With her new iHeartRadio podcast "Dear Chelsea," the debut episode of which covers all things parenting, the comedian hopes to be a "voice of encouragement."

By Maressa Brown
May 06, 2021
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An image of Chelsea Handler
Credit: Getty Images.

Over the years, comedian and author Chelsea Handler has cracked up audiences as the host of her late-night TV show and Netflix documentary series, but behind the scenes, she's been a go-to source of sage, entertaining advice for her friends. That's just one reason she was motivated to start her new iHeartRadio podcast, Dear Chelsea, on which she'll offer life advice to listeners alongside her longtime assistant Brandon Marlo and occasionally host a surprise celebrity or expert guests. The podcast premieres today with an episode titled "Mothers."

Parents.com recently caught up with the comedian, author, and host to discuss her inspiration for Dear Chelsea and her best tips for parents.

How Therapy Led to Handler's New Podcast

Handler says picking up particular skills in therapy led to the podcast's inception. "I got such great advice and was given so many life tools and coping mechanisms, a completely different perspective than I had prior," explains Handler. "So I just thought it would be really fun to share all that."

And while she believes everyone could benefit from therapy, Handler says "a lot of people just need a sounding board," which is where Dear Chelsea comes in. "Most people just need a push, or they've already made up their mind, but they're not positive they should do it, so they just want me to say, 'Yeah, go for it. Take a chance. Leave that person, you don't have to feel guilty about breaking up with somebody,'" she says.

The comedian says she's always been that person for her girlfriends. "It's just a natural thing for me to do," she notes. "I just love to be reliable. I love to be a voice of encouragement. And I love to get people to be a little bit braver."

Why Handler Wanted to Talk About Mothers

In the first podcast episode, Handler and Marlo take on all things "mothers"—mothering, motherhood, parenting your parent, biomoms, toxic relationships, etc.

"I think a lot of people are dealing with parental relationships," she says. "Especially with politics, there's a lot of discord on that front. People call in and ask how to deal with their parents who are extremely conservative and non-accepting. Or people that haven't spoken to their parents in a really long time, which is also really heartbreaking to even hear about. I think that a lot of people are looking for advice on how to deal with family members and parents specifically."

Why Handler Wants to Advise Parents

While neither Handler or Marlo is a parent, Handler says she's been "an objective bystander for a long time."

The comedian notes, "There are a lot of different styles of parenting, and there are a lot of rules of thumb I've seen my parent friends implement where I'm like, 'OK, this is how you get a kid to not be a jerk when they grow up.'"

She admits that she herself was a "very spoiled child." "I was terrible growing up," says Handler. "I was a terrible kid. So I have a lot to pull from there. I understand where this behavior comes from. My parents didn't do a great job, so I have lots of experience of being badly parented."

The Comedian's Best Tips for Parents

Handler recalls growing up "with no boundaries whatsoever." "Boundary setting is important in all aspects of life, but definitely with parents and with children," she notes. "You want to set boundaries for your children so they can grow up to respect boundaries. And I think setting boundaries actually instills respect into the relationship."

The podcast host also encourages parents to be more mindful. "I think all of us can work with it to be present in our lives and in our children's lives," she says. "That's the whole point of being a parent, right? To be there."

Ultimately, Handler gives all parents props for stepping up to the plate, noting, "Parenting is a very serious responsibility, which sometimes is very underpaid and undervalued."