extremely unfunny.

  2. Chelsea Handler has been reduced to playing high school auditoriums in a small rural towns. Her career is in the gutter and there’s good reason for it. She’s completely irrelevant.

    • You just never stop. So do tell us who are overwhelmingly committing crimes in the USA, shooting each other by the thousands in the inner cities every year. White males? Who flew the planes into the towers on 9-11…. white males or radical ISLAMIC terrorists.. give it a break and get your facts straight for once.

      • So who does the POTUS like do trade with, including nuclear arms? Small world, the country those 9-11 hijackers came from.

          • The Saudis were sponsors of terrorism well before 9-11, probably before WW2. There was a serious effort to stop Saudis financing terrorists in the 2nd Clinton term, likely aggravated tensions between us, then almost no mention of Bush 43, especially not his response on 9-11. I have a guess why but I don’t the FBI to knock on my door.

            The Saudis have oil they will sell us, that seems to be motivation for forgiving any and all Saudi transgressions against the United States, like 9-11. The Saudis still sponsor terrorist groups. But apart from the Towers, white male Americans commit most of the terrorist acts in America.

            If you like Trump pushing for selling arms to the Saudis, the caution is often these arms end up in the hands of groups we don’t like. Because that’s what the Saudis do.

  3. Fortunately Trump has allowed us to become a net exporter of oil so we don’t need to bow to Saudi Kings as Obama did. I’m all for reporting the ethnicity of who commits crimes in this country. Fine with me if they report that a white male commits an atrocious act. (not much news coverage on the ethnicity of the last Virginia shooter because it didn’t fit the liberal media narrative to blame white males) But I’d like to see reciprocal reporting of the ethnicity of those committing the murders in the inner cities that have destroyed those communities and whose victims number in the thousands. I guess its not newsworthy when someone gets ‘dissed’ in Chicago and blasts a few other gang members, despite it adding up to thousands of dead mostly non-white young men, killed by non-white young men.

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