My Afternoon With Chelsea
My younger sister Susan has a very generous friend with a plane. That plane came to L.A. recently, carrying Susan and her closest friends to celebrate her 50th birthday in high style. Why L.A.? A date with Susan’s favorite comedian, Chelsea Handler, and a taping of the Chelsea Lately Show.
She included me in the plans, as I live nearby and wanted to help her celebrate her big day. A major concern about inviting me was the dress code for getting into the Chelsea taping. Apparently, you”re supposed to look “cool” in order meet the show’s hip and groovy audience standard. Susie has seen me (apparently way too often) in my variation on a theme outfit: a black track suit and tennis shoes. Being quite the fashionista, she knew she had lots of work to do to get me to that “cool” level. It started with subtle hints via email; a lot of them. The word COOL was capitalized and underlined. She called me more than usual, allegedly to ask how the week was going, but veered pretty quickly to an interrogation on whether I had planned an outfit yet. She had several suggestions, most of them meant I had to do some serious shopping and I just didn’t have time nor the capability to find the right thing. I pulled together the “coolest” pieces (that weren’t sweat suitish) from what I already had, took a deep breath and hit the road.
I met her very fun friends and realized pretty quickly that I didn’t quite get as close to “hot” as they did. Susan and her friends were making the most of a three day party and they were going to wait to sleep until the plane ride home. These Moms were gettin’ down and everyone had better get the hell out of the way! I could tell pretty quickly that they were having the BEST TIME EVER!
Off we went to lunch at a very trendy restaurant. Screwdrivers, mojitos and a few salads later, we were pre-functioned enough to go to the taping.
We lined up to get through security (which put the TSA to shame). Chelsea must have some stalker fans or be a frequent Al Qaeda target, because it was just short of a strip search to get in the door. We all made it in and were seated in the front row center. I was feeling a little bit smug about my head to toe coverage outfit because the studio was about 55 degrees. Thank God the warm-up comedian made us clap and laugh at absolutely everything, it helped to keep us warm. Literally.
The show begins, the round table comedians come out, Chuy arrives and Chelsea seems to appear out of nowhere. She hits her marks, reads from the teleprompter, interviews Leann Rimes (wearing the smallest outfit ever…we were just waiting for her boob or her peekachoo to hang out), gives the promo for E News and vanishes. At this point, I’m exhausted from the hard work of being an audience member. All that clapping! All that forced laughter! All that trying to maintain body temperature!
Afterwards, we met in the bar of the fancy hotel the group was staying in. It was a great spot to chat about the show. Susan was thrilled to have seen Chelsea, and we all agreed that it was an unforgettable afternoon. I soon head for home, as the ladies are getting fired up for phase 3 of their plans for the evening…something about dinner, more drinks and dancing. They invited me, but it was way past my old lady bedtime to even consider.
The show aired the next night and I gathered the family to watch, as I thought that maybe there could be a glimpse of me somewhere during the program. Jeff is the first to point me out “Hey Babe, there you are! I’d recognize the back of that big noggin just about anywhere”! The whole family clapped and congratulated me! I have to admit, it was pretty exciting to see the back of my head on T.V.! Now, Susan and I have an awesome memento of her birthday. The view of the back of our heads, side by side. Mine quite large and brunette; hers, normal size, cute and blonde, kind of like when we were kids. A beautiful sister moment…if you look closely enough.